Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review: Skyrim Killer: No! Great RPG: Absolutely!

Posted: February 24, 2012 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
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Pros:
Fantastic presentation
Excellent combat system
So much to do and explore

Cons:
Storyline is a little bland
Voice acting is pretty bad at times
Not really an open world

Now before I get deep into this review let me just state that I’m not a big role-playing junkie. I don’t gather around a bunch of nerds who have no life and play Magic: The Gathering or even Dungeons and Dragons. However, I’ve been known to partake in some good addictive experiences like Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star, The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. Skyrim has been my big RPG as of late, and I’m still trying to finish Fallout: New Vegas. Now it looks like I have another addiction to add to the growing collection, and it’s name is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

So here’s the story…abridged of course so that I keep it as spoiler free as possible. You’re dead! No really…you died. The game starts with your death as your carried off by a pair of gnomes discussing exactly who and what you are. This is where you begin character customization with race, basic looks, and your name. Then your body is dumped into the Well of Souls where all of a sudden you are miraculously brought back to life, fight your way out for the well filled with corpses, and begin your quest. What exactly is your quest? Well that is all up to you because you’ll begin to find out that you have no fate. Your fate is all up to you. Know thyself. It’s what you choose to do that determines your ultimate destiny. I really like that about a game.

For your typical Western RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning features a fantastic presentation of role-playing goodness. However, I will tell you that the storyline is quite bland. After he opening moments and my eventual rebirth I found it hard to concentrate on the story because I was really focusing on the gameplay (which I’ll talk about later). Rest assured that most casual RPG players aren’t really going to care. The story is mostly told in text format as you talk to various NPC characters, and your given a bevy of responses to choose from which can determine whether your character is a do-gooder, or in fact an evil badass. Remember, you have ultimate fate. You can choose your own damn destiny.

Speaking of the NPC characters, some of the voice acting actually sounds pretty good. The other characters however sound terrible which will have you quickly pressing the skip button. Although, I do have go admit that one character in the opening village that was supposedly ill actually had me contemplating what was wrong. During an NPC conversation, I couldn’t tell of she was dying or about to have an orgasm right in front if me. I definitely had a good laugh on that one.

Now just like any RPG, your first thought other than combat has to do with exploration. Getting to know the lay of the land opens up what the genre does best. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning features some amazing looking scenery along with the various castles and villages filled with tons of  vibrant colors bringing the world to life. I love to explore to find new places as well as a few secrets sprinkled around the world. The world in Amalur is huge which might take you a long time to get around. The world map also allows for quick travel to previous locations you visited. While the world map is huge, the bad news is that it’s not as open like any of the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games. Rest assured this is not a deal breaker whatsoever, because the scenery is well done even if there is not much land to tread through.

Ok, so I might have sounded a little negative with a couple of things, but these small nitpickings pale on comparison to how great this game really is. So what makes it great. It’s the gameplay. Anyone who loves third person action games like God of War, Darksiders, and Devil May Cry will fall in love with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The fast paced, hack and slash, combo driven, real-time combat featuring plenty of swords, daggers, magic staffs, bow and arrows and more makes killing enemies and earning valuable XP is a lot of fun. By the way the finishing moves are also a sight to see. Magic also plays a role as you use fire, ice, lightning and more to destroy enemies. By the way magic works great when you mix it in combos. The combat system is great and found myself addicted into wanting to kill everything in sight. Sometimes I got so addicted that I would forget to heal myself if my health got too low and I ended up dying. The combat is that good.

With all the killing and questing that your completing, the XP will come in bunches. As you level up the customization of your character rises to new heights. Now if your familiar with games like a Borderlands and Dead Island, you will find the level up menu system easy to navigate and work as you spend points to use for upgrades. These class specific upgrades include extra damage with specific weapons, defense, and magic abilities. The usual RPG stuff. As I’ve leveled up I could really tell the difference my attacks were making along with the damage I took. Not many games can display that as well as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning can.

Throughout the course of my adventures with Kingdoms of Amalur I found myself immersed in it’s unique world of adventure and fantasy. It was so hard to put down the controller, because I kept telling myself that I wanted to finish one more quest, gain one more level, or just make if to the next town just to say that I was there. From small basic enemies, to boss-like juggernauts, to making potions and forging weapons, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will hold you in it’s grip for long gameplay sessions making questing fun and entertaining (even if the storyline qualifies as “meh”) for all no matter how much of a fan of RPGs you are.

Let’s face it Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is clearly no Skyrim, but it’s solid gameplay and role-playing mechanics make it a worthy game that everyone should play. In my honest opinion, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is better than all three Fable games combined. After the first weekend I played the game I was hooked, and it’s hard to take me out of it’s fantasy world even if I want to go slay dragons and explore the open world of Skyrim. Role-Playing junkies should definitely give Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning a run because your clearly going to like it.

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  1. […] For my original review of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Click HERE. […]

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