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  1. I also have signed a NDA. But you know what ? Fuck it. After all, it is not like EA has shown us any respect those last years. Here is my review.
  2.  
  3. When I downloaded the 2GBs file, I was impressed. They actually put some content into it ! I thought it was just a webgame/facebook thing. It's not. It's got an installer and everything ! So I installed.
  4.  
  5. You are then greeted by a video of a Biodude and a Biodudette. They tell you they are very excited to show you this Alpha. Yeah, it's nice I thought. And then shit happened.
  6.  
  7. You see this smiley ?
  8.  
  9. :what:
  10.  
  11. This is pretty much how I was sitting during the whole of my gameplay session. The whole thirty minutes of it. The first bad sign was the guys in the video telling me with a sorry face "It's been 25 years since Ultima IV, obviously things have changed a little bit.". You could tell just from their expression that they knew incredible butthurt would happen. And butthurt happened, not even into the game : the video showed gameplay footage, and Jesus Christ, I jumped from my chair. WHAT THE FUCK. This game has to be the ugliest shit I have seen in years. I am NOT exxagerating. They went for a full overhead view: backdrops are in awful 2D, characters and monsters are in 3D. It looks like absolute shit from a technical point of view. But hey, maybe the art style makse up for it, right ? No, it doesn't. It's basically your typical Facebook/ANdroid Free2Play art. It looks nothing like Ultima (that was to be expected somehow), it is sort of manga-ish/comic-ish , certainly kiddy in all cases. You can tell who's the target demographic : 13 years old.
  12.  
  13. The game loads. I can choose between fighter or mage. Druid is unavailable as of now. I guess 8 classes was too much to ask. I pick Fighter because those are always the easiest classes to play and I know I already don't want to suffer more.
  14.  
  15. I am greeted by a cutscene with awful voice acting, and by ugly graphics too (you just wait until you see screenshots). I am attacked by some monster which I defeat by clicking on them ? Could this be a hack and slash ?
  16.  
  17. Yes it is. Do not expect Ultima. Expect F2P Diablo , except more ugly. The game IS a HnS. Click/Click/Click . My enemies are dead. I am then asked to see Lady British.
  18.  
  19. WAIT WHAT ?
  20.  
  21. Yes ! They couldn't get the right to Garriot's Character so they put Lady British there ! Such imagination ! Such creativity ! I am at a loss for words ! She tells me that the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom has been stolen, and that I need to get it back, because "it can be used to make Avatars.". WHAT ? They make Avatars these days ? Like out of a factory line ? Man, I'm not sure we're in Britannia anymore ! By the way, Lady British is a blonde, looks stupid, and dresses in pink.
  22.  
  23. Turns out we are in Britannia. I talk to various people in the castle. They say stupid useless shit. I get a quest to hunt some thieves which are hidden in the Britain sewers. The britain sewers are just next to the royal kitchen. Since the game sounds too difficult (sarcasm), Shamino gives me a "tracking spell" : magical footsteps appear before me telling me where to go, just like that yellow piss trail in Fable 3. Yes. This was goddamn too easy, the world was too open, they had to lead you through a leash !
  24. I go down the sewers, CLICK CLICK CLICK , I defeat a boss until suddenly...
  25.  
  26. CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES ! MORAL DILEMMAS !
  27.  
  28. A thief is lying wounded in front of me. He begs me to spare him. The choices are as follow
  29. -Spare him = +1 compassion
  30. -Kill him = +1 JUSTICE.
  31.  
  32. JUSTICE !
  33.  
  34. What the fuck. I could have understood if this game was produced in Austin or in Texas but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  35.  
  36. And speaking of the virtue system, yes, it's just a matter of dialog choices. Completely unrelated dialog choices to the situation give you different bonus points. Say "Hello Bitch!" you get valor, say "Hello my liege" get you humility. It's always a win win situation. Of course, the dialog is always incredibly retarded.
  37.  
  38. Here is my favorite example:
  39.  
  40. Player Character : "Eight virtues ? Why so many ?"
  41. Shamino : "People are complicated.".
  42.  
  43. I shit you not. This is really in the game.
  44.  
  45. Virtues give you of course new abilities/spells and items to use. I got the sword of Compassion. I'm like that. Apparently, the item that symbolizes the most Compassion to Bioware Mythic is a fucking sword. To add insult to injury, as I receive the sword, Shamino says to me :
  46.  
  47. "Go show those thieves the Compassion this sword is made of !"
  48.  
  49. YUP. ABSOLUTELY.
  50.  
  51. During the dungeon scene, I found some chest which gave me another MORAL DILEMMA.
  52. "Sometimes", it said, "you will find chests in the middle of dungeons that contain items that actually belong to someone else, as their owners left those here to get it back later."
  53.  
  54. So let me get this straight :
  55. -Random people venture into dungeons
  56. -They decide to, oh, hey, why not let this EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME AND EXPENSIVE ITEM lying there in this random chest I just found ?
  57. -The player character, while looking at this chest , knows exactly that this is what's happening.
  58.  
  59. This is three mindfucks in ONE gameplay mechanic. Impressive !
  60.  
  61. So obviously, getting the item... gets you the item and leaving it gives you... HONESTY ! Tadah ! VIRTUES ! CLASSIC GAMEPLAY !
  62.  
  63. Click click click hack hack hack slash slash slash boss defeated, I'm out of this very ugly dungeon. I get to a very ugly world map. I decide to go to a very ugly Britain.
  64.  
  65. And then I see them : lots of people with markers on their head, a bit like exclamation points : they want to give me quests.
  66.  
  67. Yup. Hack and slash. Ugly. Ultima rape. It's all there.
  68.  
  69.  
  70. Now you know what ?
  71. The funny thing is that the gameplay in itself is not that terrible. It IS a decent hack&slash, a very ugly one, but a decent one. Another nice feature is the fact you can play on your computer and resume the game while commuting on your cellphone the morning after (haven't tested that feature yet, obviousiy not implemented). So this is a nice thing, in my book. It could actually be fun and enjoyable.
  72.  
  73. But why "Ultima"? Why the fuck? Why let huge fans discover it first ? What reaction did they expect?
  74.  
  75. I am without a clue.
  76.  
  77. Oh, and also : the interface sucks. You can tell it was designed for tablets : all the buttons are huge, everything is intrusive.