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So, yesterday I finished Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle. The only Ultima games left for me to play are Ultima VIII: Pagan and Ultima IX: Ascension, Ultima Underworld I and II and the Worlds of Ultima games. But I've heard so many people complain about those games (Pagan and Ascension) and how they lack a true Ultima feel, not to mention that they are plagued by numerous bugs. I love the Ultima series for its epic scope. Since joining GOG.com I've bought quite a few games frome their RPG catalogue which is superb and I hope keeps getting better. I have also completed the Baldur's Gate series (did all the sidequests and expansions) and the Icewind Dale series. I played Ultima because I was curious since I heard it mentioned several times and started all the way from Ultima I: The Age of Darkness. Is it worth it playing these games just to say I've completed the series? Do they have redeeming qualities in your view or would you switch to another series like Might and Magic (which I also bought here but I've never played it)? I have so many games I want to try and several on the wishlist, but I want people's opinions of their experience with these two games.
U8's not super buggy, it just feels like a beta rather than a full game. Pagan is an interesting world, but it's not fleshed out as much as Britannia or Serpent Isle were.

U9 is an outright mess, requiring many fanmade fixes to get it in respectable working order. Even then it breaks continuity of the plot from previous games with no explanation. It pretty much ignores the ending of SI and almost all of the events of U8.

I guess if you really want some kind of conclusion to the story you've been following, U9 does provide one, but it may not be very satisfying. The Underworld games, however, are excellent and you should absolutely check them out.
Ultima 8 actually has a solid (if short) story; it's the "Super Avatar Brothers" aspect of gameplay that kills it. While the final version (post-patch) removed some of the most obnoxious elements, it still predominates and there are a frustrating number of random "oops-yer-dead" moments along with the more obvious and frequent "you missed the jump" ones, and the combat system isn't much better.

If you're tolerant of the platforming stuff (or like that sort of gameplay) then U8 is probably okay and will certainly give you all the more reason to loathe the Guardian. You'll also find a few connections to events and characters from the U7s, such as Mordra from Skara Brae and the demon Arcadion. U9, however, is best forgotten entirely.

The Ultima Underworld games are a good set to play as well; while UW1 doesn't directly connect to the main storyline, the plot of UW2 actually bridges those of The Black Gate and The Serpent Isle, as well as giving you a great deal more insight into the nature of the Guardian and the threat he poses to Britannia and beyond.

(Well, the nature of the Guardian before the retcon-disaster that was U9...)
I really enjoyed the World of Ultima games, so I recommend them. Savage Empire is a bit simplistic, but the world is still very fun. Martian Dreams is well fleshed out though and a very interesting concept to me.

As for U8 and U9? I've never been able to really get into U8, but I plan to give it a shot again. U9 though, well I forced myself to play through it a few years back. Even with the fan fixes, it still has issues. It may not be a bad game, as some feel, but its just not really and Ultima game. Visually its beautiful, even being 15 years old now. The sky and sunsets are amazing even by today's standards. The world feels empty though. Britain has like 10 people in it. Add in the discontinuity with previous games and I did not find it an enjoyable experience. By the end, I would find myself angry at the end of playing sessions. I kept hoping that the final ending would make it worth it, bring some closure to the series. Nope, found the ending as shallow a the game. The whole thing left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Ultima 8 is one of the most underrated games of all time, period. It's a nice evil twist in the Avatar story and image, and Pagan is indeed a nice setting. Ultima 8's initial scene (the execution) manages to be darker than u7's crime scene, and as you know that's saying a lot! Overall the game can feel bland and unfinished, but that was the EA effect.
Ultima 9 has nice graphics and music. That's all I can say about it. The story, while more "Ultima" than 8, is bland, boring and even unconsistent with previous Ultima games. Other than bugfixes, there were patches to fix how U9 references the other games in the series. That said, the infamous "what's a paladin?" line is not mandatory, and probably meant to inform people who never ever played an rpg before. Which was rare, because after more than 10 Ultima games, you were really expecting new fans, Lord British? :P

And as a fun fact, even today LB is prouder of 9 than 8. In fact, he considers 8 to be an unfinished mess.
I can't say much about Ultima 8-9, other than what I have heard others say. I highly recommend Might and Magic, though, even if you decide to play Ultima 8-9, Might and Magic should definitely be on your to-do list! I especially recommend 3-7 of Might and Magic.
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SummonerYuna: (you were saying)
As a fan of the series, I played both Pagan and Ascension quite a bit and they're not so bad as people have you believe. Most terrible bugs and ridiculous gameplay issues from release day are gone by now, but people still remember the problems that plagued early adopters.

