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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The Banner Saga: Factions - Pillage! Pack Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

Pillage! Pack is downloadable content (DLC) for The Banner Saga: Factions. It includes two rooster rows unlocked in the proving...

The Banner Saga: Factions - Starter Pack Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

This Starter Pack is downloadable content (DLC) for The Banner Saga: Factions. It includes one new roster row in the...

The Banner Saga: Factions Windows Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

The Banner Saga: Factions is a free-to-play, standalone multiplayer-only game based on The Banner Saga. It allows players to choose...

The Banner Saga: Factions - Variations Pack Macintosh Front Cover

Windows (2013) and Macintosh (2013)

This Variations Pack is downloable content (DLC) for The Banner Saga: Factions. It includes all color variations for the following...

The Banner Saga: The Collector's Edition Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014)

The collector's edition of the game The Banner Saga contains: The Banner Saga Additional character Tryggvi In-game item Tryggvis necklace...

The Bard's Tale Construction Set DOS Front Cover

DOS (1991) and Amiga (1992)

After three games in the Bard's Tale universe, Interplay gave fans the chance to create their own games based on...

The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1991), Commodore 64 (1988), Apple II (1988) and PC-98 (1992)

The warriors who have destroyed the evil wizard Mangar receive a letter while celebrating their victory. The letter informs them...

The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988), Amiga (1988), NES (1992), Commodore 64 (1986), Apple II (1987), Apple IIgs (1988) and PC-98 (1991)

After a group of brave heroes defeated the wizard Mangar the Dark and freed Skara Brae from eternal winter, all...

The Bard's Tale Linux Front Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2005), PlayStation 2 (2004), Xbox (2004), Macintosh (2012), iPhone (2011), Android (2012), iPad (2011) and Ouya (2013)

The Bard is a cynical, opportunistic musician who roams the country in search of carnal pleasures. However, this impatient and...

The Bard's Tale Trilogy DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990) and Commodore 64 (1989)

This compilation contains: Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight...

Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden - Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008)

In a post-apocalyptic world, basketball is banned and its non-existence is under the supervision of Michael Jordan, making sure that...

Baroque PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007), PlayStation 3 (2012) and Wii (2008)

An updated remake of Baroque, a post-apocalyptic RPG game in which all hell has literally broke loose on earth. As...

Bastion Linux Front Cover

Linux (2012), Windows (2011), Xbox 360 (2011), Macintosh (2011), Browser (2011), iPhone (2012) and iPad (2012)

Bastion is an isometric action/role playing game. It's the story of a city known as Caelondia after it has been...

B.A.T. DOS Front Cover

DOS (1990), Amiga (1990), Atari ST (1989), Commodore 64 (1990) and Amstrad CPC (1991)

B.A.T. is cyberpunk romp through the underworld of crime and corruption. As agent for B.A.T. (Bureau of Astral Troubleshooters), an...

Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2003)

The existence of Earth, a planet of continents surrounded by deep oceans, has long become a mere legend. People live...

Baten Kaitos Origins GameCube Front Cover

GameCube (2006)

Baten Kaitos Origins is a prequel to Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Long ago, the evil god...

Battle Fantasia Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008) and Arcade (2007)

Battle Fantasia is an arcade-style brawler in the vein of Guilty Gear with some RPG elements. The console versions contain...

Browser (2004)

Battle Game is a game on the marapets.com website where the player's Marapets creature can engage in battle to earn...

Battleheart Android Front Cover

iPhone (2011), Android (2011) and iPad (2011)

Battleheart is a role-playing game with action-based combat. It is set in a fantasy setting and has no plot -...

Battle Hunter PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999)

In Battle Hunter, play as a warrior that battles monsters and collects treasures from dungeons. To do this the player...

BattleKnight Browser Front Cover

Browser (2006)

In BattleKnight the player assumes the role of a young squire in the dark middle ages who is eager to...

Battle Mages Windows Front Cover

Windows (2003)

The world exists apart from Chaos through the use of a Magical Crystal. This crystal gives life to the world....

Battle Mages: Sign of Darkness Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Battle Mages: Sign of Darkness is a stand-alone add-on for Battle Mages. This means there are no technical or gameplay...

Battle Mines Browser Front Cover

Browser (2013)

Battle Mines is set in a satirical post-apocalyptic steampunk universe. Players each control an empire, and vie against the world...

Windows (2000)

Battle of the Youstrass is a shareware Japanese-style tactical role-playing game.The game takes place on the world of Youstrass where...

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