Free game alert: Origin’s latest “On the House” game is Ultima VIII

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Okay, so it’s not quite the masterpiece that is Ultima VII, but EA’s latest “On the House” game is…well, not that great of a consolation prize either. Still, as of today you can head to Origin and download Ultima VIII: Pagan for free.

I’m going to be honest: Ultima VIII is probably the first big whiff I’ve seen in the On the House program. After giving away a few modern-ish games at the start, EA’s spent the last six months or so giving away classic games from its back catalog. Great classic games, like Theme Hospital and SimCity 2000 and Syndicate.

And now they’re giving away Ultima VIII, which is not among the greatest games in EA’s back catalog. In fact, it’s not very good at all. Sure, it’s got the same isometric stylings of its predecessors, including the classic Ultima VII (so good we recently included it on our list of Classic PC Games to Play Again). Ultima VIII is either forgettable or actively bad though, depending on who you talk to.

But hey—it’s free. If you’re still on the fence, here’s the Origin description:

“The Guardian has tricked you, Avatar. After you defeated Batlin on Serpent's Isle, he banished you to Pagan, a world under his control. Once, it was a beautiful land, but ever since the ancient battle between the Elemental Titans and the evil "Destroyer," it is engulfed in eternal twilight. Titans—now worshiped as gods–are cruel and uncaring. They bestow power on their most dedicated followers who, in turn, terrorize Pagan's population. To find a way back home, you need to become a Titan yourself before the Guardian succeeds in his plot to conquer Britannia—and then Earth itself.”

The game is notable for somehow scoring the first “M” rating of the Ultima series. Oh, and also notable because it has some god-awful platforming sections. As always, you’ll need an Origin account to take advantage, and you can find the download page here. No telling how long it’ll be free, but past promotions have run for about six weeks.

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