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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Sacred 2: Fallen Angel (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2008), Xbox 360 (2009) and PlayStation 3 (2009)

This Collector's Edition includes: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Double-sided poster with a map of Ancaria on the front and the...

Sacred 2: Gold Edition Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

The gold edition of the Sacred 2 contains: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel Sacred 2: Ice & Blood (Add-On)

Sacred 2: Ice & Blood Windows Front Cover

Windows (2009)

Sacred 2: Ice & Blood is an official add-on to Sacred 2: Fallen Angel and fully integrates itself into the...

Sacred 3 Windows Front Cover

Windows (2014), Xbox 360 (2014) and PlayStation 3 (2014)

The first game in the main series not developed by Ascaron. Sacred 3 departed from the original open-world gameplay and...

Sacred Gold Linux Front Cover

Linux (2009) and Windows (2005)

Sacred Gold is Sacred Plus and the Sacred Underworld expansion.MP3 soundtracks of the original game and the expansion are on...

Sacred Plus Windows Front Cover

Windows (2004)

Sacred Plus is a special edition re-release of the original Sacred at a budget price, with all the patches that...

Sacred Seasons Browser Front Cover

Browser (2009)

Sacred Seasons is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that can be played on various websites, including social...

Sacred: Underworld Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Sacred Underworld is the add-on for Ascaron's Action RPG Sacred and requires the original Sacred or Sacred Plus game to...

Sacrifice Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000) and Macintosh (2001)

In this Real Time Strategy game, the player plays a wizard who escaped his own ruined world, only to arrive...

Sacrifice (Blood Pack) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2000)

This Blood Pack edition of Shiny's Sacrifice comes in a big box and offers additionally to the included main game...

SaGa Frontier PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1997), PSP (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008) and PS Vita (2012)

The events of SaGa Frontier take places in a fictional universe called "The Regions", which incorporates different worlds with various...

SaGa Frontier 2 PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), PSP (2008), PlayStation 3 (2008) and PS Vita (2012)

The sequel to Saga Frontier, but also to the less known Romancing SaGa games, Saga Frontier 2 allows you to...

PlayStation (2000)

This Japan-only re-release of SaGa Frontier 2 was part of the Square Millennium Collection, a collection of Square games packaged...

PlayStation (2000)

This Japan only re-release of SaGa Frontier was part of the Square Millennium Collection, a collection of Square games packaged...

The Saga of Ryzom Windows Front Cover

Linux (2010), Windows (2004) and Macintosh (2011)

The Saga of Ryzom is a mmorpg which takes place on Atys, an organic planet. We can play one of...

NES (1987)

The game is based on the animé series Saint Seiya and follows the adventures of its main hero who bears...

Saint Seiya: Ōgon Densetsu - Kanketsu Hen NES Front Cover

NES (1988)

Another game based on the animé series Saint Seiya. The animé (and the game) tells the story of the noble...

Saiyuki: Journey West PlayStation Front Cover

PlayStation (1999), PSP (2011) and PlayStation 3 (2011)

Saiyuki: Journey West is loosely based on one of the four classical novels of Chinese literature, Journey to the West...

Sakura Taisen 4: Koi seyo, Otome Dreamcast Front Cover

Windows (2005) and Dreamcast (2002)

In the fourth installment of the Sakura Taisen series, Ichiro Ogami returns to Japan after having defeated the evil that...

Samurai Legend Musashi PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2005)

This world has come under the threat of Gandrake Enterprises when Gandrake begins to control the worlds precious fuel source...

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires PlayStation 2 Front Cover

PlayStation 2 (2007) and Xbox 360 (2007)

Samurai Warriors 2: Empires is an expansion to Samurai Warriors 2. It is the third Empires expansion by KOEI, following...

Windows (2008)

After Boar and his friends completed their mission, locating and stopping the prisoners who were trying to escape from Planet...

Sansara Naga 2 SNES Front Cover

SNES (1994)

In Sansara Naga 2, you can play as either a male or a female character. Ten years ago, the elder...

Saturday Morning RPG Linux Front Cover

Linux (2014), Windows (2014), Macintosh (2014), iPhone (2012), Android (2014), iPad (2012), Ouya (2013) and GameStick (2014)

Saturday Morning RPG is an episodic Japanese style role-playing game set in a world inspired by 1980's Saturday morning cartoons...

Savage 2: A Tortured Soul Windows Front Cover

Linux (2008), Windows (2008) and Macintosh (2008)

Savage 2: A Tortured Soul is the sequel to 2003's Savage: The Battle for Newerth, a game which mixes real...

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