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whatshot Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Reviewed by
James Wright
on
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning PS3 Review. In conclusion, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning provides another immersive gaming experience that will force many people to lock themselves up again while they complete this game.
Rating:
4.0

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.9
Sound 7.5
Value 8.0
Distributor: EA
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
Feb 2012
Reviewer:
James Wright

8.0


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first RPG of 2012 to be released and Electronic Arts have taken the gamble of creating another new RPG universe for gamers to play in. Interestingly enough, the developers had two professional writers as advisors in the birth of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that include fantasy scribe R.A. Salvatore of the sword and sorcery genre (Dungeons & Dragons) and Todd McFarlane of Spawn fame.

Also included is Ken Rolston, the lead designer from Elder Scrolls III and IV which creates a rather impressive brain trust for this title. As a result, the game has this real Lord of the Rings atmosphere but you can definitely see where the influence of Salvatore and McFarlane came into the story and artwork that is laced with a touch of Elder Scrolls, thanks to Rolston. 

In this world that has seen many conflicts which have involved the humans, elves, gnomes and fae, a new evil is about to rise that is lead by the fae called Gadflow. This fae is a zealot and wishes to unleash war upon The Faelands again order for him to release his god upon this realm. This is where a nameless (for now) soldier comes into the story who has been resurrected thanks to the Well of Souls which creates a new destiny for you.

This destiny commences with the character creation screen and allows the player to choose either a human or an elf from various nations around the globe. However fate plays a key role to all denizens of this world and as you have been raised from the dead, you are no longer bound by the rules of fate which gives you a free pass to changing your characters destiny. This means that even when you have selected your skills and abilities and for a price... you can basically reset your character. It's definitely a strange feature but one that actually works if you muck up your character or want to try something different.

However compared to Dragon Age or Skyrim, the character creation tool is a little basic but it does allow for some customisation such as sex, facial features, religion and of course, your abilities. After being spoilt by games such as Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning does feel a little limiting, however once stepping into this rich and detailed world, my Skyrim obsession slowly started slipping away. When you’re finally in the game, the title teaches you how to navigate in this world and how to fight and use your skills/powers which leads you to choosing your class for your character, be it mage, rogue or warrior. In reference to classes, your characters are not limited to their class skills only, so you can create some interesting amalgamations such as warrior mages or even a mage thief. There are also guilds littered around the world to assist with the overall RPG element of Reckoning. 

The world of Amalur is huge and unlike Dragon Age, the gaming environment uses more of a sandbox approach that is akin to an MMO where it opens up zones. Also in these zones, you will find lore stones that basically give the player more information about the world that you are visiting plus a permanent stat boost. Even though the world is not a true open-world experience like Elder Scrolls, you can still virtually explore every nook and cranny in this massive universe.

From detailed cities to lush forests and some brilliant lighting and weather effects, the environment of Reckoning is a living breathing world with plenty of interaction for the player. Apart from your main quests, you'll also embark in a variety of side quests that can often lead to interesting plot points and of course, some additional weapons and items for your character. It should also be mentioned that morality does not really play a role in the story as all roads still lead to Rome. This does detract on the choices that you make in the game as they don’t really impact the overall story that much.

Just like most RPG's, grinding will assist in your character becoming a powerhouse and this helps with the various boss battles that you engage in. However by engaging in a few hours of grinding every now and then, it will assist in levelling up your character and using your precious points to fine tune your skills. Fateshifting is another mechanic to combat and by killing enemies, this increases your fate meter that in turn gives you more options for combos and mixing up your characters skills. When you do fill up your fate meter, it basically increases your power and uses a touch of bullet-time to stylize your attack… in turn you become a true superhero… for a time anyway. 

Unlike other RPG titles, Reckoning is almost a third person action game with its fluid fighting thanks to its one button melee approach that has been well mapped on the DualShock controller, especially when you engage in the enemy. I like how you have quick access to your magic via the R2 button or even accessing weapon swaps or items is extremely flawless. Whether you’re using a sword or two or a combination of shield and sword or something totally different like a bow, there's plenty of weapon combinations to choose from, especially when you start specialising. Reckoning unfortuantely uses a degradable weapon and armour system for your character which means you need to keep an eye out for the status of these items. This is a little annoying,  especially if you forget to repair them before going into a boss battle.

Another aspect that I enjoyed about the quests in Amalur is the freedom it gives the player as you don't feel obliged to just solely focus on the main storyline and more importantly, not all quests involve combat. Depending on your style of play, most gamers should easily be able to finish this title in around 35 to 40 hours but if you want to explore more of the various lands, you can get lost in this title for a lot longer like 50+.

Graphics/Audio

Graphically, you can see the influences of Tod McFarlane in the game with the stylised models of all the various fantasy races that grace this title. It has this more comic or cartoon feel to the environments opposed to a game like Skyrim. For me, Reckoning sits somewhere between World of Warcraft and Dragon Age in terms of visualisation. Character animations are very smooth and as mentioned the environment comes together impressively well, especially with the lighting effects and almost otherworldly colours employed by the game.

There are some downsides to the graphics that include framerate issues and some textures errors. Voice acting is exceptional as is the majestic classical and clichéd RPG soundtrack that would not look out of place in a Lord of the Rings film. I did love the sometimes British comedic accents of the gnomes but overall, the voice acting did enhance the gaming experience. There was however some audio glitches that I'm hoping will be rectified in the next patch for Reckoning.

Final Level

In conclusion, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning provides another immersive gaming experience that will force many people to lock themselves up again while they complete this game. It's also a strange game that uses modern RPG elements and also classic RPG elements that creates this strange hybrid RPG system that works on most levels but may feel dated for some. Given that, if you're a fan of RPG titles and need something after your Skyrim addiction, than Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning may be the perfect game to fill that spot!





 

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