Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review
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An action-RPG that mixes the pleasures of the arcade and the depth of vast open worlds, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a worthy first entry into what is likely to be a successful series.
- Fantastic action and combat
- Interesting world to explore
- Plenty of variety and customization
- Repetition in quests, enemies, and loot
- Fairly cliche RPG story, narrative
- Some minor technical issues
(continued from previous page) ...striking similarities to a certain MMORPG that millions have played, and many have left. Yes, Reckoning looks an awful lot like WoW. The forests and deserts and well designed and each area of the large map gives you a new flavor, a new color scheme, new enemies, and new allies. This is a vast open world to explore, and while you can technically starve off the main quest by doing side quests and simply stumbling from town to town, Reckoning likes to keep you on track and away from less forgiving enemies.
All of these elements blend together for an almost arcade-like experience. At times you may feel compelled to put a couple quarters next to your TV to secure your next game. In fact, Reckoning is one of the few RPGs (action or otherwise) that can give the player plenty of satisfaction in a 20 minute session. There is absolutely a ton to do, but it’s extremely fun to wander around and fight, or run a quick side quest for some extra coins.
When you have more time to invest into the game, you’ll find a quirky cast of characters fully voiced and animated. While the voice acting is generally impressive—and characters rarely go off on longwinded tangents—there are definitely issues with the character models and lip synching. The characters frequently look almost plastic in appearance, and facial expressions are fair at best. In addition, the dialogue wheel tends to flake-out, and sometimes you’ll have to select just what you want your silent protagonist to say—this could be a glitch, or it could just be something you’ll have to accept. While the dialogue wheel is very reminiscent of Mass Effect, it’s hard to tell if what you pick to say has any impact on the story. This could simply require another play through, but the level of decision making isn’t as strong as other titles—yes, it’s there, just not as deep.
Despite some minor technical issues—including a single system crash, pop-ins, and low draw distance—the game runs extremely well. That’s saying a lot for a game with such a lengthy story and large map to explore. The team certainly deserves congratulations for ironing out any major glitches, but rest assure there are some minor issues here and there.
If you like the idea of all this action, but still want your RPG fix, know that Reckoning has full crafting features, tons of side quests (including those that require an online pass), colorful NPCs, plenty of gear to upgrade with gems, and deep dungeons to explore. If you like the genre but were put off by Skyrim for either technical issues or gameplay, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning deserves a shot.
Your destiny is central to the story and gameplay in Reckoning. While characters may try to use that to their advantage, others will join forces with you and aid you in your quest. Much of the game is played alongside companions. The good news is that the A.I. is actually pretty good, especially for an RPG. Your allies will take care of themselves, they aren’t scared to attack enemies you haven’t engaged, and they aren’t pushovers. But at the same time, you’ll probably wish that the other character was a real-life friend, and not just the computer. That’s not a fault of the game—and we are still expecting an MMO in the Kingdoms of Amalur space—but the game just begs for a couch companion. Perhaps the sequel will have some co-op.
The enemies are generally tough, especially the boss battles, but they are also a bit too familiar. You tend to fight the same types of enemies throughout the game, and there is definitely an MMO feel to your encounters through a dungeon. Combat is real time, you swing your weapon with the square button, magic and blocking is tied to your triggers, and you roll with the circle button. Beyond that the game gets a bit repetitive in terms of battles. Sure, it’s a blast to have an RPG with such in-your-face combat, but it would have been nice to get a bit more variety in the encounters. Of course, you can always re-spec (at a cost) and change from a rogue-like warrior to a sword-wielding mage. But the loot system provides ... (continued on next page)