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

Role-Playing (RPG)

Description

Role-playing video games are descendants of pen-and-paper RPGs. In those games character development is the main driving gameplay mechanic. Typically one or more characters are created and shaped by the player, then embark on a series of encounters that increase the inventory, wealth, or combat statistics of said character(s).

A role-playing game is not just any game in which the player "plays a role", i.e. controls a character and participates in exploration and narrative. Rather, the defining characteristic of role-playing games is player-dependent character growth. A role-playing game can be seen as such when player-controlled characters become stronger ("levels up") because of the player's actions (usually depending on experience points received for vanquishing enemies), rather than being upgraded automatically as dictated by the storyline. The degree of the player's involvement in shaping the characters may vary considerably: some RPGs offer vast customization possibilities, while others tend to simplify and even nearly automatize the process.

Traditional RPGs have turn-based combat and a fantasy setting (Wizardry series, Ultima series, Roguelikes, etc.). Later, other settings were introduced, and many RPGs - such as Diablo - began favoring action-based combat. In these games, Action is used as a modifier to the RPG genre.

By the late 1980's, the genre has been distinctly split into two main sub-genres: Western and Japanese (sometimes called console-style) RPG. Western RPGs typically favored free exploration and player-made decisions, while Japanese RPGs focused on following a linear story line. Japanese RPGs also tended to retain simple turn-based combat mechanics, and in many cases also random enemy encounters.

In many early Western RPGs the player was given the option to create an entire party of characters (usually up to six). Ultima games introduced the possibility of recruiting initially non-playable characters (NPCs) with their own personalities from the game world into the party. Beginning with Phantasy Star, Japanese RPGs followed this template and even elevated it to their cornerstone mechanic.

Late 1990's saw a "RPG revival" in the West. Fallout greatly expanded the usage of non-combat statistics and moral decisions during gameplay, while Baldur's Gate popularized real-time party-based combat.
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Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1992)

Dungeon & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun is set in the world of Mystara, a setting of the Dungeons...

Dungeon Siege Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002) and Macintosh (2003)

Located in the corner of the Aranna continent, the Kingdom of Ehb has recently gained independence following a prolonged war....

Dungeon Siege Complete Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011)

This Steam pack includes: Dungeon Siege Dungeon Siege II Dungeon Siege III Dungeon Siege III: Treasures of the Sun

Dungeon Siege II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

It has been a thousand years since the end of First Age of Man, marked with clash of the sword...

Dungeon Siege II: Broken World Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

Valdis is dead. Slain by your own group of adventurers in Dungeon Siege II. The Second Age of Man has...

Dungeon Siege II (Deluxe Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

This Deluxe Edition includes Dungeon Siege II, its add-on Broken World, a bonus disc containing making-of material, concept art and...

Dungeon Siege III Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011), Xbox 360 (2011) and PlayStation 3 (2011)

Dungeon Siege III is a role-playing game with action combat, set in the medieval fantasy world Ehb. It was under...

Windows (2011), Xbox 360 (2011) and PlayStation 3 (2011)

Treasures of the Sun is downloadable content (DLC) for Dungeon Siege III. It adds new content that supplements the main...

Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

Stand alone expansion pack for Dungeon Siege.This expansion pack includes a new single player campaign with new content (monsters, weapons,...

Dungeon Siege: Throne of Agony PSP Front Cover

PSP (2006)

Throne of Agony is the sequel to Dungeon Siege II and it picks up the story where the previous game...

Dungeons of Daggorath TRS-80 CoCo Front Cover

TRS-80 CoCo (1982)

Dungeons of Daggorath is a dungeon crawler which has rudimentary magic, character building, and combat elements, like a Wizardry-style RPG,...

J2ME (2006)

Dungeons of Despair is an isometric RPG game where the player can explore a multitude of levels with many different...

Dungeons of Dredmor Linux Front Cover

Linux (2011), Windows (2011) and Macintosh (2011)

Dungeons of Dredmor is a role-playing dungeon hack game in the tradition of classic Roguelike games, but fully graphical with...

Dungeons of Dredmor: Conquest of the Wizardlands Linux Front Cover

Linux (2012), Windows (2012) and Macintosh (2012)

Conquest of the Wizardlands is the second standalone expansion of Dungeons of Dredmor, which features: New skill trees: Banksterism, Communism,...

Dungeons of Dredmor: Realm of the Diggle Gods Linux Front Cover

Linux (2011), Windows (2011) and Macintosh (2011)

Realm of the Diggle Gods is the first standalone expansion to Dungeons of Dredmor, which features: Six new skill trees:...

DOS (1989)

Save the kingdom of Hamnlin from the Mad Mage Inshanis, by setting out to recover Artifacts hidden throughout the vast...

Dungeon Solitaire iPhone Front Cover

iPhone (2010)

Dungeon Solitaire is an original fantasy card game. Monsters are flooding up through the Castle Wolfcairn's tunnels after a prison...

Windows (2012)

Dungeon Tactics is an open source tactical turn-based RPG set in a fantasy world and it is based on series...

Dunjonquest: Curse of Ra DOS Front Cover

DOS (1982), Commodore 64 (1983), Apple II (1982), Atari 8-bit (1982) and TRS-80 (1982)

The second in a series of expansion modules for Temple of Apshai (you must have Temple of Apshai to play...

Apple II (1980), Atari 8-bit (1982), TRS-80 (1980) and Commodore PET/CBM (1980)

Dunjonquest: Hellfire Warrior is a true sequel to Temple of Apshai. The player resumes his role as Brian Hammerhand and...

Dunjonquest: Morloc's Tower Apple II Front Cover

PC Booter (1983), Apple II (1979), Atari 8-bit (1980), TRS-80 (1979) and Commodore PET/CBM (1979)

As the adventurer Brian Hammerhand you have to defeat the Wizard Morloc the Mad in his Tower. The towers stairways...

Dunjonquest: Temple of Apshai DOS Front Cover

DOS (1982), Commodore 64 (1983), Apple II (1980), Atari 8-bit (1981), VIC-20 (1983), TRS-80 (1979) and Commodore PET/CBM (1979)

Temple of Apshai is the first in Automated Simulations' Dunjonquest series of role-playing games series and one of the first...

Dunjonquest: The Datestones of Ryn Apple II Front Cover

Apple II (1979), Atari 8-bit (1981), TRS-80 (1979) and Commodore PET/CBM (1979)

You, Brian Hammerhand, mercenary at large, presently least senior officer of the cavalry troop, and drawer of the shortest straw,...

Dunjonquest: Upper Reaches of Apshai DOS Front Cover

DOS (1982), Commodore 64 (1983), Apple II (1981), Atari 8-bit (1982) and TRS-80 (1981)

Upper Reaches of Apshai is an expansion module for Temple of Apshai, featuring a new dungeon (four levels with 150...

Dunzhin Atari 8-bit Front Cover

PC Booter (1982), Commodore 64 (1983), Apple II (1982) and Atari 8-bit (1983)

Dunzhin is a simple role-playing game that is similar to Rogue. Your goal is to enter a dangerous, multi level...

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