Title: Ultima Online: RENAISSANCE
Strap: Rule Britannia. Britannia surfs the waves…Oh, you get a pun out of it then. Crashing on...
It may seem incredibly dangerous to put Ultima Online and EverQuest on the same page side-by-side, but we are no cowards. In fact we positively encourage violence (or at least that is the reason we give Kieron for kicking him every time we walk past). If the two of them want to battle it out, then we cry ‘let them’, it only seems fair.
So while the two titles compare swords, let me explain why UO is filling a third of this page. As extraordinary as it may seem, this is the third appearance of Origin’s Massively Multi-player RPG (or OMMPRPG for short). It was first reviewed in January 1998, and then again a year later, and now it is here once more after two and a half years. And it is still the same flipping game it was in the first place. (See CD1 for reviews of it the first two times)
The excuse for these re-releases is the same given by EverQuest – it is an updated version of the original. So, a patch then. But the difference between the two is that UO did its cynical "Second Edition" last year, and fortunately hasn’t the cheek to do the same again. Of course, it is still a good way to relaunch the same old game at the same old price instead of descending into budget, but this time if you already own the game you’re going to get all the new bits for free. Yippee.
The advantage of its age is the wisdom it has gathered along the way. To buy
it now is to buy a game that has been play-tested and bug-fixed for over two
years by literally tens of thousands of people. The idiosyncrasies all remain,
and the fighting is pisspoor compared to EverQuest, but with these swallowed
whole, it is still a mightily fine online experience.