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on April 24, 2012
I bought KoA: Reckoning for my boyfriend as a gift (he is a huge R.A. Salvatore fan)... needless to say, I've logged about 25+ hours and he has 4 or 5 hours. The gameplay is very fun, especially if you tend to play characters that rely on hand-to-hand combat as opposed to archery or magic. There is nothing about this game that isn't appealing to the eye-- the colors are so bold and the landscapes really are gorgeous. The inventory system is pretty cool also; instead of giving your character a weight limit for what they carry, there is an item limit. Although this is kind of a bummer for smaller items, it really is beneficial when you're going through a cave or ruin and you find nothing but armor and weapons. The inventory menu also has a "junk pile," so as you're on a few quests and picking up everything (and I pick up EVERYTHING), you can add it to your junk pile, and when you get to a shop, there's an option to sell all of your junk, which makes your visits to the shops a lot quicker. For me, the controller setup had its high points and low points, but I really loved how your primary and secondary weapons are set on the X and Y buttons, which makes switching between them a breeze! I am a big fan of hand-to-hand and melee combat, so having this control setup allowed me to fight faster. Also, hitting left or right on the D-pad allows you to consume a minor healing or mana potion, which is awesome if you're in the midst of fighting several enemies (because it's rare that you'll only encounter one at a time). "Reckoning mode" also has its high and low point, which are, to me, the same thing-- in Reckoning mode, you can beat anything or anyone, very quickly. While this rocks for any quest with a mini boss battle at the end (fill up your fate meter while going through a cave and it will be full when you get to the boss, and cut him down in a few sword swipes), it makes these boss battles forgettable and too easy. And let me say this now-- I am not a super awesome gamer... I can hold my own, but I am a pretty casual gamer with a total weakness for a good RPG. Another little aspect of this game that I LOVE is the "hide helmet" option... I hate bulky armor because I can't see my character's face (I must not be the only weirdo like this, since there is this option), but being able to hide the helmet on the gameplay screen really made me happy. The ability to be able to change your character's destiny and appearance throughout the game is also nice and, although I didn't find the need for these options, it is definitely nice to have them available.

Overall, I wish this game was a little more difficult; I know you can adjust the difficulty settings, but I don't feel like that would impact too much. I began this game working on the main quest, which is really interesting and fun. Side quests would come up, and I figured I would just get to them after or when I needed a break from the main quest. Well, I completed the main quest rather quickly (very rewarding, although I felt I should have paid more attention to the story line), and now I'm going back to the side quests and they just aren't that fulfilling compared to what I've done. They are fun and quick, but I'm completing them with more of a "well, what's the point?" attitude. Also, a bummer is that things in this game do not level up with you. After completing the main quest, I secured awesome armor, a kickass longsword, and a pretty dominant set of faeblades. So now, the enemies that used to take a little work to defeat are now cut down in 3-4 swipes of my sword... and if they do hit me, it barely registers on my life meter. Also the leveling up system isn't something I'm too excited about. When you are able to level up a skill, they are all things that I, personally, didn't care too much about because none of them are very difficult in the first place (exception to this-- Detect Hidden, which is awesome). Sure, you can level up alchemy or blacksmithing, but to be honest, I beat the main quest without having once made a potion or building a piece of weaponry or armor; potions, money, and pretty awesome weaponry/armor are all easily found in this game, so why spend the time during a quest making these things if I can quickly buy them? I will probably force myself to play around with this things, but at this point in time, I just don't see much of the purpose for doing so. After this, you get three points to distribute in various skills, which will add various defensive/offensive moves to your combat style. My boyfriend uses these a lot, but I didn't as much because I'm a total button-masher. But they are cool nonetheless!

