As we proceed onward with our Ultima series retrospective we find ourselves for the first time outside of the main series proper as we look at spin-off title Ultima Underworld.
Deviating from the standard structure of the games up to that point, Ultima Underworld was an entirely different beast to that of its siblings, while at the same time being something of a throwback to the older titles in the series.
The game, full title Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, sees the Avatar protagonist return to the world of Britannia, summoned by the ghost of a wizard who claims his brother is enacting a plot which will see the world end. You know, the usual. The Avatar returns at the moment a baron’s daughter is kidnapped and he gets framed for the crime. The baron, who doesn’t recognise the Avatar (the most famous and iconic person in the world of Britannia mind, but suspend that disbelief!) and tasks him with retrieving the girl from where she has been taken; the eponymous Stygian Abyss.
May 2011 saw the release of one of the most interesting titles of recent years; Brink. On paper, this should have been something brand new, different and exciting. Bethesda and developers Splash Damage created The Ark; an exquisitely rendered man made floating island in the mid-21st century. The gameplay was a first person shooter, but with the added twist of free running parkour abilities thrown in. Following that you had the allure of being able to choose to join the security or the resistance, with the incentive of having two separate but intertwining plot lines. And then, on top of all this you had a campaign set out to encourage cooperative class based multiplayer, which ran well with either real friends or the AI bots. It sounds in many ways to be the perfect game, so why are we not all playing Brink whilst Call of Duty sits in its lonely case?
There aren’t that many games of a movie which have proved to be a success. The problem is you’re likely to buy a game if you love the film, and if you’ve seen the film the plot isn’t a surprise, and it’s somehow just not quite as enjoyable when shoehorned into a game’s campaign mode. Those that are actually successful in their own right are the ones who choose a different path; those who keep the films plot and story line in ear shot, but at the same time go their own way. The Godfather 1 and 2 are prime examples of this, checking back in at key points of the films story. My favourite example of this however is King Kong, the game of a remake of a classic, which is somehow able to stay fresh and exciting.
Following on from what many consider to be the zenith of the Ultima Series at large, we come to what is possibly the most divisive game in the series proper; Ultima VI: The False Prophet.
The game has been the subject of much disagreement among the Ultima fraternity, with some lauding it as a step up from its predecessors, both in narrative and mechanic, whilst others deride it for its departure from the standard display and gameplay structures previously seen.
Following the news that their latest project, The Last Guardian has been put on hiatus following developmental troubles, I decided to look back at Team Ico’s eponymous debut release Ico to revel in the product of one of the most innovative development teams in the fond hope that they’ll overcome whatever’s holding them back from finishing their eagerly anticipated latest addition.
The games industry today is abuzz with talk of the next generation of gaming. With the WiiU already with us, the Playstation 4 having been announced a while ago and, by the time you read this, Microsoft being about to or having just announced the next Xbox unit, you can’t move around the gaming web […]
Computer games, as much as any other medium, are mysterious things. They can stir our souls, hotwire our adrenaline glands or disappoint us to our core. For every person who plays a game there is a valid and varied opinion. It’s one of the things that make the subject of a game’s relative quality a […]
Across every genre of entertainment there are specific titles or releases that become synonymous with failure, that in the eyes of fans and critics alike embody the worst that the genre has to offer. They become the universal butt of any joke in that medium, the yardstick against which every other poorly-received release is measured. […]
Over recent years there has been a shift in the focus of the gaming industry towards online multiplayer as a gaming model. Indeed, the biggest sellers of this generation of titles have been primarily online competitive titles, such as Halo 4 & Call of Duty. Over this time there has developed a very distinct separation […]