Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar / Ультима 4: Задание Аватар
The destruction of Exodus and the flooding of his castle completed the Age of Darkness in the history of Sosaria. Separate settlements unite under the rule of Lord British, and in the life of a new country, called Britain, comes the long-awaited Era of the Enlightenment. Lord British and the council of local rulers of the largest cities adopt the concept of "Virtues" - ethical principles designed to help in finding peace of mind and ensuring the well-being of others. Once again, a hero comes to Britain from another world, but this time his goal is to find the legendary Code of Wisdom, hidden in the depths of the Stygian Abyss, to become an Avatar: the embodiment of Virtues, an example for all the inhabitants of a young country.
The fourth part of the Ultima series, released in 1985, made a real revolution in the genre. It became the first game in which a person in the process of passing needed to “play the role” of a really good character, as opposed to the tradition of stealing and killing in the name of a good goal in the CRPG of that time - and in previous Ultima. The very concept of the game has become revolutionary - there is no need to save the world or look for the main villain; The essence of the game is in the player's passing the path of enlightenment, spiritual and moral enrichment. The main character, whose personality at the beginning of the game is formed by modeling various situations, becomes the “embodiment”, “avatar” of a person at the computer, which allows to achieve the effect of immersion in the game world - such is the idea of Garriott, brilliantly implemented in the technical framework of the mid-eighties.
The basic gameplay is similar to the previous game of the series. In the presence of a vast world, many cities and villages inhabited by a variety of characters, and dungeons. The first major difference in the mechanics of the game is a redesigned dialogue system. Now residents of Britain react to the key words entered by the player, which creates the illusion of a real conversation. Albeit a very succinctly implemented, such an approach evokes a sense of the interlocutor’s reality, as well as the fact that in a conversation you can now choose to lie or tell the truth. The second difference is the influence of human actions on the game world at various levels. “Non-virtuous” actions — cowardice in battle, lies, thefts, and so on — make it really difficult to play the game.
Unlike Ultima 3, the number of hero’s satellites in this unit has increased to 7, and each of them joins him while traveling through the game world, and is not created in advance. The key to successful passage now is not collecting huge money in order to purchase skills and turn the hero into a killing machine, but to solve many quests. The changes affected the system of magic - spells now require mixing different reagents.
Ultima 4 can be called the first "true" Ultima. Here, for the first time, those characters and elements of the game world - Virtues, Avatar, Britain - appeared, which will survive until the very end of the series; The issues and game concepts raised here will be brilliantly covered in the following sections. Not without flaws and conventions, this is a true legend. The legend is not only in the context of Ultima, but also in the history of video games.
Alternative description from Aleosha
The Fourth Ultima is the first part of the Age of Enlightenment trilogy. It is in it that you first encounter the concept of Avatar, and in fact it was in it that the basic concepts of the world of Britain as we know it were laid. The death of Exodus (Exodus) led to a cataclysm, which partially changed the shape of the continent. After his destruction, Lord British, a man from our dimension, finally becomes king of the united lands of Sosaria and names his kingdom Britain.
Good in this world has three foundations: Truth, Love, and Courage. For each of the foundations, Lord British built a castle. In order to help people in their daily lives, eight cities were founded, each of which was dedicated to a certain virtue. But the newborn of Britain needed someone else, who was a combination of all these virtues combined, who would become a living role model for its people, Avatar. This Avatar and you will become. You must prove that you are worthy of each of them, as well as to gain the Code of Wisdom, taking it from the very heart of the Stygian Abyss.
In the course of your adventures, you need to carefully monitor your actions, because losing one of the eight virtues by committing a base act is much easier than then finding it again.
You will meet many people who want to join you in your quest. Do not neglect them, because they will not just save your life.