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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Mega Man Legends 2 PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (2000) and PSP (2005)

Mega Man returns in this, his second 3D outing. The Blue bomber and his teammate, Roll, must journey to a...

Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker X Ninja Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2007)

Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker X Ninja, along with Zerker X Saurian, is the sequel to Mega Man Star...

Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker X Saurian Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2007)

Mega Man Star Force 2: Zerker X Saurian, along with Zerker X Ninja, is the sequel to Mega Man Star...

Mega Man Star Force: Dragon Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2006)

Many years in the future, humankind has finally discovered extraterrestrial life. In an effort to make contact with aliens, they...

Mega Man Star Force: Leo Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2006)

Many years in the future, humankind has finally discovered extraterrestrial life. In an effort to make contact with aliens, they...

Mega Man Star Force: Pegasus Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2006)

Many years in the future, humankind has finally discovered extraterrestrial life. In an effort to make contact with aliens, they...

Mega Man X: Command Mission PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2004) and GameCube (2004)

Mega Man X teams up with Zero in a traditional console RPG. The game was developed by the same people...

TurboGrafx CD (1994)

In a magical country where only women dwell, young girls study in a magic school to become powerful and benevolent...

Megami Tensei Gaiden: Last Bible II Game Boy Color Front Cover

Game Boy (1993), Game Boy Color (1999) and Nintendo 3DS (2012)

Th king of Magoku (Demon Country) is concerned. Only one baby has been born in the kingdom that night. According...

SNES (1995)

"Last Bible III" is a sequel to two Last Bible games for GameBoy and GameBoy Color. You control Shieru, a...

Game Gear (1995)

Last Bible Special is a part of Last Bible series, which are a sub-series within the Megaten universe. The events...

Windows (2007)

Megami Tensei Online: Imagine is an online RPG set in the Megaten universe. The time line of the game falls...

MegaTraveller 1: The Zhodani Conspiracy DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991) and Atari ST (1991)

Based on the MegaTraveller table-top science-fiction game, your task in The Zhodani Conspiracy is to prevent war breaking out between...

MegaTraveller 1: The Zhodani Conspiracy + MegaTraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients DOS Front Cover

DOS (1996) and Windows 3.x (1996)

A compilation of two classic sci-fi role-playing games: MegaTraveller 1 and MegaTraveller 2. Both are adaptations of the original table-top...

MegaTraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991) and Amiga (1992)

Three hundred thousand years ago, the ancients ruled the galaxy. It's now ~4000 AD and they're long gone. Unfortunately, one...

PC-98 (1994)

Ryouichi is just an ordinary teenager, who prefers spending time with pretty girls or doing nothing instead of going to...

Menzoberranzan DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994), PC-98 (1995) and FM Towns (1996)

In Menzoberranzan the player takes the role of two adventurers (two more can be recruited) who have just returned from...

PC-98 (1991)

Mercury 2: Tales of the Planet is set in the same universe and time period as The Prime Master, but...

PC-98 (1990) and Sharp X68000 (1991)

When evolution reached its highest stage, the human species have emerged. Eventually, the humans became divided into three races: Fantura,...

Meridian 59 Windows Front Cover

Windows (1996)

Meridian 59 was among the first 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Players create characters, and then advance in power...

Windows (2004)

Meridian 59: Evolution is an expansion/update to Meridian 59: Resurrection, the relaunch of the MMORPG Meridian 59. In this release,...

Windows (1997)

Following the success of Meridian 59, an early massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Meridian 59: Vale of Sorrow is an...

PC-98 (1996)

Many years ago, in imperial Japan, advances in a mysterious science called "meta-topology" have led to the unexpected prosperity of...

Metal Dungeon Xbox Front Cover

Xbox (2002)

In the battle for world domination, the leaders of Giamel have begun producing Weapon Monsters, horrible biomechanical killing machines. The...

PC-98 (1993), FM Towns (1993) and Sharp X68000 (1993)

In Metal Eye, the player takes the role of a young weapons expert named Findhill. His father was apparently involved...

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