Yes indeed: after long and gruesome hours of play, I’ve gained enlightenment in both Humility and Spirituality! Hurray, I’ll be the best Avatar yet! Wait what, waddya mean I have lost an eight in Humility? But… but…! 😦
Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum… Lum…
Ah much better!
So were was I? Ah, yes! Enlightenment. It’s actually not that easy to do… and I can’t stress enough how original the concept was for its time. Sure, once you know all the mechanics it is easy to repetitively do the same tasks over and over again to gain Karma in each virtue… but this is not necessarilly the most fun.
Playing Ultima IV as if playing it for the first time, thus pretending I have no idea where to find any of the required items, and need to talk to everyone, take note, find clues at Pubs… just makes it as fun as it ever was. There is this real sense of leading this kind of big investigation which makes any new information acquired very rewarding. It also makes the game much longer: the last time I did played Ultima IV I finished it in less than a day. This is just taking much more time here…
In any case I gradually get a sense of where to find items: I know where the Skull of Mondain and most of the Stones are, I have all the runes, I know I need to get the three part key, the word of power and specific items to get in the Abyss… But for now this all feels secondary as I focus on my spiritual enlightenment to become an eight part Avatar.
Admitedly, the game is not perfect and still suffer from quite a lot of combat (altough it doesn’t feel anywhere as bad as the boring grinding of the first three game), the whole Virtue Quest aspect makes it just much more fun than its predecessors.
You know I have got to say that I’ve always felt it was a shame that Ultima IV never got a proper remake. God know I loved and Lazarus and I’m enjoying U6P very much as well (to which I should probably get back to finish as well heh), but Ultima IV would have been glorious to remake because of how unique its concept is and I was extremly dissapointed when the Dawn of Virtue remake ended being cancelled.
Because I feel this is really one of those game that you could really improve on the concept by translating it inside a modern CRPG context – because the whole Virtuous aspect would need to reenvision the whole concept and that could be very interesting.
I actually feel that Ultima X: Odyssey (another game which I really wish had NOT been cancelled) was very much on the right track with it, with its focus of offering quest mirroring the kind of moral dilemmas seen in the character creation process. Even if this was in a MMO context (and that to be fair, the whole Alucinor background felt kind of “rough”), it had an incredible potential, because when I think back at the Ultima series as whole it actually offered very little of such Virtue dilemas (and the rare I can think of, where actually in Ultima IX!). Also it would create a different kind of evolution as in instead of repeating the same actions over and over, it would lead to have to do quests focusing on actual Virtue choice to further your character’s enlightment. Wouldn’t that be awesome ?
Note that while this will obviously be more about the Serpent Isle philosophies rather than the Britannian Virtues, this is actually the kind of approach we aim to try out in “Return to the Serpent Isle” with actual Virtue dilemas to choose from that will influence the game.
And here goes, more shameless pluging from me! Sorry!
In any case my quest of the Avatar continues…
I’ll be sure to post more later…