I mean this is a legitimate question.
I remember the Underworlds being these very hard game in term of combat, where monsters could basically come and kill you on the spot. And yet… I’m pretty much killing any creature in the game with no issue, from lowly rat to dangerous Gazers.
Talk about underwhelming.
Now granted I created a fighter with a focus on Swords and Attack, but that should be somewhat harder than that. Oh well.
Which reminds me I didn’t mention the character creation of the game, which actually comes as fairly basic. It offers the 8 traditionnal Ultima classes, but you only have to choose which one you want to use from a list. After that it defines you starting stats and skills depending on your class (with a random value set), and you can pick a couple of skills to enhance. Pretty conventionnal alas.
However the choice of the class is of no incidence to the game in itself since it is fully skill based – meaning you can train your warrior in magic to cast as good as any mage, or train your mage to become a powerful swordsman. The sky’s the limit!
This is a good system though (which is actually inspiring me for Return’s) as I feel an Ultima game should never limit the capabilities of a character. I’m less fond of the medidate at Shrines approach for training though, altough I guess it IS Ultima-ish.
In any case my quest is progressing well. I’m on a level 4 of the Abyss (so not quite half way through the game), I’m starting to get a few of Cabirus’ artifact, and I’m still looking for the damsel in distress. I have to say that unlike Ultima Underworld II my memory of the game is not that clear though, which means it’s not such as easy ride as it could be. But I never replayed the game that much anyway, which might explains it.
One thing this playthrough make me realise though, and especially after having played 8 other Ultima games before, is that no matter how great Ultima Underworld is. The truth of the matter is that it just doesn’t feel very Ultima-ish. It does feel more like a world of its own rather than being a part of Britannia – and really the references you can find throughout the game tend to feel tacked-on (probably because they actually are!).
Another aspect that I’ve never really thought about before – is how it’s basically never referenced once during the game or its dialogue that you are the Avatar. Yet there are many occasion when you feel you err… might be able to point this out, especially in a colony supposedly dedicated to upholding the 8 Virtues… but nope. Which kind of make me think that the whole Avatar mention in the introdution was implemented at the last minute and that you were originally meant to play some random Britannian and not the Avatar.
Nevermind the fact that the way you do endup on Britannia feels incredibly far-fetched as well.
I don’t mean this as a way to diss the game of course, it doesn’t change anything from its qualities. But it’s also why Underworld II is so much more enjoyable to me, because it feels through and through like an Ultima game.