Sorry for the negative headline and let me tell you I don’t want to really criticize the game in an unfair way - but after reading some of the previews I fear that there could be something “wrong” with the game.
Today I read a preview of Underworld Ascendant on Gamestar.de and it wasn’t very positive. Also the preview on PC Games.de isn’t really positive. Aside from technical aspects which I think will be refined until release, I fear there is a fundamental flaw in the game.
Underworld Ascendant wants to be the spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld but according to the previews, the videos and what I have seen and read about the game, it is more if a spiritual successor to Thief or System Shock. The game seems to focus on traversing dungeon-levels filled with danger which we can brave using physics, combat, magic or cleverness. Which in itself is cool but it sounds like Thief and not Ultima Underworld.
In Ultima Underworld we discovered multiple settlements with many NPCs. We could talk to those NPCs in multiple-choice dialogue, get information, trade with the NPCs or get quests. As far as i know (correct me if I am wrong) in Underworld Ascendant we will get one city, which will function some sort of a hub - just like it was the case in the Thief games.
Ultima Underworld is a RPG which just takes place in an underground world. Yes it was also an immersive sim, featuring multiple solutions to puzzles and challenges but at its core it was a true RPG. And - at least as of now - this seems to be missing from UA.
The question is, do we really need some kind of Thief-game as a spiritual successor to Ultima Underworld?
I thought that we would get a deep RPG in which we explore a diverse world and yes discover many settlements, meet interesting NPCs that contribute to the story and quests etc. Settlements that could be enemies of each other. Something you would expect from an RPG. I wasn’t expecting some kind of Action-Adventure that will be more akin to Thief.
I fear that this is a fundamental flaw in the game.