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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Kaos Online Windows Front Cover

Windows (2007)

Kaos Online is an MMORPG. All characters can express their emotions, such as joy, sadness or anger, as well as...

Amiga (1996)

Kargon takes place in fantasy land far, far away, where the good King Kargon is killed by his twin brother...

Kartia: The Word of Fate PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1998)

A strategy role-playing game released during the height of the genre's popularity in 1998, when Final Fantasy Tactics and two...

Katekyō Hitman Reborn! DS: Fate of Heat Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

In the Japanese town of Namimori, seemingly random attacks are occurring in the night. Tsunayoshi Sawada, middle school student and...

TurboGrafx CD (1992) and Wii (2007)

This installment in the fishing simulation series, of which the few localized games are known under the River King brand,...

Keef the Thief: A Boy and His Lockpick DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), Amiga (1989) and Apple IIgs (1989)

Play Keef the Thief, a promising young thief who finds himself on the outskirts of the Mercon the Merchant City....

Keep of the Lich-Lord iPad Front Cover

iPhone (2012) and iPad (2012)

Fighting Fantasy gamebook #43, originally published back in 1990, has received a digital facelift. Foul necromancer Lord Nydaedus of Hagor...

The Keep Nintendo 3DS Front Cover Nintendo eShop icon

Nintendo 3DS (2014)

The Keep is an old-school style dungeon crawler with new-school ideas and 3DS-focused gameplay.Players journey into The Keep to seek...

PC-88 (1983) and FM-7 (1983)

Ken to Mahō is a fantasy role-playing game. An evil wizard has killed the benevolent king of Border Land and...

SNES (1994)

The game is based on the anime series The Legend of the Swordsman Yaiba. Yaiba Kurogane has been raised by...

SNES (1994)

The game is based on the popular Sanrio's animé-style fantasy characters, mainly Kero Kero. You play as a little frog-like...

The Keys to Maramon DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991) and Commodore 64 (1991)

The Keys to Maramon is set in the same world as Magic Candle, and uses a modified engine from said...

PlayStation (2000)

Khamrai is a Japanese RPG in which the player has two roles: that of Kagato, your everyday RPG-ish country boy...

PC-88 (1983) and FM-7 (1983)

Khufu-Ō no Himitsu is a dungeon crawler. The player takes control of an adventurer who enters an ancient Egyptian pyramid...

PC-98 (1991)

The character used to spell the title of this game means destruction. Indeed, destruction is part of young Vossgen's life....

Windows (1996)

The wandering sexually obsessed knight Rance is leading a group of bandits in the rural nation of Helman, raiding cities...

Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994)

Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor is one of the several games based on the anime and manga Patlabor. In this role-playing game...

Genesis (1992)

One of several games based on the Mobile Police Patlabor manga and anime franchise, 98-Shiki Kidō seyo! (Launch, Type-98!) is...

PC-98 (1991) and FM Towns (1992)

Shizuni is a planet in the solar system of the star Vanas. The planet emits a glowing light. The humans...

Neo Geo Pocket Color (2000)

Kikou Seiki Unitron is the sequel to Biomotor Unitron. It was only released in Japan.It continues the gameplay of Biomotor...

Windows (2008)

As the age of exploration dawned upon mankind, the borders of the world became more and more visible. It is...

King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012)

King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame ties directly to the end of its predecessor: after King Arthur managed to reunite...

King Arthur: Knights and Vassals Windows Front Cover

Windows (2010)

King Arthur: Knights and Vassals is a DLC for King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame. It adds overall six units which...

King Arthur: Legendary Artifacts  Windows Front Cover

Windows (2010)

King Arthur: Legendary Artifacts is a DLC for King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame. It adds three sets with overall nine...

King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

King Arthur is a mix between turn-based and real-time strategy similar to the Total War series. As the subtitle suggests...

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