Pagan is a fun and *difficult* RPG. It does take patience and more or less random exploration sometimes to get far in the game. I never managed to get past some parts of the game, perhaps I wasn't very good. People were mostly shocked at how little this game resembles anything from earlier Ultima games. If you want Ultima, this isn't quite. But I still like it. The extreme hardships of this game make every battle won worth it. ;-)

Ascension was particularly impossible to get to run on its current-era PCs (not a problem these days), but graphics and voice-acting haven't aged very well, it's playable but not terribly fun, and people were again shocked at the liberties taken by the developers in terms of story. It's in Britannia and all, there's rewarding exploration. But you can't hope too much from the story this time. There's the problem of the avatar keeping on asking stupid questions about his own life like "what's the candle of love" and this memorable sequence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQUVfo_kBMU&feature=youtu.be&t=31m26s

Anyway, I'm not saying they're not to be played, a lot of people played them and came back alive. Ultima VII is still the best of them, but that's how it goes.
Post edited August 04, 2014 by RafaelLopez
I'm wasn't shocked that LB considered U8 as unfinished mess. Word have it it was planned to be just like U6/U7 gameplay system wise. But due to problems (I can't remember what exactly) everything was ripped off and we ended up with Pagan.

This is a RPG which is for me is combat-less. Other than Khumash Gor which I cast grant peace on, I don't remember fighting or killing any other enemy. Just run, run and run. Oh, maybe banish demon here and there on the final fire mission.

But it is true, the game is a mess. Create Gomen allow you not to look for any keys. Some of early earth spell made you invincible. And if after getting the key of the caretaker you decided to do wind mission first, then you get invisibility.

but overall it was okay.
Each installment of the Ultima series included a bigger, more detailed, and more interactive world.

Ultima 8 took the series in a more arcade style direction that didn't mesh well with the rest of the series.

Ultima 9 was very buggy on release but its biggest sin was that it tried to rewrite some parts of the lore of the series. After Origin was shut down by EA we found out that the script in the game was ordered by EA and nothing like the one Origin wanted to use.

Since its the first time you've played the series I do recommend playing 8 and 9 at least once for no other reason than to complete the series.

However, Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 are a far better investment of your gaming time.
I'm a fairly new Ultima fan, one who hasn't played these game since childhood and I can say I like both 8 & 9. I can see why longtime fans were upset by these games, but I found them rather refreshing at how different they were from others. Anyways, just my 2 cents, I would watch some let's play's and see if you'd be interested in them.
Post edited September 03, 2014 by meshuggah12345
I haven't played IX yet. But when Pagan came out I liked it. But it feels like a lot areas are missing. There are too many loose ends.
It is a radical shift from VII so you shouldn't compare it to that. But so was VII to VI. The Ultima series starting from IV did reinvent itself with each iteration. And that's the reason why people still get all misty-eyed over it.

Also: at that price it's worth a shot.
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SummonerYuna: So, yesterday I finished Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle. The only Ultima games left for me to play are Ultima VIII: Pagan and Ultima IX: Ascension, Ultima Underworld I and II and the Worlds of Ultima games. But I've heard so many people complain about those games (Pagan and Ascension) and how they lack a true Ultima feel, not to mention that they are plagued by numerous bugs. I love the Ultima series for its epic scope. Since joining GOG.com I've bought quite a few games frome their RPG catalogue which is superb and I hope keeps getting better. I have also completed the Baldur's Gate series (did all the sidequests and expansions) and the Icewind Dale series. I played Ultima because I was curious since I heard it mentioned several times and started all the way from Ultima I: The Age of Darkness. Is it worth it playing these games just to say I've completed the series? Do they have redeeming qualities in your view or would you switch to another series like Might and Magic (which I also bought here but I've never played it)? I have so many games I want to try and several on the wishlist, but I want people's opinions of their experience with these two games.
Sorry late, but it you like platformers in a crappy buggy isometric view, then you'll like Super Avatar World AKA Ultima VIII Pagan...

Ultima IX: well, lets just say that we like to pretend that it was never an Ultima game... beyond that it's a nice demo of what a decent 1st person 3D Ultima game COULD have been like... (I'm a recipient of the patch on CD via mail BTW which didn't do much...)
Post edited September 11, 2014 by cutterjohn