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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Asheron's Call: Dark Majesty Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001)

The expansion pack to Microsoft's Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) builds upon the original by adding the ability...

Asheron's Call: Throne of Destiny Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Throne of Destiny is the third instalment in the first Asheron's Call Series. It includes the original Asheron's Call as...

DOS (1996)

Ruthaniol is a small valley with rich history which don't lack the evil conspiracy nor battles with orcs. But that...

A-Sock-Ellipse Now! Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

A-Sock-Ellipse Now! was the result of a contest ran by Astral Entertainment to make more games in their Pea-Guy series....

Windows (2002)

Astonia 3 is an MMORPG in which each player assumes the role of a battle-hardened warrior or a powerful mage...

Astonishia Story PSP Front Cover

PSP (2006) and GP32 (2002)

Astonishia Story is a Korean-made RPG and a remake of a PC game of the same name. This version features...

DOS (1994)

A hundred years ago Brimhil, the beautiful queen of elves, gave up her youth in order to revive the Life...

Windows (2002)

Astral Tournament is a turn based card game much like Magic the Gathering, where you duel other mages (computer or...

Linux (2003), Windows (2003) and Macintosh (2003)

A Tale in the Desert is an massively multiplayer online roleplaying game with an ancient Egyptian setting. It has two...

Atari Action Triple Pack Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

This compilation includes three RPGs:Forgotten Realms: Demon StoneMagic: The Gathering - BattlegroundsThe Temple of Elemental Evil: A Classic Greyhawk Adventure...

Atari Collection: Rollenspiele Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Atari Collection: Rollenspiele is one of four simultaneously released compilations (for the other three see Atari's Atari Collection Series). This...

Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island (Premium Box) Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2009)

Premium Box version of Atelier Annie: Alchemist of Sera Island. Available in America through pre-order on the "NIS America Online"...

PlayStation 3 (2012)

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk is the fourteenth installment in the Japanese Atelier series. The game follows Ayesha, a...

Atelier Elie: Salburg no Renkinjutsushi 2 PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998), PSP (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008) and PS Vita (2012)

Atelier Elie is a turn-based RPG with isometric graphics, and the second entry to the Atelier series by Gust. The...

Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

The story of Atelier Iris 2: The Azoth of Destiny follows Viese and Felt, two orphans from the land of...

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2006)

Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm is a traditional Japanese old-fashioned RPG with a classic turn-based battle system and 2D anime...

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004)

In the land of Regallzine, there is a special guild of alchemists - people who possess magic powers they draw...

Atelier Marie Plus: Salburg no Renkinjutsushi PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998), SEGA Saturn (1997), PSP (2007), PlayStation 3 (2007) and PS Vita (2012)

Atelier Marie Plus is an updated version of the original title which features a variety of extra bonus materials unlocked...

PlayStation (1997)

Marlone is a student at the Royal School of Sorcery (known simply as "The Academy") in the city of Salberg....

PlayStation 3 (2012)

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is the 13th entry of the Atelier series and the last part of the...

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2009)

The story of Atelier Rorona takes place in the poor, isolated kingdom of Arland. A travelling alchemist visits the kingdom...

Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland (Limited Edition) PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2010)

The Limited Edition of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland includes: Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland Limited Edition Premium...

Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2010)

Years after the events of the previous game, Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, the poor kingdom of Arland has...

Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland (Premium Edition) PlayStation 3 Front Cover

PlayStation 3 (2011)

This premium edition includes: Standard edition of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland Premium box Full color, softcover artbook (+30...

Windows (2008)

Atlantica Online is an online RPG with one big twist: the fights are turn-based! It is a free-to-play title which...

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