I hate to compare this game to Skyrim, but it is the last thing I played, so the comparisons are inevitable (I know, I know... "it isn't meant to be like that!" I get it!). I feel like KoA is geared towards gamer comfort-- the inventory system and controls are smart and were assigned with the gamer in mind. The story is intriguing and rewarding, and I found this game to be a lot of fun. On the downside, though, it just wasn't difficult and I feel like the main quest was the only true gem. This threw me off because in Skyrim, I did everything else to delay doing the main quest. KoA's faction quests are fun, but again, it was kind of like "okay, so now what?" If developers took this game and built it on a giant scale, I would be first in line to purchase it.

Even with the several aspects of this game that I wasn't a huge fan of, I would replay this game or buy another game in this series in a heartbeat. I recommend it to anyone, but my advice is this-- stay away from the main quest for a while to truly enjoy the side quests, and slow down and enjoy the capabilities and storylines within the gameplay.
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on February 8, 2012
For those that do not know, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a new intellectual property and is the first in what is hoped to be a new line of RPG games. The game was created by 38 games/Big Huge Games and published by EA. There are quite a few properties that are out there populating the field that it wants to become part of. This game has quite an all star group that have helped to create the game and I believe it has earned its place in the gaming world. Also, for a while there, the RPG field was bare and dry especially on the XBOX and so I welcome the change to explore a new and interesting world.

Todd McFarlane, the genius behind Spawn and other adult themed comics has provided inspiration for the artwork. The storyline was written by R.A. Salvatore who has published 20+ books in the field of Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Executive Director was Ken Rolston, the lead designer of the Elder Scrolls III Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion.

The graphics on this game are beautiful and colorful. Over the past few months I have finished playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Dark Souls and it is refreshing wandering a world that is bright and colorful. It reminds me of some portions of World of Warcraft such as the Blood Elves on the Horde side. You can see Todd McFarlanes influence on the art department in the multitude of characters you encounter.

The trend for RPG's have aimed for the hybrid of Action-RPG with most falling on RPG elements and action as a second thought. This game has chosen to put Action in the forefront. The combat resembles the God of War: Collection series. When you are at a certain point, a lot of button mashing is required to score the kill and extra experience that comes from it. After the extreme difficulty of Dark Souls and continuous dying, it was nice to be able to enjoy combat that I felt I had an actual fighting chance of winning.

The game originally was going to be an online MMO. You can sense that in the way that the world is created and interactions with the characters. It feels like an online MMO in a way but without the interaction of other players. The world is a liner sandbox world. It resembles somewhat a game such as Fable: The Lost Chapters or some of the Final Fantasy X games. There is a lot to explore in the world around you, though, so there is plenty to keep you busy.

Communication is a lot like Mass Effect where you rotate to the conversation choice. You can have negative or positive communications but I have not really seen many that affect the outcome or interaction with my character too terribly much. I may find more later on.

There is pre-order download content. I received the game in the morning. Unfortunately, the codes for the DLC (mainly items to help you start off with) did not arrive via email until around midnight which made their use moot.

Overall Impression:
I am an old school RPG player ever since I received my first free copy of Final Fantasy 1/Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) with my paid subscription to Nintendo Power back in the day. The trend for RPG's has to continue to the action-RPG hybrid element which I feel it has successfully achieved. With todays world, simplicity is the key. The character creation and leveling I feel has been watered down. Not at the level that is the Fable series or other RPG's but it has been simplified. You really cannot go wrong in how you create your character and you can truly customize the character to your playing style. The bugs that were present in the demo have been cleaned up quite a bit although there are still technical issues here and there (not on the same level as the demo)

I highly recommend this game. There are simply not enough good RPG's out there even if the field seems to be filled with them. There are a lot of mediocre titles that dot the landscape in-between Elder Scroll and Final Fantasy releases. I believe this Game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a worthwhile RPG to invest ones time and energy into and is a world that truly deserves to be lost in. I wish someone would re-visit Betrayal at Krondor (Enhanced CD-ROM)
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on February 7, 2012
When Big Huge Games announced they were working on an RPG, I was both skeptical and hopeful. I knew them for their strategy titles, and while they created quality games I was dreading another slow-paced entry to the genre. Well, it looks like all my fears were for nothing. While they don't deliver anything extraordinarily ground breaking here, every element they have pulled into the game are ones I have found fun in other games. And one point I feel I have to make early on: This is nothing like Skyrim. Many people have asked me if it's like Skyrim/Oblivion, and I'm assuming this has to do with the designer being involved in the game. Really, the only thing familiar was the lockpicking, the rest of the game plays vastly differently from Skyrim and it's a good thing. So on to the key points I get asked about:


