Blitz Review: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a fantasy roleplaying game from Big Huge Games, the studio behind PC RTS smash hit Rise of Nations and a lesser-known developer, 38 Studios.
A new IP from both studios under the umbrella of EA, Reckoning feels like a strange hybrid of a lot of RPGs from the past.
Reckoning was always going to have a hard time convincing consumers to part with their cash, coming not too long after the enormous Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim* and just before Mass Effect 3 – it would seem even the most demanding RPG fan would have their plate full.
Read on to find out how Amalur and its’ fantasy setting fared against these RPG juggernauts.
*Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning actually has Elder Scrolls designer Ken Rolston on board.
Fans of the ‘traditional’ RPG setting will feel right at home in the world of Amalur, both developers have done a good job in setting the atmosphere around the player, if you’re familiar with Lord of the Rings, The Elder Scrolls series or any similar game/movie, you’ll settle into Amalur easily and quickly.
The visual style is very nice, it’s simple and almost cartoonish but works well, the environment is colourful and easy to navigate around, and enemy design is typically fantasy yet fresh and new at the same time.
Combat is something of a mixed bag, deciding if it’s good or bad is mostly subjective – a lot of players will find it enjoyable and easy to master while others may find it quite repetitive and boring.
If you’ve played Fable you’ll know what to expect, X/Square controls your primary weapon, Y/Triangle controls your secondary weapon, B/Circle for a combat roll and Right Trigger combined with a face button will spit out a spell.
Simple and potentially enjoyable, again depending on the players’ preference.
There are specific combos to learn in your start menu, but they ultimately boil down to a slightly more advanced version of button-mashing, a problem which plagues the combat of the entire game.
Ever battle seems to be the same, melee – roll – arrow – magic, rinse and repeat.
Map/World design is quite a let-down, especially given the scope and setting of the game, each section of the world tries to give you the impression of freedom but each one is actually very linear and sparse.
Some worlds just feel completely out of place too, the arid desert is a prime example, it just doesn’t look right to watch our Hero fully clad in steel plate armour while running past a cactus in the middle of the desert – it breaks the immersion and looks ridiculous.
While we did love the overall setting and atmosphere of Amalur, the story itself feels quite generic and uninspired – like it could have been ripped from any fantasy novel or movie.
We find it hard to care for the characters and even though the quality of voice acting wasn’t bad, no character felt well and truly fleshed out the way we would have liked.
Camera control is also a nuisance, the camera seemed to have a mind of its’ own at time and it proved frustrating to have to adjust it constantly.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a decent foray into the Fantasy RPG world, while it has a nice yet shallow world, a Fable-esque combat system and a generally forgettable story, it’s not a bad game and would make a perfect gateway-game for anyone who wouldn’t normally be an RPG player.
For most though, we don’t think there’s enough here to warrant a purchase – a rental or bargain bin is the best option for Amalur.
You can contact the author of this post, Luke Hoare Greene at Luke@TechTV101.com or Follow him on Twitter.