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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SNES (1993)

In an alternate reality, in a parallel world, there are humans just like in the universe we dwell in. Those...

Duel Masters Kaijudo Showdown Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2004)

You will start the quest with your brother's deck of cards. Win some shop tournaments and it will be the...

Duel Masters Sempai Legends Game Boy Advance Front Cover

Game Boy Advance (2003)

Kids register as duel masters player, build their deck and manage their cards throughout a huge single-player adventure, or challenge...

Game Boy Advance (2005)

Recent tournament titles have put you at the top of the competitive circuit. Fans want your autograph, your smiling face...

Duels Browser Front Cover

Browser (2007)

Duels is an online fantasy strategy game that combines the character building and advancement of RPGs and adds the strategic...

PC-88 (1983) and FM-7 (1983)

Rumors say that somewhere in the land of Zargos lies a hidden passage to the glorious country of Eldorado. Only...

Commodore PET/CBM (1979)

Dungeon is a Roguelike game. Like other games in this genre the player explores a dungeon in a top-down view...

Atari ST (1993)

Dungeon is a Hack 'n slash role-playing game made in Talespin Adventure Creation System with graphics almost entirely from the...

Dungeon Adventure Xbox 360 Front Cover

Xbox 360 (2010)

Dungeon Adventure is a game in the vein of Rogue or NetHack. The player picks a character class, gender and...

DOS (1991)

The sinister female cosmic magician El Black has tried to destroy the planet of Alkasis. Meteorites, earthquakes - every possible...

Dungeon Campaign Apple II Front Cover

Apple II (1978) and Atari 8-bit (1980)

Dungeon Campaign is one of the earliest role-playing games for home computers and in a way again, like Beneath Apple...

Dungeon Explorer TurboGrafx-16 Front Cover

TurboGrafx-16 (1989), PSP (2011), PlayStation 3 (2011) and Wii (2007)

The former king of Oddesia has entrusted you with an important, dangerous task. You must find the sacred ORA stone,...

Dungeon Explorer SEGA CD Front Cover

SEGA CD (1995)

The Goddess of Ambition is locked up in the mazes beneath the Darkling tower. A legend is told that once...

Dungeon Explorer II TurboGrafx CD Front Cover

TurboGrafx CD (1993) and Wii (2008)

Dungeon Explorer II is a continuation of the story told in Dungeon Explorer. After the fall of the Darklord Natas,...

Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts Nintendo DS Front Cover

Nintendo DS (2008)

Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts is a remake of the original Dungeon Explorer released on the TurboGrafx-16 in 1989.Warriors...

Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts PSP Front Cover

PSP (2008)

A revamped update of the TurboGrafx-16 game. This story has the player head to a lost kingdom called Westoria which...

Dungeon Hack DOS Front Cover

DOS (1993) and PC-98 (1995)

Combine the gameplay ideas of Hack/NetHack with the Eye of the Beholder III game engine and you get a graphical...

PC-98 (1991)

Dungeon Harlem is a first-person dungeon crawler. The player controls a naked female warrior named Esbe, who is contacted by...

Dungeon Hearts Linux Front Cover

Linux (2013), Windows (2013), Macintosh (2013) and iPad (2013)

A fast paced horizontal match-3 puzzle game fused with strategy and RPG elements.Combat opponents by matching runes (gems) that flow...

Dungeon Lords Windows Front Cover

Windows (2005)

Galdryn of the Meadows, a powerful wizard, was treacherously killed by another mage. It appears that a conspiracy is born...

Dungeon Lords (Collector's Edition) Windows Front Cover

Windows (2006)

The collector's edition of Dungeon Lords offers many extras including:Limited edition metal case New items: expand your arsenal with rare...

Dungeon Lords MMXII Windows Front Cover

Windows (2012)

Dungeon Lords MMXII is a remastered version of Dungeon Lords - more specifically, its updated version, the Collector's Edition. This...

Dungeon Magic: Sword of the Elements NES Front Cover

NES (1989)

The evil sorcerer Darces took over our world once again. The only way to defeat him is to find five...

PSP (2006)

Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground is an action RPG where the player creates their own unique dungeon using purchased pre-crafted pieces....

Dungeon Master DOS Front Cover

DOS (1989), SNES (1991), Amiga (1988), Atari ST (1987), Apple IIgs (1989), PC-98 (1990), FM Towns (1989) and Sharp X68000 (1990)

Dungeon Master is a role-playing game where the player selects four adventurers and descend into the depths of the dungeon....

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