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Kingdoms Of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 14 - 2020

A welcome return for fans of the original, and maybe even some hope for the future.

When Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning launched back in 2012, western RPG fans were riding high on a wave of quality games releasing on console. As a result, combined with a general quality and depth in this high fantasy adventure, Kingdoms of Amalur proved popular and gathered plenty of fans. It was to be the beginning of a long term series and those who completed the game looked forward to nothing more than returning to this highly detailed fantasy world that had been created by the excellent R A Salvatore. However, behind the scenes the developers, 38 Studios, were in trouble and as they eventually filed for bankruptcy, all hope of more Kingdoms of Amalur were lost. However, in 2018 THQ Nordic bought the rights for Kingdoms of Amalur, and now have released Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, a re-release and remaster of sorts, introducing new players to this world. While Re-Reckoning includes all of the previously released DLC in this package, fans will have to wait until next year for some new content.


Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and players looking back at the original release of Kingdoms of Amalur will remember it being the next big thing in RPGs. Starting Re-Reckoning up now it is quite obvious how much RPGs have evolved in the last eight years, and not just in the visuals. This is not a remake of the original, but rather a subtle remaster with small improvements here and there, while remaining more or less the same game. Despite this, Re-Reckoning still has a whole lot to offer, both for returning players and those who are new to the Faelands.

Having been penned by R A Salvatore, Re-Reckoning is a high fantasy treat, with the story and setting being something that has stood the test of time and is a highlight of the game. The immortal Tuatha Deohn race are seeking to wipe out all of the mortal races in this world, and those who can interpret fate have confirmed that they will succeed. However, the player will take on the role of a fallen warrior who has been brought back to life in the Well of Souls, and this throws a wrinkle in the plans of the Tuatha Deohn. Coming back to life, the players’ character has no destiny and as such is removed from Fate’s weave, making them the only person in this world who could actually change the fates of those they interact with, and potentially prevent the Tuatha Deohn from wiping out the mortal races. However, that will be a long way down the line, as before essentially saving the world, the player will have a huge number of quests to complete.


Let’s be honest here, most of the quests in Re-reckoning are busy work. The main story quests are involved and interesting, and there are a few side quests that offer up their own small stories. For the most part though, side quests are going to see the player rushing off to fight X number of this, or collect Y number of that. Locating lost loved ones or picking up the shopping will be something players will have to get used to, as the life of a world-saving hero is much more mundane than would be expected. There are a huge number of quests for the player to pick up and, for those who don’t mind the grind, entertain themselves with. This is one way in which Kingdoms of Amalur feels and plays like an MMORPG, albeit in a much more lonely way.

Another similarity is in the visuals. The improvements that have been made to the game for this remaster are minimal, leaving the game looking very much like a well known MMORPG. The colours are bright in the bright areas, and dark in the dark, and the models are well detailed, but slightly exaggerated and rather dated. Eight years ago, this was a good looking game, and while it doesn’t make any difference to how enjoyable the game is, it has aged in those years.


When it comes time to fight against the abundance of nasties that the player will face, things are nice and easy to work out. The combat is pure and simple fun, with plenty of choice as to how the player approaches each encounter. The action-based system will see the player able to assign two weapons to the face buttons, such as a sword and bow, or daggers and a magical staff, allowing the player to change weapons easily in the midst of combat. Having no memories of the past means that the player is able to pursue the path of a warrior, a stealth-based rogue, or a magic-flinging mage. However, with ample skill trees that can be dipped into in any way, the player could practice as a magic-using warrior, or a stealthy wizard who is handy with daggers, or a combination of all three if the player chooses. The options are plentiful for players to create a character that feels their own and caters to their play style.

Taking on everything that Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning has to offer will take the player over the 100 hour mark, especially when the extra DLC is taken into account, so the game is not short on content. And aside from the lack of variety and grind to be found with the quests, it is very easy to play and enjoy. There is a huge amount of loot for players to find and equip, and the story really is great. When it comes to the tweaks that have been made for the remaster, most of these will take place behind the scenes and will go by unnoticed by the majority of players. However, a new difficulty mode has been added for those that find the game too easy, which is nice. Other places, such as the occasional bug and the UI which feels cumbersome, could have used some tweaking but I suppose keeps the game feeling as close to the original as possible.


As a remaster, Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning could have had a lot more done. However, the original game was already very good, and so the only real problem is that the game shows its age. Otherwise, it is a deep, entertaining action RPG that fans of the genre will enjoy. For the newcomers, there is a huge amount of content in a rich high fantasy world to discover. For the returning fans, an eight year break is enough, and the promise of new content next year is the cherry on the RPG cake. Perhaps the most cause for excitement comes from the possibility of a sequel at some point. That would be really special. Until then though, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a lightly polished version of an amazing RPG from eight years past, and is still an essential title in any RPG library.




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