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Id never played the ultima series really and my understanding is 7 is the best of the series so I was thinking of playing it but do I lose much by not playing the others? Or is it like final fantasy where they share the same names but really have nothing to do with eachother?
Absolutely. There are artifacts and items you may not immediatly know the significance of if you've never played Ultima games before, but NPCs will get you up to speed. Every Ultima game is part of a continuing story (4-7 actually take place in the same world), but they all stand on their own. Also I believe the manual can catch you up on the backstory if you're interested.
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tbirdo: Absolutely. There are artifacts and items you may not immediatly know the significance of if you've never played Ultima games before, but NPCs will get you up to speed. Every Ultima game is part of a continuing story (4-7 actually take place in the same world), but they all stand on their own. Also I believe the manual can catch you up on the backstory if you're interested.
Cool thanks.

Sounds like you played them all before, is 7 the best one of the series to play?
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tbirdo: Also I believe the manual can catch you up on the backstory if you're interested.
It absolutely can, but you have to remember that Batlin (the supposed "author" of the manual, The Book of Fellowship) is putting his own spin on the events of past games and when discussing the Virtues, so you have to take those accounts with a grain of salt or two. They are accurate on their face, but peppered with commentary that serves the purposes of Fellowship propaganda.

You will get far more out of the experience if you're at least familiar with past Ultima games, but it is by no means a requirement. Really, all you need to know is that you're the Avatar, Lord British's chosen champion, and you always return to Britannia in its hour of need -- but it's now about 200 years since you were last seen (Britannia is a bit like Narnia in that time flows differently there than it does on Earth) and the people now regard you as little more than a myth. The game itself will talk you through the rest.
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gargus: Sounds like you played them all before, is 7 the best one of the series to play?
"Best" is a relative term, but Ultima VII is usually cited as Richard Garriott's personal favorite out of the series (tied with IV). That certainly carries a lot of weight with the fans. Taking both games (The Black Gate and Serpent Isle) and their expansions as a cohesive whole, it's certainly the longest and most complex game in the Ultima canon, and also features the deepest storyline, Serpent Isle especially.

Sadly, it would be all downhill after this for the Ultima brand. Ultima VIII was less a traditional RPG than it was an action-adventure not terribly unlike Diablo, and IX... well, the less said about IX, the better. (I'm sure GOG will eventually get to those two games, so you'll be able to form your own opinions when the time comes.) But take heart in knowing that VII represents not only Ultima and Origin at their pinnacle, it's also one of the best RPGs ever created, with many believing it to be the very best. I can't think of a better value for $5.99 anywhere on GOG.
Post edited December 02, 2011 by TheKid965
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tbirdo: Also I believe the manual can catch you up on the backstory if you're interested.
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TheKid965: It absolutely can, but you have to remember that Batlin (the supposed "author" of the manual, The Book of Fellowship) is putting his own spin on the events of past games and when discussing the Virtues, so you have to take those accounts with a grain of salt or two. They are accurate on their face, but peppered with commentary that serves the purposes of Fellowship propaganda.

You will get far more out of the experience if you're at least familiar with past Ultima games, but it is by no means a requirement. Really, all you need to know is that you're the Avatar, Lord British's chosen champion, and you always return to Britannia in its hour of need -- but it's now about 200 years since you were last seen (Britannia is a bit like Narnia in that time flows differently there than it does on Earth) and the people now regard you as little more than a myth. The game itself will talk you through the rest.
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gargus: Sounds like you played them all before, is 7 the best one of the series to play?
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TheKid965: "Best" is a relative term, but Ultima VII is usually cited as Richard Garriott's personal favorite out of the series (tied with IV). That certainly carries a lot of weight with the fans. Taking both games (The Black Gate and Serpent Isle) and their expansions as a cohesive whole, it's certainly the longest and most complex game in the Ultima canon, and also features the deepest storyline, Serpent Isle especially.

Sadly, it would be all downhill after this for the Ultima brand. Ultima VIII was less a traditional RPG than it was an action-adventure not terribly unlike Diablo, and IX... well, the less said about IX, the better. (I'm sure GOG will eventually get to those two games, so you'll be able to form your own opinions when the time comes.) But take heart in knowing that VII represents not only Ultima and Origin at their pinnacle, it's also one of the best RPGs ever created, with many believing it to be the very best. I can't think of a better value for $5.99 anywhere on GOG.
Convinced me, Ill get it.
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tbirdo: Absolutely. There are artifacts and items you may not immediatly know the significance of if you've never played Ultima games before, but NPCs will get you up to speed. Every Ultima game is part of a continuing story (4-7 actually take place in the same world), but they all stand on their own. Also I believe the manual can catch you up on the backstory if you're interested.
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gargus: Cool thanks.

Sounds like you played them all before, is 7 the best one of the series to play?
Well I've only played V all the way through. I enjoy them, but I usually get distracted by other games.

If you want to go more old-school IV is free on gog. It's also part of a pack with V and VI, but if you search for it it's there for free.
I think playing the series from Ultima IV through to VII will give you the most complete experience - it's really interesting to see how some of the towns and villages grow and develop while others shrink or disappear altogether.

I think my favourite of the lot is Ultima V because it has a good plot and the keyboard shortcuts are much quicker to use than the mouse-based systems in VI and VII. I also prefer the turn-based combat to the real-time that's in VII, although VII certainly has the most interesting world to explore.


Sounds like you played them all before, is 7 the best one of the series to play?
7 is one of the best RPGs of all time. It's more like a long vacation than a game. Everyone has his or her own schedule, characters are believable, the atmosphere is amazing, and the world seem real. It is the pinnacle of Ultima.
7 is certainly the best of the lot - but if you want to sympathize with the gargoyles in Black Gate you definitely want to play U6 first - understand them in their own culture first.

U6 is also amazing in my opinion - back when developers just threw in stuff for the heck of it, and random (fun) craziness resulted.

Let your memories lie with U7 and the Underworlds though - U8 and U9 are best avoided.
Ultima Underworld must be played. It's somewhat different from the party-based games and a departure from the traditional plot line, but it stands up today as a fantastic RPG.

It was also the very first first person RPG of its kind... before wolfenstein even.. it was way advanced and is still one of my all-time favorites.
Ultima VI, Underworld I, Ultima VII, Underworld II, Ultima VII Part II. Ultima VI helps you to understand the Gargoyles, but the Guardian ties the rest together.
VII can defintly be played and enjoyed without the others, I actually started with it myself when it came out. Loved it so much that I played the 6 afterwards and it is a great experience as well. I have a really hard time playing IV and V nowadays tho, so you might want to start with the VI, it's such a great game too.
While U1-5 haven't aged as well, I feel that Ultima 6 is still reasonably playable, and will give you a solid grounding in the lore that later leads up to Ultima 7. That said, you don't NEED to play the earlier ones, and if you don't feel like delving into 6 then you can also catch up on the game's lore and story to date by consulting one of the relevant wikis.

(In the case of U7 part 2, it's particularly helpful to have a general idea of what went on in Ultima 3 and 4, even if you don't play them - the events of both strongly influence the plot and setting background for The Serpent Isle.)