Ultima IX: Ascension
Genre Adventure -> RPG
Today's Rank 0
Homepage N/A
USA
Date N/A
Publisher Electronic Arts
UK
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
North America Retail Box ArtWhen we heard that Ultima 9: Ascension was buggy, we thought, "yeah, yeah, whatever," assuming we'd be spared--and, boy, did we guess wrong. Frustration with the installation ran high, heavily tinting our impression of a game we couldn't wait to play. In case you're still eager to jump into this highly-anticipated game, here's a sobering quote from the readme text: "Be certain you empty your Recycle Bin before installing the game." Or better yet: "We recommend that you not save the game while you're poisoned; this has been somewhat problematic in the current version." It's a bad sign when the readme announces bugs, but even knowing this, Ascension surpassed our worst fears and severely tried our patience. With that caveat, if there was ever a game to go to the bother of installing a new graphics card for (as some have for this), it's Ascension. For those unfamilar with the series, it's a fantastic hybrid: a game with a mature rating (for gore and violence) with a plot based on a stalwart and moralistic quest for virtue. The purpose of battle is the archetypal fight to preserve good, and as the the accompanying journal explains: "when selfishness seeks to divide man from woman, parent from child, brother from brother... the power of virtue must be seeded in the minds of the people." In this Medieval setting, your battle continues, with spells and skills to protect you. Designed by the Ultima creator Richard Garriott (known as Lord British), the newest edition boasts impressive artistic direction, including 3-D design and spoken dialogue between characters. For RPG players, Ascension is nirvana, but the price for entry--dealing with the "additions" of the game itself--is steep. --Jennifer Buckendorff
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