Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning

Rated M  X360 Version

I have played the hell out of this game. I've sunk in close to 60 hours in the world of Amalur and I have loved every blessed minute of it. Its just a fun game. Its a 'plug in and play for some time' fun game. It is nowhere near as deep as Skyrim or other giant RPGs out there but where this game truly shines it does better than most others.


So lets get this out of the way now. Kingdoms of Amalur has a very bland story. It is generic and not very inspired and that is surprising since they had R.A. Salvatore write the story. Granted it got much cooler in the final moments of the game but it drags it ass all the way up to that point. The quests, whether they are main story, faction, side or fetch, are all rather dull too. I did enjoy the The Warsworn story line and the finale to the House of Ballads story too. It seemed the factions got the better deal for writing than the main story. Hopefully this will be addressed in future sequels. And its an EA game....of course they will sequelize it.

What I did like about this game was the sense of scale to everything. The world of Amalur is just this large and vibrant world that just beckons you to keep moving through to find that next new area. I had many a 'damn' moment when I entered a new region and was stunned by the look of it all. From the dense ethereal fey woodlands to the crystalline mountains in the last parts of the game to the grand scale castles and cities...this game looks good. I have always loved the colorful, unrealistic WoW looking graphics and Amalur does this in a grand fashion.

By the same token the sound design and musical score is pretty good too. Gives the game a grand scale feel especially the combat music. The voice acting, however, is rather stiff and forgettable. Still I feel that will be something any sequels forthcoming will address. I really can only see this franchise getting better and bigger.

Now the BEST part of this game is its ultra tight and responsive combat. It is just so refreshing to play an action/RPG with such a great grasp on the combat side of things. You can switch between your primary and secondary weapons on the fly helping to create your own personal combat style based on which weapons you prefer. You can also quickly activate special abilities with a press of the RT and then press what corresponding face button that power is. Its fast. Real fast.

I also like how you level your character up. Each level you put one skill point in a select number of skills (like Detect Hidden or Blacksmithing) which give you benefits to those skills depending on your rank. Then you get three points to distribute to the attributes of either Might (melee), Finesse (range/stealth combat) and Sorcery (magic). As you add points you can customize which powers, passive abilities, weapons and spells you want your character to have. So you can customize how you want to battle the forces of evil in Amalur to which ever way your heart desires.

And if you want to change your load out you can speak to a Fate Weaver and, for a nominal fee, they can undo all your points for you to reissue however you want. And you can do this whenever you feel like it. That is refreshing, the ability to never be locked down into only one way to play your game.

Lastly with combat there is the Fate Shift. When your fate meter is full you can Fate Shift and enter Reckoning mode which slows down combat for your opponents and you deal more damage and when finishing off enemies you enter a quick time event that can double your experience points gained by 100% the norm. Its sweet.

So in conclusion I liked this game greatly and I'm still playing it to finish up some straggler achievements I need to unlock. I can't wait to start over as a new character and play this game completely different than my first play through. Even for its faults Amalur was a fun experience and I would easily recommend it to any one looking for a fast, fun experience.