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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Battlepaths Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012) and Xbox 360 (2012)

Battlepaths is 2D RPG. Rhe main character, Rick,expores the forests, underground and other locations, battling monsters and collect a lot...

Windows (2000)

BattlePets is a Pokémon clone in which you can capture and train fantasy pets then engage in battles against other...

Battle Slots RPG Windows Front Cover

Windows (2011)

Battle Slots RPG starts with the hero finding a strange machine while gathering food for his dinner. The device is...

Windows (2005)

In Battles of Norghan you play a role of a clan that enters into a large battle tournament and fights...

BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception DOS Front Cover

DOS (1988), Amiga (1988), Atari ST (1988), Commodore 64 (1989) and Apple II (1988)

Jason Youngblood is a young cadet MechWarrior stationed on the Citadel of Pacifica in the Lyran Commonwealth. Jason is training...

Battle Tycoon SNES Front Cover

SNES (1995)

In a war torn world of magic and science, a young man by the name of Bang unwittingly thwarted the...

Bawang Bie Ji Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

223 BC, the battle between Chu kingdom and the country of Qin began. From sunrise to sunset, the battle continued...

PC-88 (1983)

Long time ago, there was a land known as Bawnded. On one fateful day, the castle of the Adon country...

DOS (1997)

A fond, if somewhat limited, adaptation of fellow BBS door and namesake Legend of the Red Dragon, BORD ramps up...

Beggar Prince Genesis Front Cover

Genesis (1996)

Beggar Prince (Xin Qigai Wangzi) is a Chinese-made RPG loosely based on the famous novel by Mark Twain, Prince and...

Beneath Apple Manor Apple II Front Cover

PC Booter (1983), Apple II (1978) and Atari 8-bit (1983)

An early graphical rogue-like dungeon crawl. Slay some monsters, build up some experience, explore deeper levels.The goal is to find...

TurboGrafx-16 (1989) and Wii (2007)

For many years, monsters have been terrorizing the peaceful lands, until finally, the Buddhist priests known as the Dharma Eyes...

Betrayal at Krondor DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993) and Windows (2010)

Based on Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar saga (and co-written by Feist himself), Betrayal at Krondor is a medieval fantasy-themed role-playing...

Betrayal in Antara Windows Front Cover

Windows (1997) and Windows 3.x (1997)

Betrayal in Antara uses an updated version of the game engine from Betrayal at Krondor. However, it does not continue...

DOS (1996)

Following ten thousand years of the War of Dominion, the ten mutually battling races found surprise armistice beneath the domination...

Beyond Divinity Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

When Lucian the Divine defeated the evil organization known as the Black Ring, he was late to prevent a dark...

Beyond Oasis Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012), Genesis (1994) and Wii (2007)

Prince Ali has found the magical Golden Armlet, which was used many years ago to defeat an evil wizard who...

Beyond the Beyond PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1995)

The hero of the game, an apprentice knight (named Finn by default), lives together with his father's friend in a...

Beyond Zork: The Coconut of Quendor DOS Front Cover

DOS (1987), Amiga (1987), Atari ST (1987), Apple II (1987), Apple IIgs (1988), Commodore 128 (1987) and Macintosh (1987)

Aimlessly wandering through the Southlands of Quendor, the hero of the game encounters the Implementors, powerful beings who warn him...

PC-98 (1994) and FM Towns (1995)

Bible Master 2: The Chaos of Aglia is a hybrid of a real-time strategy and a role-playing game. The game...

NES (1990)

The game is based on the Bikkuriman animé series. Once upon a time, the world was a peaceful place. Three...

Biocide City Browser Front Cover

Browser (2008)

Biocide City is a browser-based role playing game. Set in a post-apocalyptic environment in the middle of the 27th Century,...

Biomotor Unitron Neo Geo Pocket Color Front Cover Cardboard folding box

Neo Geo Pocket Color (1999)

Biomotor Unitron is a RPG for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.After a meteor brings a new source of energy to...

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Bionicle: Maze of Shadows is a top-down action game set in the LEGO Bionicle universe and based on the book...

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance DOS Front Cover

DOS (1996) and Windows (1996)

Birthright: The Gorgon's Alliance is a strategy role-playing game based on TSR's Birthright world of Anuire. It combines first person...

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