Being the head of a game development company working on a brand new intellectual property must really be a pleasure. For starters, you can look at what came before and borrow ideas from other games or you can look at what things failed in the past and learn from past mistakes. We’re proud to say that Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning took the majority of ‘good things’ and put them into their new franchise epic RPG action game.
You say that Dark Souls was too difficult? Not a problem, Reckoning eases you into things one step at a time. You say that Skyrim had clunky combat? Not a problem, cause Amalur excels in this department. You want your God of War to have an open world? Not a problem. Imagine ordering food from your favorite fast food restaurant and getting everything served up to you exactly as ordered – well that’s just about how we felt playing Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning. Combat is precise and fantastic – probably the BIGGEST strength of this game. Amalur is visually stunning with a world that feels alive and organic – characters and design fit nicely into the fantasy world we’ve known to love and appreciate since our youth.
Amalur feels like a hybrid of the best parts of many great games that came before it. It many ways it reminds us of what I loved so much from Enslaved – a fast pace combat system with lots of upgrade and variation. Reckoning will most likely be compared to The Elder Scrolls V Skryim as both offer a hugely vast RPG experience but in Skyrim combat always felt ‘stiff’ and in Amalur it is very fluid and edge-of-your-seat. Skyrim will most likely win all arguments surrounding story, music and a general love for the product but Amalur is hands-down a more exciting treat in the department of action RPG single-player gaming experience.
Not every game is perfect – and we know that the company behind Amalur (38 Studios/Big Huge Games) didn’t have the volume of employees the size of BioWare so we forgive them for some of the things that went unpolished in the final result. Probably our biggest complaint in Reckoning – the static dialogue scenes. As great as fighting is – when you have to talk to a character in the game — everything slows down. You will be locked into a standard 2-shot, close-up, close-up conversation with the camera locked into position – such a drag considering everything else is so fluid. Voice-over animation in dialogue scenes (on the Xbox 360) looked out of sync for the most part which took away from the fantasy and another complaint we had was all the loading screens. Minor complaints in the general scope of things but something to consider for a game you are going to spend over 50 hours playing.
Bottom line – Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning deserves high praise and will most likely get it from anyone who plays the game – we’ve provided some gameplay videos for you to see for yourself if you want to give the game a whirl or not. We played the game on the Xbox 360 (installed) and made it as far as level 16 before writing this article. Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning is available now for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.
Kingdoms of Amalur [Commentary 01]