An incredible RPG experience.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a beautifully crafted, open world, fantasy RPG from 38 Studios and EA. The landscapes are vibrant and inviting, merging rich green forests, filled with wildlife, with barren deserts and everything in between.
Welcome to Amalur, a world where you died in battle and were resurrected by the Well of Souls. It is believed the souls of the dead can be apprehended as they try to leave the world and be guided back into a human body. Those of the Faelands believe in destiny and fate, which are woven into a series of roles that must be fulfilled. But after your death and resurrection, you return without a destiny and must carve one out for yourself.
Your adventure in the stunning world of Amalur unfolds into a journey filled with multiple quests and tasks. From the start of the game you can customize your character and finely tune their abilities. The main game follows a solid primary quest, which will completely immerse you for a solid twenty hours or more, add on the additional side quests and tasks and I’m reckoning this game could see you into the hundred hours gameplay mark.
You will spend a huge amount of time exploring every section of this deep and epic RPG. The majority of my gameplay was sunk into wandering through villages and talking to the various inhabitants, while trying to slay monsters in between. When I wasn’t trying to destroy every Rock Troll and Boggart in the land, I was smashing boxes left, right and centre and trying to collect all of the loot from treasure boxes. Aside from the involving main story, I have been picking up side quests which involved everything from a moving well to recovering lost loved ones who’ve either been kidnapped or have wandered off the path and never been seen again. My journey has involved recovering items for local villagers and exploring deep caves filled with traps and tripwires where one false move could send an arrow through my heart or launch spikes beneath my feet. This rich and highly detailed world is full of discovery and excitement.
Within the inventory, you’ll find your weapons, armor, accessories, consumables, items and junk. You are able to set a primary and secondary weapon, each of which have their own assigned button on the controller. Most of my time was well spent using various different Chakrams, which were like a pair of bladed Frisbees with added effects such as fire or lightning. They were ideal for burning beasties or slicing the odd Boggart from a distance. There is quite a selection of other weapons to use, from the general Longsword, which is ideal for rapid battle, to the slow but powerful battle hammers. Fae Blades and Daggers are ideal for stealthy attacks, whilst Sceptres and Staffs add a bit of magic to battle. Longbows are handy for taking out guards from a distance or from around a corner, and ideal for shooting deer in the forest.
As part of the leveling up process, your character can learn skills such as lock picking, blacksmithing, crafting, and alchemy. These skills can all be used within the game and the level of proficiency dictates how successful you can be when repairing equipment or whipping up a potion. I spent a lot of my time perfecting the lock picking and dispelling skills, which enabled me easier access to the different chests that can be found. Opening a chest, either with a lock pick or by dispelling the magical lock, will launch a mini-game in which the player must either rotate the pick whilst trying the lock, being careful not to snap the pick, or activate symbols to ensure the chest is safe to open.
Spending skill points on Find Hidden Objects is certainly worthy for anyone who wants to find all of the loot in this fantasy world. As this particular skill is increased, hidden stashes of loot, which may simply be a fallen log to anyone else, begin to show up on the map and can be found when the player gets close. This skill also increases the swag looted from fallen enemies.
There are then points to add to abilities each time you level up. With three different categories – Sorcery, Might and Finesse – you assign points to become proficient with certain weapons, obtain passive abilities or learn new spells or attacks. I began by putting a lot of my points into Might abilities, as I planned on using the fine art of the blade. But as I developed, I began using more points in Sorcery, allowing me to summon up a Faer Gorta, a skeleton swordsman who would accompany me into battle. The more points that a player assigns to a category, the more abilities are unlocked within that category.
The final part of developing your character involves the Fate cards. These offer certain passive bonuses to the character depending on which you choose and are dictated by where you spend your ability points.
The combat system in Kingdoms of Amalur comes across initially as your typical hack and slash, but it is quickly discovered to have a decent amount of depth. The primary and secondary weapons are each used with just one button, either quickly tapped or held down for different attacks. The player can roll out of the way of attacks, or use a shield to block. Holding down one of the triggers accesses any abilities that are assigned to the face buttons, allowing the casting of spells and such. By concentrating on one of the categories, the player can develop their character to fit their playing style, such as might abilities for tank-like warriors, finesse abilities for distance and stealth warriors, or sorcery for the wizardly amongst you.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is easily one of the best RPG’s I’ve played in years. It quickly immerses you into an amazing storyline and invites you to explore a beautifully crafted world of fantasy. The NPCs are very easy to connect with and you will find your character progressing and becoming more powerful quickly enough so as to keep it interesting. It is easy to admire the beauty of Kingdoms of Amalur, the variety of the environments and the compelling nature of its gameplay.