Review by noz3r0
Amalur could be the next great series
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a great game with a combination of what other genres do well. As an Action Role-Playing Game you expect to have a lot of detailed character development and a sub-par live-combat game play. Reckoning does the RPG element well but also pulls off a combat style that leaves other games in the genre behind.
Game Play (10/10)
The combat is simply addicting and continues to stay this way through the entirety of the game. There are various spells that you can obtain through the three combat trees and combining them allows for devastating combinations. A wide variety of weapon types let's layers choose their style of defeating foes and being able to quick switch between two weapon types is also a nice feature. The one downside to the PC version is the inability to map more then one spell for quick use. The upside to this is having up to nine spells on quick switch and since you can switch during the spell activation there is no delay in your combinations.
The Destiny system works well because you can explore all styles of the game in a single play by visiting a Fateweaver, an NPC that can reset your ability points. This allows for unique bonuses to be obtained for whichever part of the game you may need. If you are having trouble fighting a boss using melee, you can simply re-specialize and you are suddenly a caster that can counter the enemy. The learning curve is relatively short and the tutorial does an outstanding job of showing you the ropes and how to effectively combat the enemy. On the other hand, once you get a grip of the combat the game takes a sudden drop in difficulty through the middle of the game, even on Hard. It ramps back up towards the end but needless to say, bosses just don't live up to the name if you can become very overpowered.
The game is deep in lore but not as immersing as you might expect from a R.A. Salvatore story. The main storyline is short and really never pulls you in. You spend the first few quests trying to figure out what you are and then journey off to defeat the Tuatha Beohn, an evil faction bent on bringing back a God. You are left somewhat confused until you reach the second half of the game where you begin to fully understand your task and how you became to be. The lore on the other hand is rich and enticing but only shows itself through the side quests and faction quests. Lorestones provide stories of the past and a handful of the quests bring you to troubling villages that can suck you in, wondering what's going to happen. Overall, the story isn't something that will be remembered for this game but there have been worse story lines.
A fantasy world should be colorful and create a dream-like feeling - Reckoning does just that. The world is scaled to size and very colorful as you travel through forests and open plains. The caves are dark and provide a feeling that you are exploring something of worth. Realism is at a minimum and that isn't a bad thing. Zones flow together nicely but some of the plains are a bit lacking as you reach the half-way point of the game but the final zones are very different and provide a nice magical appearance. Overall the visuals are brilliant and provide a high end product that results in very short load times.
The musical score isn't something mind blowing but definitely adds to the theme of the game. Standard travel music is different for each area and combat music amps up to match the speed of the fights. Boss fights have a unique score to create that epic feeling. Creatures seem to make odd sounds but NPCs make up for this. The voice acting is excellent and you rarely feel like you just heard the same person talking. The Lorestone narratives are also very well dialogued and help draw you into the lore.
The game is definitely worth a replay if you want to get fully immersed in the story and combat. However, being able to re-specialize at anytime is a setback for playing again since you can experience the full range of game play in a single play through.
Give the game a try and if you like it, buy it because there is roughly 200 hours of game play if you want to do everything. There is a demo for a test run, just keep in mind that it's linear because it serves as the tutorial for the main game and things have been refurbished and polished.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (US, 02/07/12)
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