An open-world action RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is set in Amalur, a rich and deeply immersive world underpinned by 10,000 years history, created by 22 time New York Times bestselling author, R.A. Salvatore. Immersing players in a rich, living, breathing open-world dripping with magic and rife with danger, underpinned by strong storytelling, Reckoning lets players define their destiny as they engage in intense action combat while exploring the huge, vibrant and varied world of Amalur as envisioned by the visionary creator of Spawn and acclaimed artist, Todd McFarlane.
Designed by open-world RPG legend Ken Rolston, Reckoning offers players unparalleled choice in a world of infinite possibility. Together, the visionaries and development team behind Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are creating a game that aims to forever change the RPG genre.
Genre: First-Person RPG
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Big Huge Games
Release Date Europe: February 10, 2012
IGN: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review in Progress
Since the release date is getting closer and this is a partial review i thought this game deserved its own thread.Here at IGN, "reviews in progress" aren't uncommon. Our MMO Editor Nick Kolan uses such a format when he delves into the epic adventures he reviews, such as he did with games like DC Universe Online and, more recently, Star Wars: The Old Republic. But we've never tried this approach with a game outside of the realm of the MMO genre. That is, until right now.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be playing through Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning pretty much every day. I'll keep you up-to-date (perhaps a couple of times a week) as to my progress, how I'm feeling about what I'm seeing and doing, and more. All of that will culminate in a freshly written review before the game launches to the masses in early February, when I'll render my final verdict.
But enough about that. Let's get into the nitty gritty. Let's talk about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
Dense. That's the first word that will likely come to your mind when you go through the introductory dungeon of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and finally find yourself outside, free to explore to your heart's content. It's not that the world itself in Reckoning is unruly or unmanageable, nor does the game give you too much to do in terms of control input. It's simply that you're going to find a world so chockfull of plot that you might have a hard time keeping up with it all.
Of course, this isn't a gripe at all. On the contrary, it's actually a testament to the incredible work done by famous fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore and his team of writers that, as I discovered back at New York Comic Con, created a world with a 10,000-year history. So as you begin to speak to people, hear the names of characters and places, and start to put everything together in your head, don't feel bad if you're a little lost. I'm only several hours into the game, and I'm already feeling a tad bit overwhelmed.
So much to explore.
But I don't want to get too ahead of myself. Because Reckoning is an RPG in the western style, you'll obviously be playing as a character that you can cater to your wants, needs and -- most importantly -- play style. After some cutscenes fill you in on the game's plot (worry not, purists, for I won't be touching much on the story in the review in progress or the final verdict so as to avoid spoilers), you'll be able to create your character in earnest.
There are four classes available to you. The Almain get bonuses to persuasion, alchemy and blacksmithing. The Varani get a boost to mercantile, detect hidden and lockpicking. Ljosalfar are buffed-out in sagecraft, dispelling and alchemy. And finally, the Dokkalfar get a helping hand with sagecraft, stealth and persuasion. My character is a male Varani. "Hardened by the high seas," explains the game, "the Varani are just as frequently pirates and mercenaries as they are shrewd merchants. They favor swords and daggers as seaworthy weapons." That cursory story, combined with the bonuses the Varani get, made it an easy choice for me.
Combat is fluid, and feels great.
My red-haired, mohawked Varani named Stigandr thus found his way to the Faelands, where the post-introductory adventure begins. But I learned a great deal about playing Reckoning from the game's dungeon-based introduction, too. Because Reckoning and Skyrim are being compared quite a bit (they're both fantasy-based RPGs released around the same time), it's worth noting that Reckoning's combat is far, far stronger than Skyrim's. The game feels tighter, and you'll no doubt feel more in control.
What I love most about Reckoning's combat has a great deal to do with how easy the game makes it to do more than simply swing a sword. Switching between your primary weapon (such as a blade) and your secondary weapon (whether it be a stave, hammer, bow, or whatever else) can be done on the fly with a simple press of a face button. Casting spells is executed by holding your controller's right trigger with a face button also held. Pulling out a shield is as easy as pressing another trigger. There's even a super-powered mode you can go into when you have the energy to do so, and again, that's easy to execute, too.
You'll quickly realize that the secondary weapon options really give your character the slant you want him or her to have. A stave will let you cast spells, giving your character a mage-like feel. Daggers allow you to stab unaware enemies from behind, essentially making you a rogue. Hammers supplement the inherent strength of warriors, while bows and arrows are for those more keen on fighting from afar.
It may sound complicated, but it's really not. Reckoning allows you to get right into the action without having to overthink anything. Better yet, the game isn't bogged-down with subpar combat. The brilliance of the game's fighting mechanics shines through immediately, and persists as one of the things I'm most impressed about with the game at this early stage of my play through.
Manage your inventory by buying and selling goods.
Combat, as in any RPG, finds its statistical supplements in the weapons, equipment, items and other gear you come across. Reckoning makes equipping the best possible gear easy, and the game also makes navigating your inventory simple. You'll quickly understand the game's weight and encumbrance system, which isn't as convoluted or obnoxious as it can be in other like-minded titles. And because you're given so many options in what you can equip, you'll find a deep level of customization worthy of your appreciation, as well.
That customization rests at the heart of Reckoning, especially in terms of two of the game's fundamentals: Abilities and Destinies. Reckoning doesn't bind you in and lock you down to one path and one path only. Your character, unlike everyone around you in the game world, doesn't yet have a destiny written for him or her. That means that your destiny can essentially be written and rewritten on the fly.
By dumping points into the sub-categories under the Sorcery, Might and Finesse monikers, you can make your character better at whatever you want, even if you're concentrating on something else entirely. For instance, you can improve your spellcraft under Sorcery even if your character wields a sword and bashes dudes' heads in with his hammer. Likewise, your Destiny can be written and rewritten when you level up, giving you bonuses that will help you do what you do best, but not necessarily tethering you only to that path.
The idea here revolves around the notion that if you're going to spend scores and scores of hours with an adventure like Reckoning, you should be able to choose different paths as you go so that you don't become tired or bored with a more static character or class. This novel approach to RPG gaming is certainly worthy of praise, but just how well it works remains to be seen, as I just haven't had a chance to explore this aspect of the game very much yet.
Attacking from afar.
Indeed, there remains plenty that I still have to delve into with Reckoning. But if I can tell you one thing based solely on my brief experience with the final build of the game so far, it's that there's plenty to be excited about with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Whether or not the final product, dozens and dozens of game hours from now, lives up to what I've seen and done so far remains to be seen, but what I've seen and done so far is impressive.
RPG fans and fantasy lovers take note, and definitely come back next week for a more in-depth look at Reckoning, including details on questing and side-questing, item creation and exploration. Sound-off in the comments below to let me know what you want to know more about in particular. If you give me enough fodder to work with, the next update could be twice as long!
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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Review Thread & Discussion
Last edited by Nuvian; 01-14-2012 at 11:41.
Once more into the fray.
Into the last good fight I'll ever know.
Live and die on this day.
Live and die on this day.
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