Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is perhaps one of the biggest (and most certainly ambitious) games to be released in 2012. Although it had been in production for a very long time (the title screen has a copyright of 1997-2012), there were enough big names behind it to justify the hype. In addition to being produced from a studio run by former MLB pitcher Curt Shilling, the game garnered such names as Ken Rolston (of Elder Scrolls IV fame), RA Salvatore, and Todd McFarlane, just to name a few. Now that the game has finally been released worldwide, I can finally say that while Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a good game, I do not think that it necessarily transcends the genre in the way that, say, something like Skyrim did.
Those who were fans of Oblivion will find quite a few of the same trappings in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (henceforth referred to simply as Reckoning), as the player will be running through a fantasy setting with the ability to do most of what was able to be done in Oblivion (such as lockpicking, looting, purchasing property, etc.). The gameplay itself is similar in a sense to something like Fable in that you are playing from a third-person perspective, but where Reckoning differs is that you have a primary weapon, and a secondary weapon that are mapped to square (X on xbox 360) and triangle (Y). This means that instead of light and heavy, there are certain patterns in which you have to do the button presses for executing combos. By this, I mean that holding the square button and then releasing will let out a charged attack of the weapon type mapped to that button. There are multiple combos, but most of the time, I found myself just mashing the button, as that seems to be the best tactic. There are three main trees that you can put points into, which follow the basic rouge, mage, and warrior path lines, but because it doesn’t really force you into any certain style, you will come across quite a bit of loot that you either cant use or have no use for (because it corresponds to another class). In addition to the class trees, you can put points into more general skills, such as Blacksmithing or Stealth, but, if you want a pointer, you should definitely max out Sage crafting, as maxing this out allows you to craft Health Regeneration gems which you can add to your armor or weapons which will help you immensely.
It’s a bit disheartening to say, but the gist of the fun in the quests lie in the main storyline and the guild storylines. This doesn’t mean that the sidequests are terrible, it is just that I found them to be quite generic, and after a while, I just wanted to go back to the main storyline (or the guild storylines). Without giving too much of the main story away, you are essentially a person without fate in a world that is controlled and run based of off fate. As you can probably guess, you turn out to be quite an anomaly in these people’s eyes, and things progress from there. The main story is actually quite long and engaging, so to see that the sidequests are a little bland is a bit disappointing, but it doesn’t detract from the experience terribly. One thing to note about the sidequests though is that there are tons of them. With pretty much every corner that you turn, you will run into a different sidequest, and in the cities, there are a multitude of them. In addition to the main story and the sidequests, there are 5 different guilds which you can do missions for. These guild missions are pretty unique (not as good as the main story but better than the sidequests), and, to a degree, could be classified as similar to the guild missions in Oblivion.
The sound in Reckoning is by no means bad, but it would not be far from the truth to call it generic. There isn’t a ton of variety to the songs that are played in different areas, and I found myself often having to turn up the volume, because the balancing didn’t really seem right. The sound did not exactly detract from the experience of exploring the vast world, but it doesn’t have that sense of epicness found in games like Skyrim.
Reckoning is hardly a bad game, though it has its flaws. The gameplay, despite the partially simplistic combat, is fun enough to keep players hacking and slashing for hours and hours, and the main story and guild storylines are very well done to the point where it gives the story in Skyrim a run for its money. That being said, the problems that Reckoning has are a bit much, and as such, the game is pulled down in a few key areas. Reckoning is a fun game, that I do think that you should check out, but maybe you should wait until the price drops before jumping into the world of the Fae.
Tagros’ Review of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning : 8.5 out of 10 stars