[Game Review] Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

When I heard about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and the squad of talents behind its making —Morrowind and Oblivion lead designer, Ken Rolson; New York Times bestselling fantasy author, R.A. Salvatore; accomplished comic-book artist, Todd McFarlane; and backed by the money of former MLB pitcher, Curt Schilling. I knew by then that this game is going to be great. But that was before I played the game. Now that I have spent 70 odd hours in Reckoning, do I still think it a great game? Well, yes.

Reckoning is an open-world, role-playing game. But its likeness leans towards Fable and World of Warcraft than an Elder Scrolls game. Exploration in Amalur is not quite as open as in Skyrim, where you could just go wherever you want. In here, the maps are quite contained, divided into areas, with limited pathways. Although these are just measures to prevent your low level character from making a wrong turn and stumbling upon a high level Troll. But if you know your way, and if you can survive higher level creeps, you’re still free to move on to different areas.

Reckoning’s art team also did an amazing job. The game’s art style is just so alive with color, so vibrant. There are also a variety of environments that can be found here, making exploration less dull. From green verdant forests to red barren deserts, you’ll see these different landscapes as you traipse in Amalur. The graphics is quite dated, however, and its cartoon-like visuals doesn’t conjure an atmosphere like an Elder Scrolls game. But, on the upside, it doesn’t take much to run Reckoning. I played this game for hours, on the highest settings, and not once did this game froze on me.

But the heart and soul, the bread and butter of Reckoning is its combat. As an action-RPG, Reckoning’s combat system owes more to games like Prince of Persia and Batman: Arkham Asylum, where you can execute flowing attack combinations instead of just auto-attacking a target. It’s pretty darn fun and satisfying to unleash a string of attacks on an enemy: launch them to the air with a hammer blow, then switch to bow and attack them while they’re still in the air, and then finish them off with an earthquake ability once they hit the ground.

Reckoning also uses a class-less system. While the abilities in the game are divided into three archetypes (Might, Finesse, Sorcery), you can still invest ability points in each, allowing you to create hybrids like a warrior that can summon lightning storms or an archer that can freeze opponents. So, you’re not tied down to a single play style. If it so happens that you ended up not liking your character build, the game has Fateweavers –NPCs that, for a really small fee, will reset your abilities so you can redistribute your points again.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a sterling game, as one would expect from a game made by a group of talented people. It has a deeply satisfying combat. An art style that, while dated, is very vibrant and alive. It’s story –especially the main quest line and the guild story arcs– and lore are very much well-crafted. The world is also huge, as it is beautiful, and will take weeks to fully explore. It’s a game that warrants a second or third playthrough. Overall, it’s worth every penny.

Score: B+

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