Ultima VII: The Black Gate (Origin, 1992)

Though advertised long before its actual release, Ultima VII promised that it would usher in a new type of gaming experience to the Ultima series, which it did. With incredibly detailed graphics (with surprisingly the same resolution as that used in Ultima VI: The False Prophet), and a well-planned and thought-out story, Ultima VII is a very interesting game in many respects. However, since the game takes place about 200 years after the events in Ultima VI, the story seems somewhat disconnected from the other games, particularly to its immediate predecessor. The Avatar's actions from Ultima VI are mostly ignored or forgotten, relegating the Avatar to a position of figurehead as opposed to the embodiment of virtue as shown in previous games. Combat is more abundant in this game than in the previous three Ultimas, but is not overpowering by any means. Though Ultima VII is considerably different, it still works, though not quite as well as the previous three games. It is still worth playing by fans of CRPGs and the Ultima series, however.

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