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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Legends of Aethereus Linux Front Cover Steam Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

Legends of Aethereus is an action RPG with physics based combat where you start in your customization city Nexus-State, the...

DOS (1992), Amiga (1992), Atari ST (1992) and Macintosh (1992)

Legends of Future Past was one of the earliest commercial text-based massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), originally offered through...

Legends of Kesmai Windows Front Cover

Windows (1997)

Based on an ASCII text role-playing MUD called Islands Of Kesmai started on CompuServe in 1984, this was a graphics-based...

DOS (1991)

This is the second adventure in which the player takes on the role of the Inspector, a crime-solving fighter/mage. This...

DOS (1989)

Legends of Murder is a fantasy/role-playing/murder mystery game. In Volume 1 of the series you, Inspector, have been summoned to...

Macintosh (1989)

The land of Tagor-Dal was for thousands of years ruled by the mighty High Kings. During these times the country...

Macintosh (1989)

Legends of the Lost Realm II: Wilderlands is an expansion to the original Legends of the Lost Realm and requires...

Legends of Valour DOS Front Cover

DOS (1992), Amiga (1993), Atari ST (1993), PC-98 (1993) and FM Towns (1994)

The city of Mittledorf is in chaos - an evil cousin of the King is oppressing the people. Your cousin...

Legends of Zork Browser Front Cover

Browser (2009)

An event of such magnitude as to ripple through the multiverses, the economic downturn of 2008/2009 caused havoc in the...

Amiga (1996)

Legion is a fantasy strategy game with elements of role-playing genre. The player starts the game with a group of...

Legion: The Legend of Excalibur PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2002)

Based on the popular legends of King Arthur, Legion: The Legend of Excalibur puts the player in control of the...

Leithian: In the Abyss Windows Front Cover

Windows (1999)

Ellen grew up in a quiet village together with her father and brother. One night, she had a strange dream....

DOS (1987) and Amstrad CPC (1987)

Le Maître des Âmes is a fantasy role-playing game. The game will lead you through dungeons, secret chambers, tunnels... It...

Lennus II: Fūin no Shito SNES Front Cover

SNES (1996)

This is a follow-up to the game "Lennus", which is known outside of Japan as Paladin's Quest. The game is...

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

Many years ago, two dragons - red and blue - emerged as the first, primordial creatures of the world. As...

DOS (1986)

Leygref's Castle is a remake of Wizard's Castle.The gameplay is very similar to the original: Explore a castle (represented as...

Linux (2004) and Windows (2004)

In this satire of American political strife, the player is cast as a revolutionary liberal operating out of one city,...

Liberation: Captive II Amiga Front Cover

Amiga (1994) and Amiga CD32 (1993)

Liberation is the sequel to Captive, where the main character from the original is now a free man. However, your...

PC-98 (1992)

Chilam Balam is a collection of Mayan books, containing scientific information as well as prophecies and esoteric lore. The story...

Life of a Wizard Android Front Cover

Browser (2013), iPhone (2013), Android (2013) and iPad (2013)

Seemingly torn from the pages of Choice of the Dragon, this game also inserts players into a medieval fantasy kingdom,...

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2013) and PlayStation 3 (2013)

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the third episode in the Final Fantasy XIII saga. It follows the story of...

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - Art of War PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2014) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

This Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII add-on allows the player to obtain the Schema Art of War, the Cruel Grace,...

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (Collector's Edition) Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2012) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

This Collector's Edition is a Square Enix Online Store exclusive that contains the following: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII DLC...

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - Dark Samurai PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2014) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

This Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII add-on allows the player to obtain the Schema of Dark Samurai, the Cloud Veil,...

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - Divine Wear PlayStation 3 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2013) and PlayStation 3 (2013)

This Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII add-on allows the player to obtain the Schema of Cosmocrator, Crocea Mors, Abyss Gate,...

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