by Nataniel Hohl
reviewed on X360
No fate, no limitations
Soon after escaping the Well of Souls, the player discovers that, because of their death, they are no longer bound by fate and are free to shape their destiny as they see fit, a luxury they alone have. This dynamic of being the “fateless one” serves as the game’s character progression system, letting players choose what sort of character they want to play. Like Skyrim before it, Reckoning does away with traditional pick-a-class systems and instead allows the player to assign various “destinies” to their character based on which of the three skill-trees (might, finesse, or sorcery) they invest their skill points in as they level up. These destinies provide bonuses correlating to their corresponding skill-trees and allow the player to focus on whatever form of combat they prefer.
Unlike most other RPG’s however, Reckoning not only allows players to invest points in multiple skill-trees at once, but it encourages it. Standard destinies like “fighter” or “scout” or “adept” are unlocked simply by investing a certain number of points in a given tree, but investing enough points into two or even all three of the trees also unlocks new “cross-class” destinies that can benefit multiple skill-trees at once. Even better, experimentation is further encouraged thanks to handy NPC’s known as “fateweavers” who, for a small gold fee, can refund all of a character’s skill points, allowing them to play their character an entirely different way if they so choose.
Finally, reaching certain points in the main story or completing some of the larger quest-chains in the game unlock “twists of fate.” These milestones grant permanent upgrades and bonuses to your character regardless of their class or spec and can even expedite the levelling process further as many twists of fate grant small boosts in XP gain. These combined with other innovations Reckoning brings to the character-development table manage to shake up the traditional level and character-advancement systems with a fresh yet easy to learn new approach.
Swinging with style
Reckoning’s combat system, while having a few similarities to other hack-and-slash RPG’s like Fable, also bears the hallmark of innovation. Instead of copy/pasting other hack and slash systems like “one button for light attack, one for heavy” or “one button for melee, one for ranged”, Reckoning once again opts instead to give complete control over to the player. Two different attack buttons can each have a different weapon assigned to them which, when coupled with the fact that the game has nine different weapon types to choose from, means that players can mix, match and experiment to come up with their own unique combat styles. Despite the one-button approach, every weapon has a startling number of different moves and combos that can be unlocked ranging from charge and dash attacks to juggles, stuns and area-of-effect moves.
While it is true that each weapon type is tied to a specific skill tree, players are free to use whatever weapons they please regardless of their spec. Want to be a wizard with a giant hammer? Go for it. Have a plate-wearing warrior who prefers daggers over greatswords? Knock yourself out. This dynamic, when combined with the cross-class destinies that can be unlocked, means that in Reckoning there is literally no limit to the different kinds of characters you can play. Never before in any other RPG video game have I experienced this amount of freedom when it came to making my characters feel unique.
An immersive and fun adventure for those who may have grown bored of Skyrim
A convoluted story and MMO-esque traits might turn some folks off