Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review
Thanks to EA for supplying us with this Review unit for the PS3
Kingdoms of Amalur is is product of a Development between Big Huge Games (Age of Empires 3, Rise of Nations) and 38 Studios and the results, are quite good if we were to sum it up. This is the first series in the Kingdoms of Amalur series and the game has turned out pretty well if we may so so ourselves, but how good is it really? Well read the rest of the review to find out but do remember that this is a RPG (Role Playing Game) so those of you who aren’t interested in RPG’s (like Skyrim) might look elsewhere.
Gameplay: When making this game, they told us that this game with be a cross between God of War and Oblivion. One is a game I love (God of War), the later one not so much (although I thought Skyrim was absolutely brilliant), so right away I was torn between wanting to play the game and wanting to throw it away. Lucky for me, common sense prevailed and I ended up playing it – and enjoying it for the most parts. The last RPG game I played was Skyrim which is most probably the best game of 2011 so I find it hard to not compare it to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, also and RPG. I’m glad to say it holds up on it’s own, but it’s still not Skyrim but as we all know that’s also a good thing.
Let’s talk about the gameplay, straight from the start. You get to choose 2 sexes – Male or Female, 4 playable races (each with their own strenghts and looks), 3 class trees with 22 abilities per tree (this is how you upgrade your skillset). To be honest after the simplicity of upgrading skills in Skryim, I found it a bit tedious here and it took a while into the game before I finally got the hang of the entire upgrade style. Basically each player starts of with a blank canvas if you will, and you slowly choose what type of class you’re going to be (Fighter, Rogue, and Mage Class) and from there on you evolve your character to the class you have chosen. It’s a bit tedious as first, but we feel you’ll adapt as you go along the game.
As for combat, we actually enjoyed the simplicity of the combat system within the game (though it’s not necessarily easy). Each button on the PS3 correlates to a different attack only (for example, Square for the Main weapon and Triangle for the Secondary Weapon, R1 for Magic, etc..) so it makes it easy to get used to the control system right away. It’s certainly more streamlined than God of War so you won’t be making any 30 hit combo’s any time soon, but it’s just as fun. There’s also a cool mode called ‘Reckoning Mode’ where you literally slow down time and you speed up in a fight and can finish an opponent off in true God of War Style, by ripping the enemy in half. Good fun that.
Storyline: I’m not going to lie, after the amazing Storyline that was presented in Skyrim (albeit short) and the God of War Series (yes I know this game was compared to Oblivion, but I’m ignoring that boring game), overall I found it a little short on excitement here. Basically you’re awoken from dead and known as the ‘Fateless one’ and your goal is to go around doing quests and building your skills up until you get to fight ‘Tirnoch’, the big evil guy who’s taken over and turned Amalur into a battleground. Tirnoch is considered to be a god by his followers who are known as Tuatha Deohn (they’re meant to be immortals and they basically hate mortals). To be fair, we’re being overly critical as the style of storytelling here is actually pretty fascinating, but maybe after spending so much time invested into Skyrim we weren’t just feeling the need for a long story (and it’s MUCH longer than the main storyline in Skyrim for those of you wondering).
During your many quests and side quests you meet many different characters and species, some will be fun to interact with giving you valuable information while a lot are just there to make the game more vivid and lively. Either way, without ruining much of the storyline we suggest you give it a try and tell us what you thought of the game.
Graphics: The graphics in this game are quite good. Yes we know that’s a short and direct way of putting it, but there are frame stutters here and there thought it’s never been big enough to crash or freeze the game. It’s not great either as we’ve seen plenty of better looking games but we suspect for the size of the game it would have been a titanic undertaking to get their graphics any better. Still, we were fond of the graphics even if the cutscenes were easily differentiable from in-game play and the surroundings looked good even from a distance.
Fight scene animations were something we really enjoyed though, and the graphics really stood out here and it made us want to fight as much as possible (especially with the good combat system) and the designers did a great job here. But like we said, it’s not great and that’s because the character modules (other characters apart from you) are just terrible. We’re not sure why the Dev’s dropped the ball here as we were hoping they would be as good as the rest of the game. The silver lining is that bosses and large creatures looks decent, but we still feel let down by the normal characters you run into across the game. Also, the lip syncing was a little off, but it wasn’t a complete let down here.
So the question is does the lack of character modules bring down the entire game? A little but not enough to not continue playing the game. Safe to say the fact that we barely ran across any bugs in the game is a further testament to the great work put into this game by the developers.
Game Value: Oh come on people, you’re dealing with a substantially large RPG here which has been made really well. What else are we to say apart from the pact that this game’s value is through the roof! The initial run through of the main mission will take players anywhere between 60 and 100 hours. That is nearly double that of Skyrim’s, so we can assure you that if you’re looking forward to getting this game then you’re truly going to get your money’s worth. Of course, a few small issues here and there might detract from the overall game but we’re sure this game’s game value is almost as good as it gets!
We must note though that if RPG’s aren’t your type of game and you do get this game then there might not be much in it for you so unfortunately you made a poor decision in buying it. We still urge you to give this game a try because you never know how much you might enjoy it until you try it (we certainly didn’t).
Apart from the main mission, the game’s creators have said that if you intend to do all the side missions and the main mission as well, essentially a 100% game completion rate, then you’re looking at close to 200 hours of gameplay. That’s nearly 8 and a half days straight! Of course, we know that most of you won’t get that far, but if you do manage to finish the game then you’re going to need a lot of time to kill.