Ultima VII Part Two: The Silver See
No, no, no, nooo. Sob. Isnt my life hard enough already? Isnt it enough that I have to contend with more plots than the combined works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe and the Neighbours scriptwriters; more characters than a typical issue of The Uncanny X-Men and more quests than an entire Sierra catalogue? Now you want me to wrap my brains around 20 quids worth of extra plots, sub-plots and sub-sub-plots? Sigh. Im beginning to hate the word realism. I seem to spend more money on notepads than anything else these days.
A spot of gardening
Yes, you did read the intro correctly. The Silver Seed is an add-in disk. You install it to the same directory as Serpent Isle and then start the game as normal. Then, once youve uncovered a certain piece of the main story, you can enter and leave The Silver Seed section almost at will.
What it entails is actually a spot of time travelling, back to the history of the Serpent Isle. If you were enough of an rpg fanatic to have actually read any of the original games manual then youll probably recognise whats going on. You arrive in a place called Serpents Fang in the middle of the War of Imbalance between Chaos and Order. Your task is to find four magic orbs used to unlock the doorway leading to the Silver Seed which when planted will grow into the Tree of Balance, easing tensions and bringing an end to the war.
Of course, each orb is contained within its own quest and its here that this product starts to fall down. None of the quests are particularly difficult (with the exception of Aram-Dol who is a real bitch to kill) and I was able to finish the whole thing within three days and not even gain any sense of satisfaction either! Not bad for an Ultima! About the only thing I did gain was a couple of rather useful magical items.
A pointless exercise
And what does it add to Serpent Isle? Unfortunately not that much. Its an odd program to describe since, not being a full game in its own right, it uses all the technology, controls and presentation devices of its host (all of which are, if you remember, excellent), but has at its core a collection of uninspired quests and stories. It all keeps within the traditional Ultima way of doing things and adds to the history of the Serpent Isles land, but the actual game content is both smaller than you would expect and not nearly as engrossing as what weve seen before. For the price I was expecting a whole lot more.
I see, so what you are saying is that, although we are only paying half the price for a program that enhances the original title, we are in fact only getting a small fraction of the amount of game you would expect for the full price. With that in mind, the price you pay is actually still too expensive and the whole affair is one that you would classify as a non event? Yes.
I have a theory...
Actually I think I can guess whats happened. I suspect that Richard Garriott, the Britmeister himself, has hit a snag while developing the plot for Ultima VIII. While exploring the mysteries of Balance, Order, Chaos and the rest hes discovered a problem that could only have been solved in Serpent Isle. Since this has already been released to a most grateful public he was too late to change it and to just say it happened would make it appear as out of place to longterm Ultimaniacs as the word aardvark in the W section of Collins dictionary. So an add-in disk is called for (it worked for Ultima VII). This way if you do buy it then youll benefit from full knowledge of whats to come, if you dont then at least you wont feel as though Garriott is just taking liberties with the plot. Well, thats my theory anyway. I guess well have to wait for either its release or a legal writ from Origin to see if Im right.
Should you buy it? You already know the answer dont you? If you want a full Ultima collection then youll have to. If you want some extra animations for the Origin Windows Screen Saver then you can find them here. If you want an adventure to keep you glued to the monitor throughout the night, cutting you off from the outside world and limiting your social skills then youre a bit of a sad case really arent you. At least The Silver Seed wont be damaging in that respect.
Download Ultima VII Part Two: The Silver See
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP