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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Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness MSX Front Cover

MSX (1986), PC-88 (1985), Sharp X1 (1985) and FM-7 (1986)

Hydlide II: Shine Of Darkness is an action RPG, and the second installment in the Hydlide series.In a different space...

Icarus: Sanctuary of the Gods Windows Front Cover

Windows (1998)

Once upon a time, deities fought over the continent of Icarus. The benevolent Tetheus has won, and the evil Ercanet...

Icewind Dale Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000) and Macintosh (2002)

In the Northern parts of Faerûn the winter never ends. In this harsh realm of ice only a few tough...

Icewind Dale Complete Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001)

This compilation offers the main Icewind Dale game, its commercial expansion pack Heart of Winter, and the free downloadable expansion...

Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter Windows Front Cover

Windows (2001)

Picking up after the conclusion of Icewind Dale, peace has returned to Icewind Dale... or so it seems. A plot...

Windows (2001)

While the heroes of Heart of Winter seek a way to prevent the hostilities between the Ten Towns and the...

Windows (2010)

This compilation includes Icewind Dale and add-on Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter, without any extra content.

Icewind Dale II Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Just a generation after the events depicted in the first Icewind Dale, a new threat has appeared in the Northern...

Icewind Dale II: Adventure Pack Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

A special gift given by the publishers of the core game Icewind Dale II. This little package includes some extra...

Icewind Dale II (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

This Collector's Edition of Icewind Dale II, in addition to the game, includes: A cloth map of the Spine of...

Icewind Dale: The Collection Windows Front Cover

Windows (2002)

Icewind Dale: The Collection contains Icewind Dale and the Heart of Winter add-on bundled together in a single budget-priced package.The...

Icewind Dale: The Ultimate Collection Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

A collection that contains "Icewind Dale" + expansion "Heart of Winter", "Icewind Dale II", an Icewind Dale-Soundtrack CD with 51...

ICON: Quest for the Ring DOS Front Cover

DOS (1984)

Beautiful maidens live in the river Rhine, protecting the gold that lies there. It is said that the owner of...

Browser (2010)

Bringing all the fun of Progress Quest to the browser, this game similarly tracks the adventures of a character through...

PC-98 (1994) and FM Towns (1995)

In Idol Project, the player takes a role of a young man named Takashi, who works for a company called...

PC-98 (1995)

Unlike the first Idol Project, the story of the sequel is directly related to to the anime series Idol Project,...

Iffermoon Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Iffermoon is a freeware RPG entirely created by a single developer, Scott Cawton and set in a fantasy steampunk universe....

iHeroes iPad Front Cover

iPhone (2011) and iPad (2011)

iHeroes is an unlicensed port of Heroes of Might and Magic II for iPhone and iPad. Even though the port...

Windows (2008)

Iji and her brother Dan were visiting the military complex where their father works when suddenly, out of nowhere, an...

PC-98 (1994) and FM Towns (1994)

A young sexy female warrior Raidi has come to a village whose inhabitants were abducted by young sexy female... demons....

PC-98 (1995) and FM Towns (1996)

In this sequel to Ikazuchi no Senshi Raidi, the fearless (and good-looking) female warrior Raidi is wandering through a desert....

Windows (1999)

In Ikusa Megami, the player assumes a role of Celica, a former male warrior who is now... a woman. The...

Windows (2002)

An ancient fiend who was sealed in the depths of a dungeon long time ago is about to awaken. The...

Windows (2008)

Ikusa Megami Zero is a prequel to the first Ikusa Megami game: it follows the events that made Celica, a...

DOS (1994)

Manman Papa Sikjeok-pyeon is based on the Chinese Ming Dynasty folk tale about Yi Zhi Mei (Korean pronunciation: Iljimae), a...

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