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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Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Collectors Edition Vol. 3 DOS Front Cover

DOS (1994)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Collector's Edition Vol. 3 is a compilation which features three AD&D games: Gateway to the Savage...

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin Cartridge Intellivision Front Cover

Intellivision (1983) and Mattel Aquarius (1983)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin Cartridge is a first-person dungeon crawler. It features gameplay elements such as hidden...

PC-88 (1988) and Sharp X1 (1989)

Long ago, humans and other creatures lived peacefully in a magical paradise. However, one day a new star appeared nearby....

AdventureQuest Browser Front Cover

Browser (2002)

AdventureQuest is a massive, online, single-player role playing game targeted for players ages 13 and up. Made with Flash technology,...

DOS (2007)

The sinister wizard Mordimar, having come into possession of the powerful magical artifact the Orb of Destiny, is slowly sapping...

Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos PSP Front Cover

PSP (2006)

Aedis Complex: Generation of Chaos is the fifth in the series of Generation of Chaos series and a follow up...

DOS (1994)

The small kingdom of Celystra was prosperous under it's old king, "Korros the Wise". The prince, Lythare has ascended to...

After Armageddon Gaiden: Majū Tōshōden Eclipse SEGA CD Front Cover

SEGA CD (1994)

After Armageddon Gaiden: Majū Tōshōden Eclipse is a side story to Last Armageddon. Because of the release of the Saturn...

J2ME (2004) and Symbian (2004)

The year is 1999. Kaida's father disappeared fifteen years ago, and now, all of the sudden, Kaida receives a letter...

PC-98 (1993)

Ares is a young warrior who lives with his old parents in a secluded house on a peninsula. One day...

PC-98 (1995)

The events of Agalta 3 immediately follow those described in the previous game. The thousand-year old struggle, which began with...

PC-98 (1994)

Agalta II picks up right where the first game ended. Ares and his two companions, Seria and Georgie, have defeated...

Agarest: Generations of War Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014)

This version of Record of Agarest War is based on the Xbox 360 version and has the following DLC (download...

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

Conan of Cimmeria dethroned King Numedides III and now rules the land of Aquilonia. His tales are known as legend...

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (Collectors Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

The Collectors Edition is limited to 110.000 units and includes: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Exclusive in-game Item "The Ring...

Windows (2010)

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer is the first expansion to Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and adds the...

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer Windows Front Cover

Windows (2010)

The retail version of Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer is a compilation which includes the following games: Age...

Age of Fable Browser Front Cover

Browser (2006)

Inspired by the Fabled Lands gamebook series and the Tunnels & Trolls solitaire adventures, this automated fantasy gamebook pits players...

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships takes place in the Caribbean, in the year 1665 where the player...

Age of Pirates: Caribbean Tales Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Arrgh! Have you ever wanted to live the life of a pirate? Well here's your chance to jump into this...

Windows (2013)

Age of Wulin is a free-to-play martial arts PvP (Player versus Player) focused MMORPG set in a realistic representation of...

Ahriman's Prophecy Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

You must explore a medieval fantasy world with the intent to stop a dark prophecy. To win the game, you...

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage Nintendo 64 Front Cover

Nintendo 64 (2000)

Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage follows the story of Alaron, poisoned by mysterious goblins while out on patrol in the...

Aion Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Aion is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game which takes place in the world of Atreia, a land divided by...

Windows (2009)

The Aion (Special Collector's Edition) includes the full Aion game plus several enhancements exclusive to this release: the Black Cloud...

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