The RPG Codex has been busy!
Working from their huge compilation of era-spanning incline listing the community’s top 50 CRPGs, they’ve added in user reviews in one super compilation so you can scroll on down through it and read up on why a lot of these games are still very much relevant today.
This is a detailed listing of impressions of why these CRPGs are considered the RPG Codex’s choice best. It goes severely old school to titles like Sir-Tech’s Wizardry IV (with a reference to the brutal Deathlord) to relatively modern with titles like From Software’s excellent Dark Souls.
Check out this bit on Ultima Underworld II from skacky’s review:
Labyrinth of Worlds is bigger and meaner than its older brother, with an increased view panel and a better interface. Some of the few issues present in The Stygian Abyss were fixed, and the game also has better visuals thanks to the improved engine. This time, you will discover that a Blackrock gem lies in the lowest level of the sewers under Castle British, and that this gem leads to parallel worlds already destroyed or on the verge of destruction by the Guardian. Exploring these worlds is, like The Stygian Abyss, a great experience and takes a lot of time, especially if you want to discover everything.
I’ll admit that I enjoyed Ultima Underworld II a bit more than Stygian Abyss (I really liked the whole multi-world approach that it had taken and lore built up about each from the freakishly frozen world of Anodunos to the legends of Praecor Loth) but skacky makes a good case further on for why he gives it the edge. But that’s what these reviews bring to the hard data — personal impressions that go past the screenshots and the (often) great looking box art.
It’s also a huge reminder on the pile of shame that I’ve yet to work through on my end. I’m still working on through Heroine’s Quest (and very much enjoying the Nordic mythology woven through it along with the RPG elements) which appears as #69 on the list, for example. I think I’ve run into one of those “out of sequence” puzzles where I’ve done something that has tripped up the logic leaving me wondering what to do next but I’ll keep plugging away at it.
If you’re wondering which of the classics you need to cover, or like me, which ones that you still need to get at, you really can’t go wrong by taking a look at why these are considered the best by fans who refuse to scale to anyone’s level. So be sure to pull up a mug of your favorite spirit, kick back, and take a tour through a history of CRPGs as seen through the lens of some of its biggest fans.