This is where Reckoning shines. The combat is slick and fun, and it's the first game I've heard touting the 'Play any style you want!' where it actually seems to work. Nothing like sneaking up, backstabbing someone, instantly throwing a fireball in the face of your next foe, and then switching to a two-hander and charging into the next group of enemies. If I had to compare the game to anything that would give you an instant idea, at first impression I felt like it was a mix of Fable and God of War. No, it's not quite as much of a slaughter fest as God of War, but the combat has that fluid, satisfying style that God of War brought to the table.


It's big. It's not a sandbox, and you will find yourself in valleys and going down paths without any clear way to get to the other side (if there even is anything on the other side), and in this regard the world reminded me more of Fable. But there is a lot to explore and do here, and I never found myself thinking 'I really wish I could climb to the top of that mountain' because there was too much to keep me busy right in front of me.


Aside from a few times where I just thought the environment music was a bit odd, the music is great and the voice acting actually surprised me. Though I've read Salvatore, I find him a bit cheesy and repetitive at times, and for some reason my brain associated that with terrible voice acting. Fear not, everyone you meet is voiced well, and while I did roll my eyes once or twice the reason I did so has been long forgotten. Also, there is a lot of voice acting here. Even NPCs who have nothing really important to do for the story have quite a bit of dialog for the purposes of lore.


The environments are gorgeous, but you know that from watching the trailers. There will be some who don't like the slightly cartoony direction that BHGs took with this, but I for one have thoroughly enjoyed it. I just got done putting in over a hundred hours with Skyrim (I know, I know, I'm running behind the rest of the pack), and I'm tired of looking at 'realistic' graphics. This was a refreshing change and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I will repeat what I've seen in other reviews because I agreed: As beautiful as the environments are, the character models are slightly lacking. They're not terrible, and probably would have done well in many other games, but in comparison to the environments they feel a bit underpolished. Given a choice between fluid combat and a fantastic looking model, though, and I'll take the combat any day. I know they had to make a choice here, and they made the right one.

I suppose it should be noted that I'm playing this on Steam, as I'm a bit once-bitten-twice-shy with Origin registration. I've seen reports of bugs and glitches, but aside from the odd texture popping up where it shouldn't maybe five times during my play, I haven't encountered anything that would bring me to a halt. Really, though, if you're not sure if you want this game, play the demo. It runs you through the tutorial portion of the game and then gives you 45 minutes to explore--and while you'll only touch the tip of the iceberg in that time, it will either save you sixty bucks if you don't like the style of the game or it will make you crave more. Personally, I'm betting on the latter.
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on May 19, 2013
I'm just gonna get right down to the point...

The Good:
- Beautiful game environment. The atmosphere and appearance of the in-game environments can be quite majestic, gloomy and overall, quite polished. Though the game is not meant to look like something like Skyrim, the animation is quite good with its WoW-esque animation.
- Gear on gear on gear. The game has a lot of different items, particularly weapons. The designs are different from each other and epic weapons in particular are very visually appealing. **Do not mistake this point for VARIETY. The game only about 9 different types of weapons; longsword, greatsword, staff, etc, but the amount of uncommon/rare/epic items for each category is appalling (in a good way).**
- Tons of quests. This one should be self-explanatory, but the game has too many side/faction quests to count.

