User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Psychotoxic (Windows)

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Written by  :  Evilhead (1051)
Written on  :  Dec 12, 2006
Rating  :  2.29 Stars2.29 Stars2.29 Stars2.29 Stars2.29 Stars

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Summary

Neutral shade of grey

The Good

When I first read the reviews of this game, I thought: Oh, this must be one very buggy and crappy game indeed. That initial impression wasn't wrong, but when I actually tried the game, I found out that it isn't THAT buggy and crappy. The basic story of the game is pretty good and at least tries to deliver some kind of motivation to all of the action, and a story is one thing often missing from these basic action games. It's quite obvious that the makers of this game actually liked doing it, which is seen in some of the levels and concepts, and the attention to detail in places is quite stunning actually. Some of the dream levels are very well designed and most of the real world levels are also pretty nicely done with lots of stuff lying around. The game is also powered with Valve's Havok-engine which means that most of the smaller items in the game world as well as the characters have appropriate physics.

The Bad

Technically the game isn't nothing to cheer about. Textures are pretty small in size and there's almost no surface effects (reflection, bump mapping) at all, and when there is, the game becomes very heavy indeed. The sounds are a bit on the loose side as well and the guns sound more like "thud" as opposed to a manly "Powrgh!" and all the enemy sounds are a bit on the pathetic side as well with sad "oww" and "goo"-sounds. The level design most of the time is not very good as there isn't anything interesting in them. Like I said above, there is lots of things and props everywhere but the design itself is very basic with a familiar corridor-room-corridor-corridor-room-style of thing going on. No alternate routes and nothing "extra". Despite of the quite nice plot, it isn't been used very well with all the levels degrading to normal, yawn-inducing shooting with the same guns, same enemies (yeah, there isn't that many enemy types in the game) and same everything.

The Bottom Line

If there were an annual awards for shoot-em-ups, this one would win the price of the most basic shooter of year. There's nothing very wrong with it, but there isn't anything, ANYTHING exeptional about it either. If you have played every other vaguely entertaining shooter and are looking for something more, this isn't a bad choice to play through once, maybe.