I come to you today to talk about the awesomeness that is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Brought to you by the creative minds of Ken Rolston, the game’s executive designer, and R. A. Salvatore, not only the creator of the game universe and lore, but a power-house author of the fantasy genre, along with Todd McFarlane (the creator of the artwork), and Grant Kirkhope creating the musical score, Kingdoms of Amalur is an amazing new addition to the world of electronic RPGs.
Now, this game really appeals to my love of RPGs not only because of the wide range of quests that you have to choose from (quests that are completely outside the realm of the main plot), but also because of the way that you really get to customize your in-game character. While you’re only allowed to choose from 4 races (2 human, and 2 elven), you’re nevertheless able to customize everything from skin, facial features, piercings, hair and tattoos. But the customization doesn’t end there. Unlike with other RPGs, you’re not limited to only one path (ranger, wizard, warrior, etc). Rather, you’re allowed to mix and match. While you can choose to pursue just one path, what’s the point of having the ability to combine paths if you don’t take advantage of it?
I for one was thrilled to be able to combine my two favorite classes of mage and ranger/rogue.
This freedom of character development ties in with the general plot of the game that revolves around your in-game character. After being killed in a bloody battle against the Tuatha (evil Fae warriors of the new, despotic Fae king), you find yourself brought back to life amidst a pile of corpses (tell me that’s not a bad day, lol). Now, if you haven’t played the game yet, I won’t go into details as to how that happened, but because you have defied the laws of nature, you become ‘fateless’. As such, your destiny is truly your own and isn’t controlled by any higher power.
Overall gameplay is smooth, though the controls are a little loose–meaning it’s very easy to run past your intended target if you’re not paying attention. However, that’s only a small complaint. The freedom of movement within battles more than makes up for it, as does the relative smoothness in switching between your fighting styles.
Here’s a little tip, be sure to level up your lock-picking skills, your detect-hidden skills, as well as your persuasion skills because they seriously come in handy.
Now, onto the subject of graphics.
If you’re looking for a game with graphics akin to those of Mass Effect 3) or Call of Duty 3, then you’ll be disappointed, but that is no reason to not give this game a chance and even enjoy it. The game is set against a backdrop that for me was very reminiscent of The Secret of Nimh with the overall lighting as well as all of the glowing plants and flowers. Simply put, it’s beautiful. Not only that, but time actually progresses (sunrises, sunsets, etc). Regarding the graphics of the characters and monsters, it’s as though World of Warcraft had a baby with Evequest 2.
What do I mean by that?
The characters are more cartoonish than the ones in Everquest 2, but less cartoonish than the ones in World of Warcraft. As someone who’s played both games, I can say that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a perfect balance between the two styles. Now, while I LOVE a game with amazing graphics, I find myself very happy with the way the graphics are done in this game because it makes the spiders less scary. Unlike with the Dragon Age games in which case I find myself running away from the spiders and letting my party deal with them (ESPECIALLY during a few key moments in Dragon Age 2).
The weapons are awesome and have a great deal of variety (I particularly love the chakrams and fayblades). Also, because of the very wide array of quests (many of which reward you with certain in-game perks that you wouldn’t get if you had turned the quests down) that are available in the 5 regions in which you explore throughout the course of the game, the game has a very open-world feel to it. Now, being the type of gamer who loves to take my time and explore the in-game world (the detect-hidden skill really comes in handy here because it allows you to detect hidden treasure caches as well as to detect and disarm hidden traps), this could not get any better for me.
Overall, I give this game 2 thumbs up, and I encourage all of you to give it a try.