Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning review
William Thompson

Review

Determine your own Fate

Wielding your weapon


Controls are always important in an RPG. With the number of attacks, defending stances and copious amounts of equipment to juggle, it can be difficult for inexperienced gamers to get a hold of. Reckoning though does a great job on this front. In Reckoning, the combat is somewhat simplified, and although I feel that it is made to suit the console crowd, it works remarkable well especially for those looking to get into the genre. When it comes to battling a foe, one mouse button is used to brandish your weapon of choice, whilst the other can be used to wield spells to cast at those wishing to vanquish you. Switching between primary and secondary weapons is also, for the most part, smooth with the use of the scroll wheel. I did at times find it a bit touchy, causing me to effectively double-scroll through the weapons. This was usually not much of a problem, but on a few occasions in a heated battle, switching between ranged and melee weapons at short notice caused me to lose some health when the issue occurred. It didnt happen often, but was annoying when it did happen at critical times.

But aside from that, combat works extremely well. Timing your attacks with various combos, such as charging and bashing, slowly increases a special Reckoning meter. Once full, gamers can then engage Reckoning mode, which works like The Matrix in slowing down time against oncoming foes. Killing foes in Reckoning mode builds up a Fateshift level, and once activated performs a special fatality move, garnering the gamer a boost in XP.

Experience points are, as is the case with RPGs, then built up to level your avatar. Upon levelling up, the gamer can then invest points into their skill tree. But unlike most RPGs, gamers are free to mix and match whichever skills they want to invest in, not being hampered by class skills. If youd like your Mage-like character to be able to wield heavy weapons, or your Warrior-styled avatar to be adept at sneaking then youre free to invest in those traits. And if at any time, gamers feel theyve made a choice that doesnt suit their game style, then a visit to the local Fateweaver can restore all your skill points for re-distribution at a cost to your coin-purse, of course. The level of customisation is amazing, and thats not even including the initial character appearance from the beginning of the game.

You cant keep everything


Progression also leads to better weapons, armour and other equipment. Unfortunately, this leads to the old RPG conundrum of inventory what to keep and what to dispose of. Since you cant keep everything with the limited inventory space, gamers will either be constantly running back and forth to a merchant to sell their loot, or if they dont want to trudge back, will have to decide which items are more important for their avatar.

Another reason to travel back and forth from one place to another is the quests. Reckoning contains the usual smattering of fetching quests, as well as the time-honoured quests of destroying a certain creature before returning to the quest giver. There are heaps of side quests that will definitely keep gamers playing for hours. And although the game seems open-world, it tends to lead gamers down a specific path. The lack of a jump function also means that you are prohibited from attempting to gain access to areas just out of your reach. So, in essence, its a pseudo open-world experience.

But overall, the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning experience is fulfilling. With hours of gameplay in the main story-line, all the side quests available, and the ability to freely (well, not quite free with a visit to the Fateweaver) change your skills, Reckoning gives gamers plenty of replay value. The story, despite it taking a while to get into, does an admirable job of setting the tone of the story surrounding Amalur, whilst the vivid visuals and background music enhance the fantasy nature of the game. The non-speaking nature of your avatar somewhat diminishes the feeling of familiarity with the character and the story, though. Combat is simple, possibly too simple for experienced role players, especially when your character has developed, whilst the lack of party members means that gamers are free to concentrate all their efforts on the one character. For a new IP, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning does really well to match it with the big boys of the RPG world - a more than worthy entrant into the fray.

Please note that this review is for the PC version of the game. Our X360 review can be viewed here.

8.5

fun score

Pros

The amount of character customisation open to the gamer is amazing

Cons

The combat controls seem somewhat console orientated. Story takes a while to get going