Reviewed on PC

Ultima Online

Reviewed By: Ashton

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Origin and EA Games
Price Range: $21-30
Learning curve time: Over 2 hrs.
Age level: Teens
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Genre: Roleplaying Game (RPG)
Christian Rating: 2 of 5
Gameplay: 4 of 5
Violence: 2 of 5
Adult Content: 4 of 5
   (barely present)

Ultima Online.  Illustration copyrighted.
To the best of my knowledge (which probably isn't very good at all,) Ultima Online was the first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) to hit stores and become a huge hit on PC. Since its release, it continues to remain one of the greatest MMORPG's of all time, more than capable of competing with EverQuest. Numerous expansions have surfaced (with a new one due in February of 2003,) but how does the game look from a Christian standpoint?

I suppose you can find a million things wrong with this game. But I'll start with the right.

Graphics are a mixed bag. With the addition of the 3D client, UO tried to keep up with the ages, but the 3D models ended up looking blocky, with muddy textures and lots more slowdown. Thankfully, 2D is still availible, which looks a lot cleaner and runs much faster. Depends on preference.

Gameplay is wonderful. You start out as either a Warrior, Mage, Smith, or a custom class. You pick a starting town, and away you go. Ultima Online allows you to do nearly anything, from crafting items, opening shops, battling monsters, and just hanging out in town squares. Of course, this freedom is where things begin to turn wrong.

Freedom to do anything. Including murder, steal, cheat, scam, and decieve. UO used to consist of only one facet, Felucca. This world was open to player killing, and in some instances, encouraged. By joining a faction (Shadowlords, Council of Mages, True Britannians, or the Minax,) your player becomes caught in the middle of a huge, never ending war. Slaughtering opponents from enemy factions rewarded you with a better rank and loads of valuable silver, not to mention the equipment and supplies of your poor foe. There is a second facet, however, called Trammel. Safe for everyone, killing is not allowed. Also, trying to murder NPCs in town will get you killed by the guards.

Other aspects of the game can be found offensive, too. For instance, the aspect of Mages. This game, in my opinion, deserves the title 'MAGE Online.' If you're not a mage, it's almost guaranteed you will fail in whatever quest you decide to pursue. Mages are packed to the gills with power. Spells allow you to hurl fireballs, shape the Earth, and even summon daemons to do your bidding (which takes a huge chunk off your karma, the aura of good or evil around you. Summoning daemons does come with a large penalty, but their power might still encourage you.) Mages are capable of killing a crowd of warriors, if their user is skilled enough.

Some monsters are VERY satanic. An area of the game, 'Fire Island,' is a popular meeting spot for adventurers. At the center is a giant temple with bloody symbols and broken bodies, infested with huge lumbering daemons to battle. The highest point of the temple is the altar, a bloody pentagram surrounding an ankh (egyptian cross) in the center. However, keep in mind, you do not HELP or WORSHIP these daemons in any way. Slaying them brings great rewards like jewels, gold, and new weapons.)

But, the game is not all bad. With the addition of the Lord Blackthorn's Revenge expansion came the virtues. There are eight in all, including compassion, honor, justice, and the like. You are rewarded with special bonuses and better titles in your character menu for completing the tasks of this virtues, which include helping people to their destination, helping out new players, and slaying the murderers of the land.

Players are also encouraged to practice socialization skills. Making friends in UO is a HUGE, HUGE bonus. By working together you can accomplish goals faster, wether it be conquering a dungeon or raising funds to build your own castle.

Helping players is a bonus to skills too. Offering to repair other's armor and weapons for free, for example, will boost your skills quicker.

All in all, while there is lots wrong with UO, almost everything can be counterbalanced with a good aspect. Mature children/teenagers that can tell the difference between right and wrong will most likely enjoy this very much, if you can get past the steep learning curve (jumping into this game right away is basically suicide.)

Year of Release—2002

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

Christian Spotlight Guide2Games is part of Christian Answers. Copyright © Films for Christ. • “Christian Spotlight’s Guide to Games” and “Guide2Games” are service marks of Films for Christ.

Go to Christian Spotlight on Entertainment HOME