I was a big fan of Kingdoms of Amalur (2012) back when it was first released, and again when it was surprisingly remastered as Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning. I was excited to hear even more content was on the way when the remastered version launched, but the Fatesworn DLC missed the mark in so many ways.
This new adventure set after the main campaign is marred by some curious design decisions that hold it back. The core story of Fatesworn is acceptable, if not precisely remarkable or memorable after you are done with it, except in negative ways. The setup doesn’t make much logical sense within the rules of the game world, and the ending is annoyingly arbitrary. The actual adventure itself is good, though, and strings plot points along just enough to give context to the new areas. Some of the returning characters feel a bit off compared to the base campaign, but not enough to be counted against the game. The stumble in the expansion, and it’s a big one, comes in the form of Chaos Portals, which are designed to frustrate you at every turn.
One of the main complaints leveled against Kingdoms of Amalur was its lack of any meaningful difficulty curve. Once you are out of the starter dungeon you are never properly challenged, even on harder difficulties. The remastered version mitigated this somewhat, but only moved the curve from “insanely easy” to “very easy”. Admittedly, for a more casual gamer like me, I like the lower difficulty curve, but it is definitely off-putting to those who prefer to be challenged and tested. The Chaos Portals seem to be a response to that, but they’re so poorly conceived I don’t see anyone sticking with them for long. The core concept is that these portals bring with them enemies who have a new armor mechanic on top of their regular hit points, and you have to use specialized weapons to remove the armor before you can do any proper damage.
Instead of adding difficulty to the game it simply means you have to farm Chaos Weapons to carry along with your regular gear. I understand that the developers likely wanted to give you a reason to farm the new dungeons in a way that didn’t invalidate your previous character building, but this just ends up being a tedious grind. The dungeons themselves are actually good fun, and their randomized nature could have resulted in them being a reason to keep coming back, but sadly, the Chaos Weapons grind is just dull.
Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning Fatesworn DLC Review Final Thoughts:
Fatesworn is an odd duck on all fronts. A DLC to a remake of a title overshadowed by the controversy surrounding its development and launch means that it already has a fairly diminished audience to begin with. Fans of Kingdoms of Amalur who want more adventures aren’t likely looking for big changes to the core mechanics, and so the implementation of the Chaos armor and gear is awkward, at best. There are new areas to explore beyond just the Chaos Portals, and they are well designed and fun to explore, but that alone isn’t enough to justify a recommendation. Even at a $20 base price, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. It’s all the more frustrating because you can see how with just a few changes the expansion could actually have been a worthwhile time and money investment, but these odd decisions hold it back. I don’t regret my time with Fatesworn, but I also don’t see myself ever jumping back in. It will be interesting to see if the Amalur IP continues past this point.