Coming from developers OtherSide Entertainment and publisher 505 Games, the downloadable title Underworld Ascendant is the sequel to Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (1992) and Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds (1993). Players are the Avatar and have to return to the Stygian Abyss for adventures that are emergent and non-linear in nature.
How to Download Underworld Ascendant
To download Underworld Ascendant simply click on the link provided at the end of this review. The game can be obtained from the Steam digital platform.
The Game Review
Priding itself on eschewing a class system, players can largely customize their Avatar’s play style to their own preferences. This means that gamers can emphasis melee or other types of combat and are not fixed into a particular role one way or the other.
Drawing upon the rich lore and atmosphere of the Ultima series, Underworld Ascendant is the perfect continuation of that series of games. Told from a first-person perspective, Underworld Ascendant’s graphics are a heady mix of trippy and Tolkien-esque but with a dark bend to it all.
Three factions are competing for control in the Stygian Abyss: Dark Elves, Dwarves, and Shamblers. Players can interact with members of the various alignments as well as non-player characters of a neutral alignment.
Because of its adherence to a non-linear style of gameplay, Underworld Ascendant’s semi-scripted scenarios rely upon an interesting gameplay mechanic wherein challenges are reformulated so that they are unique each time. The game is simultaneously interested in player choice and emergent gameplay but it also has a story to tell. The way the devs at OtherSide Entertainment address these two concerns is both masterful and really makes the game work.
A lot of Underworld Ascendant’s mechanics are experimental in nature, a luxury afforded the team by the game’s indie-funded status. The emphasis on keeping things non-linear makes some of the in-game systems opaque for players to understand. This shouldn’t be difficult for people that have played previous games in the Ultima series, but for those of us that are new to it, the experience can be jarring and chaotic.
The best thing about Underworld Ascendant’s gameplay systems is that there isn’t, technically, a wrong way to play the game. Every game has builds that aren’t viable, but Underworld Ascendant really pushes this concept into new, experimental territory. Gamers are rewarded for creativity and encouraged to engage in it.
Fans of classic PC role-playing games will love Underworld Ascendant. It has everything you could want up to and including modern conveniences and streamlined UI. Where it lacks, and this is often the problem with many PC RPGs, is that it isn’t always easy to understand what’s up.
- If you’re a fan of the Ultima series of games then this is the title you have been waiting for
- Tons of atmosphere and lore to back everything up - it’s a classic RPG without the trappings of an old-school game
- Everything comes together for what can only be described as an “experience” - and one that we want more of
- RPG systems are hard to understand
- Emergent gameplay is kind of strange and doesn’t make sense at times
- The story is happening but then there is all this random stuff as well - the game can’t decide what to focus on