Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Thursday, 01 March 2012 09:10
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is Curt Schilling’s and 38 Studio’s first game. The big question is how does it compare to the likes of other western RPGs? I’ll tell you, this game is good and with the likes of Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore on board for the development, other western RPGs have something to fear.
As a guy who has a rough history with RPGs, Kingdoms of Amalur fills a much needed void. The game feels like a cross between Fable I and II, Dungeon Siege 1, and I detected a hint of Mass Effect 2. Amalur plays similarly to the Fable games but has class trees similar to Dungeon Siege 1. There are three class trees in Amalur: might, finesse, and magic, otherwise known in other RPGs as the fighter, mage, and the rogue classes. Gamers don’t have to focus on one tree and they can branch out with no restrictions which is one of the many great ideas in Amalur.
One of the other interesting aspects of Kingdoms of Amalur is the ability for games to pick their characters “destinies.” This pertains to what a gamer’s character can specialize in. For example, if a gamer only focused on Magic or Might, some of the options they could pursue might include being a Brawler or a Seer. Each has their own bonuses, such as a bonus to melee damage and/or 15% magic damage. I was someplace in the middle and I went with an Adventurer, which included bonuses to ranged damage, and critical hits. Your character is known as the “fateless” and he/she can call upon the fates to transform into a damage dealing machine who’s kills are only multiplied by the amount of XP you can receive. This ability comes in handy a lot.
Most of these aspects in Amalur are welcome changes to the RPG genre. I mentioned Mass Effect 2 because gamers can completely ignore the side quests if they want to. These quests won’t help or hinder the direction of the game. I won’t go to much into the story, but you are a mortal who dies, comes back to life and must stop this new God from destroying all the world.
But besides the questing and the story line there are a lot of other things to do. Gamers with a lot of free time can use the the points they gain each level and put them in essential noncombat skills. Some of these skills include: Alchemy, Stealth, Persuasion, Detect Hidden, Mercantile, Dispelling, Blacksmithing, Lockpicking, and Sagecraft. Some of these, like Detect Hidden are essential in the game as this lets players find hidden treasure and doors throughout an area. I also recommend the mercantile option. This focuses on buying and selling items and means more gold in players’ pockets. Persuasion is another interesting skill as it opens up interesting dialogue options. Stealth was a skill I should have spent more time with due to the fact stealth kills give the player more exp. Keeping this in mind the class abilities you pick and the skills gamers put points into can change throughout the game. Gamers can re-spec their character anytime for a fee.
Graphically the game looks sharp. The world showcases the different areas, including forest, desert, swamp, etc. The enemies are also very detailed. I enjoyed putting on mismatching armor and seeing how my character looked overall. I put about 25 hours into Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I spent about 30% doing faction and side quests.
I only have a few gripes with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The game can feel repetitive as some of the quests are “go here and fetch that” or “go kill this enemy.” The narrative is good but I had a hard time getting into it at first. Players will also pick up a lot of items they cannot use and the size of their inventory is limited unless they buy backpacks and houses.
My final thoughts are this. If you like Western RPGs and enjoyed games like Fable, Mass Effect, Dungeon Siege then you will enjoy Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I cannot wait to see what else 38 Studios produces. My final score 8.5/10.