I must say when I was told about a roguelike-strategy game that used the same graphic style as Dwarf Fortress I screamed like a little girl at a boyband concert because I just wanted to leap right into the game and get adventuring, but when I entered the game and was met with…..well nothing I decided to do a “what it could be” review instead.
Ultima Ratio Regum is all made by a lone pioneer by the name of Mark Johnson, a Phd student at the University Of York, yes that’s right, just one budding bloke doing everything from the coding down to it’s simplistic Dwarf Fortress graphics. Being a one man team has it’s ups and downs, for example you can do things exactly as you want because you’re the only guy in your team, but this means that updates and patches will be few and far between because you don’t have a team of people helping you out. I can see a lot of potential in this game because (in case you haven’t noticed) Dwarf Fortress was a one man effort and look how that turned out, it is now one of the biggest names in indie gaming.
The Game World
The game starts off by randomly generating a group of planets, which to me look incredibly similar to our solar system. You then pick one of the planets you wish to adventure on (preferrably the planet that looks like earth) after that you are then asked to give your character a name, surname and class. There are many classes to choose from, from the deceitful thief to the loud and proud musketeer. One thing I forgot to mention is that this game is set in the 16th/17th century (so 1500’s and 1600’s) and gun powder is still in it’s early stages
The Skill Tree
You are then given the first look at the skill tree. This is what the skill tree looks like, some of you might be thinking “looks a bit complex” but i assure you it isn’t. All you need to do is spend the amount of points given into any of the boxes and when you pick a box the next one one will become available to you. choosing your class means you get a completely seperate skill tree so you can’t make a swordsman cross over into the musketeer’s skill tree. When you have spent all of your skill points on your tree you are then thrown into the newly made world.
Here is what the graphics look like when you are thrown into the world. You might be a bit confuzzled when first looking at the world and are probably thinking to yourself “AAHHH WHERE DO I GO!?!?” and that’s the point, you really don’t know where you’re going, you go wherever you want to go, whether you want to wonder the wilderness or try and find a market to buy some nice gear the choice is yours. The game works as most roguelikes do, time stops when you stop, so each square you take time passes. In-game is actually simple to understand, the little white “@” is your character and the brightened cone-shaped area in front of the character is it’s field of view and the field of view actually gets smaller as it gets darker. I would have loved to tell you how my character hacked off every limb of a bandit but sadly there are no living npc’s in the game as of yet, so sadly here’s where the in-game part ends and the “what it could be” begins.
What It Could Be
Mark Johnson promises a lot of epic features…and I mean A LOT. He promises features from large scale naval battles to randomly generated ancient tombs and temples promising treasure and artifacts. I must say that I cannot wait until URR gets fully completed so I can get really stuck in and explore the vast world to find hidden treasure (maybe even buy a boat and start doing piracy hehe). Yes you can do anything from leading a nation to leading a rag tag bunch of scallywags on the high seas in search of booty. Mark also says there will be a linguistics system involved which means if you find murals on the wall of a temple your character will just stare at it because he doesn’t know what it means, This means he will have to learn the dead language from books or from other people. I also have reason to believe that there will be a building system in the game which means that I could just build a little log cabin next to the sea and build a little fishing boat and live happily ever after (nawwww). I am already daydreaming about all the ways I could live (or die) in this game and I would love it if Mark got some help because I really want this game’s features put in sooner! but Rome wasn’t built in a day, so what I must do is wait patiently and obsessively go to the web page every day and see how its coming along and might I say that this game deserves more attention than it’s getting so why not just click on this link http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/ you know you want to.