Ultima's final chapter has a plethora of problems, to say the least. Not only does it retain the unpopular action-platformer format that Pagan introduced, EA also was very much against the project (wanting Richard Garriott to push Ultima Online instead) and nearly all of the original staff from Origin had long since been reassigned or fired, leaving Garriott to work on a strict deadline with a team of inexperienced coders who had little to no familiarity with the Ultima series. The script also underwent heavy rewrites and cuts as the development process dragged on, leading to a lot of disparate elements even within its own continuity. As a result of these and other factors, the final product is a very buggy game that seems to misunderstand or neglect nearly every fundamental aspect of the franchise. I'm sure the development team did the best they could under the circumstances, but that doesn't save it from being one of the most disappointing series finales of all time (to the point where a large contingent of the franchise's fans refuse to even acknowledge it as canon). So with all that said, let's close out the legendary Ultima franchise with a look at its most hated entry. This... is Ascension.
There is a fan patch for the game which rewrites a pretty good portion of the dialog, fixing a lot of inaccuracies with Ultima lore and rewriting a lot of the really dumb bits. I've elected not to apply it in order to highlight just how far out of touch with canon the development team really was. However, I did apply the Version 1.19 patch to fix several glaring bugs left over by the developers, which will hopefully provide for a more stable gaming experience.
- Ultima IX on GOG
- 1.19 Patch
- Fan Dialog Patch (comes packaged with two other patches that tweak the monsters and economy of the game in order to give it better balance)
- And of course, more of IT-HE's hilarious shenanigans. Ultima IX is perhaps their finest work, creating some truly amazing glitches and sequence breaks that have to be seen to be believed.