Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review

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Day of reckoning…

RPGs are one of the most popular genres in the gaming world. Whether it be JRPGs, open world RPGs or MMORPGs, there is plenty of choice on offer.  Final Fantasy, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls and Guild Wars; all great examples of how the RPG genre has flourished over the years. Over at Big Huge Games and 38 Studios, they have gone and created another RPG to add to the ever growing list. Is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning as deep and engrossing as the titles previously mentioned, or is it an RPG that will be forgotten quickly? Read on to find out.

Game: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Developer: Big Huge Games/38 Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Reviewed on:

STORY

RPGs almost live and die by their story, and you’ll be happy to learn that Kingdoms of Amular is no different. The story begins as you are brought back to life via the magic of the Well of Souls. You are the first success that the Well of Souls has had and everyone is amazed. However, Gladflow and his army of the Tuatha have no time for your praise as they set out and kill you. Gladflow is a member of the Fae that has turned evil,  and now plans to control the kingdom and make sure all mortals are killed. You embark on a journey to save the people of Amalur and unravel your fate, which is no longer accessible by the Fateweavers.

Speaking to each being throughout the land will give you more insight into the story and the characters that are part of the game. You’ll want to listen to the information people in the towns and caves give you, as not enticing them into conversation might leave you a littled confused in regards to the story. Although the main quest is slightly linear, the story itself is great, deep and very engrossing.

GRAPHICS

Kingdoms of Amalur shines just as much in-game as it does in the cutscenes thanks to the fantastic visual style. Some of the characters, including your own, will (at times) very much remind you of Avatar, yet never looking out of place within the confines of the game. The cities, caves and dungeons that you visit all manage to standout on their own accord, with each one filled with beautiful colours that will make you want explore and just wander around taking in the sights.

The enemies you meet do get a little repetitive in terms of design, but are represented well enough graphically. Bosses do have more of a graphical edge to them when compared to normal enemies, leading to these beasts being quite the visual delight.

SOUND

The music and background audio in Kingdom of Amalur is very well done, but is slightly let down by the poor lip syncing in place for the characters. Given that you’re playing a RPG, it would’ve been nice if the developers made more of an effort in this department, but thankfully it’s not that big of negative as the voice acting itself is great. Every word you hear from different characters is believable, making you want to watch every single cutscene rather than skip forward to the action.

GAMEPLAY

Even though it’s a single player experience, you can’t help feel that Kingdoms of Amalur would make an excellent MMO. It’s testament to how big the game is and how it plays out. Once you’ve saved yourself at the start, you are able to fully customise your character. There are four races for you to choose, Almain, Varani, Ljosalfar and Dokkalfar. You are then able to fully customise your character’s appearance to you liking, with a good few selections on offer, but a few more would of been even better.

Once you’ve set up your character, making a change or two is always an option, as nothing is set in stone. You are able to change your characters destiny and  abilities at any given time. It comes at a ‘cost’, but you are able to re-distribute any points you have earned over to your desired skill and ability as you see fit. This is a great way of keeping the game fresh, as you can go from being a warrior with his sword to a mage at the touch of a few buttons.

The combat system in Kingdoms of Amalur truly takes the RPG genre to another level, and the developers deserve massive applause for their efforts. Whether your a RPG fan or not, the combat system is just incredible. You are able to equip two weapons at a given time, and picking your right weapon is crucial to the attack. Pick a fast strong weapon you will find yourself slashing away at your enemies with ease, whilst a slow one will cause more damage, but leave you more open to enemy attacks. Magic attacks can also be perfomed and are mapped to face buttons in conjunction with the right trigger.  These are good for strikes from a distance, but only if you have enough magic ability left in order to carry out the attack. Reckoning mode is the cherry on top of Kingdom of Amalur’s combat system and is put into action when your fate meter is full. Once in this mode, you  are able to quickly kill your enemies with deadly attacks and weaken bosses significantly.

Like most other RPGs, there are towns where you can buy, sell or even loot certain chests in shops. Looting chests will send guards after you, but if you’re well versed in the art of persuasion, they will often turn the other way and you can get away with your sneaky deeds. You are only allowed a certain amount of items and weapons on you at one time, so each time you find a new item or potion be sure to check if you have enough space. Lockpicks are probably the most common item you’ll find, but are useful in unlocking doors to get to other places. Time the unlocking wrong though and you will have to start again, so it always helps to have quite a few available at all times.

In addition to the main quest, there are many side quests scattered around for you to delve in and level up your character to take on the harder enemies later on in the game. Side quests can become a little repetitve if that’s all you’re doing, but mix them up with the main story missions and you’ll keep the gameplay fresh.

LONGEVITY

With a deep main story and over 100 side quests, Kingdoms of Amalur offers an insane amount of gameplay hours. It might not be as lengthy as Skyrim, but it’s a title that will certainly eat away at your gaming. Factor in the ability to change your own destiny throughout the game and a fantastic combat system, Kingdoms of Amalur will definitely keep you busy for a while.

VERDICT

If you’re a fan of open world RPGs then Kingdoms of Amalur is pretty much an essential purchase, and one you will not regret. There’s no multiplayer component, but it’s depth would put most MMO titles to shame, and that’s certainly no easy feat. Be prepared to be immersed and lose several hours to this truly fantastic RPG.

9.5/10

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