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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Fallout Trilogy Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Fallout Trilogy includes all Fallout games released before Fallout 3: Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear...

DOS (1990)

The beautiful vistas of farmlands, forests, mountains and deserts that greet you upon your arrival on Faland does little to...

PC-88 (1985) and Sharp X1 (1985)

The magical country of Luizard has been recently terrorized by the minions of the demon king Billades. The king of...

Windows (2006)

As the name suggests, Fantasy Tennis is another screen adaption of the world-famous ball sport, but this time designed for...

Fantasy University Browser Front Cover

Browser (2010)

Fantasy University is a turn-based, free-to-play social RPG. The game places players in the role of a new student at...

Fantasyworld Hero Browser Front Cover

Browser (2009)

Fantasyworld Hero is an online roleplaying game that can be played on Facebook. In the game players control a hero...

Fantasy Worlds: Rhynn J2ME Front Cover

J2ME (2008)

Fantasy Worlds: Rhynn is a mobile MMO (massively multiplayer online) game. This role-playing game allows to create one of four...

Faria: A World of Mystery and Danger! NES Front Cover

NES (1989)

It was a stormy night. Cold wind raged, and rain poured over the country. The wise men understood at once:...

Windows (1999)

An unknown boy named Dyan has stolen a sacred book that was kept in secret for a long time. With...

Windows (1996) and SEGA Saturn (1998)

Three warriors who were heading to the palace save the princess Fam from attackers. As they venture into the palace,...

Windows (1997), PlayStation (1999) and SEGA Saturn (1998)

Eight years have passed since the great war between humans and magical people. Brian, one of the war's great heroes,...

Farland Story PC-FX Front Cover

PlayStation (1997), SNES (1995), PC-FX (1996) and PC-98 (1992)

Farland Story is the first in the row of successful Japanese strategy RPG games. The main hero of the game...

SNES (1995)

Farland Story 2 is an independent side-story to the Farland Story series (this game shouldn't be confused with Farland Story...

PC-98 (1995)

This Farland Story game (chronologically the fifth in the main series) tells a story which is not directly connected to...

PC-98 (1993)

This is a sequel to the first Farland Story game. After Arc and his friends have defeated the evil Demon...

PC-98 (1996)

The sixth in the row on Farland Story games, "Kamigami no Isen" is set in a different world than the...

PC-98 (1994)

Chronologically the fourth Farland Story game, "Shirogane no Tsubasa" makes a fresh start story-wise, bring the first Farland Story not...

PC-98 (1994)

"Tenshi no Namida" is a sequel to Farland Story Denki: Arc Ou no Ensei. One day the queen Ferio finds...

Far the Earth no JakĊtei: Neo Metal Fantasy TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1992)

In a futuristic world, where magicians and legendary creatures co-exist with robots and clones, the peaceful existence of Far the...

FastCrawl Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

Swamped for time but jonesing for an adventure? Then crawl into FastCrawl, a desktop adventure that can be casually played...

Fatal Labyrinth Windows Front Cover

Windows (2010) and Genesis (1990)

Dragonia, the castle of doom, has come upon the world and its minions have stolen the Holy Goblet. Without it,...

Fate Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005) and Macintosh (2008)

You are an adventurer seeking fame and fortune. Now you have finally arrived at the town of Grove to test...

Fate: Gates of Dawn Amiga Front Cover

Amiga (1991) and Atari ST (1991)

Winwood was just an ordinary man, an owner of a small record shop - certainly not a very suitable profession...

DOS (1993)

The solo version of the sequel/add-on to the original Shadow of Yserbius, the graphical multi-user dungeon game on The Sierra...

Fate: Undiscovered Realms Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Fate: Undiscovered Realms is the sequel/expansion to Fate, also developed by WildTangent. Both games are action RPGs/roguelikes in the same...

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