The Bad:
- Repetitious. The combat for each class is intriguing and fun at first, but after about 15-20 hours of gameplay, it begins to feel boring and very repetitive. I've played almost all of the playing styles, and while they each have their own niche skills, they all stay very much the same throughout the entire game.
- Minor bugs. A game as large as this isn't going to be bug free so there are occasionally small bugs in the game, such as getting knocked on top of a rock and not being able to get off.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed in the game. It was fun for about a week or two, but with repetitive gameplay, I eventually could not play for more than 30 minutes without boredom setting in. With a big company such as Electronic Arts, I would've expected the game to be a little more in-depth, enthralling, and varietal. If you can find this game for under $20, buy it; it will keep you entertained for a little while.
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on March 4, 2012
What sets this game apart is very much the combat. It is fast paced which allows for multiple combo attacks in various settings with many different weapon types.

The destiny idea as far as character class is also an innovative and fun approach to an rpg. You have three prime stat's you distribute points to as you level up, Might, Finesse, and Sorcery. The talent tree's you have invested in allow you to pick what you want to be, for example a sorceror, warrior, or rogue. The cool idea is that you can spread your points to multiple tree's for example might and sorcery have their own unique classes such as Battlemage, or Paragon. Each of these classes catagories have special bonuses and extra abilities they get such as a teleport dodge - Blink.

The art is somewhat cartoonish, but it's not exactly terrible.

The largest criticism I have for Kingdoms of Amalur: Recoking would be the easily forgotten story, as well as having no real attachment to any of the game characters. I rarely do this, but I found myself skipping most conversations, they just had no real interest to me. You might ask, "How do you know what to do if you skip what is going on?" Well th eanswer is that their is quest tracking which puts a big dot on where you have to go.

This game is very similar to Oblivion and Skyrim,just with less depth, but much better combat, as well as an unexciting story.
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on February 21, 2012
About a week into the game I already find myself skipping pretty much every side quest and just sticking to the main and faction oriented lines just to get through the story. There is just way too much filler for my attention span. I love me some RPGs, and Skyrim had me busy for about two months, but everything I did in that game felt relative to building up a hero as opposed to the feeling that they just packed in as much fluff as they can just to add play time. Definitely has a low replay value after you learn that you don't have to start over to switch your play style.

The crafting options are near-nonsense. The idea behind the creation of weapons and armor I get, and can see where they wanted to go with it, but I don't think it was completely thought through. I can't remember the last time I needed to use alchemy but I can't stop myself from grabbing every plant I see. There are so many weapons dropping I don't bother to loot corpses anymore. There's so much money in my pockets (from lack of anything interesting to buy) that I don't even bother to loot chests.

The game is very engrossing and the combat is flat out fun for the first few days, but I agree with what all my friends who have been playing it .. we wish we had waited until there were cheaper used versions up for sale. Not worth the initial $60 in my opinion, and the pre-order stuff will last you your first day playing before you trash them (which unfortunately is how most new games go). When asked by others if I would recommend it I hesitated in saying yes, I'll just let them borrow mine.

The RPG development world become a lot more difficult to keep up with after games such as Fallout 3, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Skyrim, etc.
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on February 7, 2012
Okay so I've been playing for a few hours this morning and I must say that I agree with most of what Allison said in the first review on here, let me expand a few things that I was wondering about since the demo:

First off everybody's fears about how awful the demo was (technically speaking) have been resolved. There have been no freezes, no glitchy weird behavior and nothing out of the ordinary; it runs very, very smooth. Also, one other thing to note from the discussion sections: you start over, it does not save your progress from the demo--there is an option to "load" a game, but when I tried that there was nothing there for me. This may be isolated and you may want to try, but be prepared to have to start over.

There is not much to add in way of gameplay from what Allison has mentioned, so just a quick recap: The combat is fluid--very awesome. I've unlocked 3 abilities and quite a few special moves for the "might" weapons--very smooth. If you're wondering what it's like, let me say this: I hate the GOW comparison and I find it much more like Devil May Cry, switch things up and kill multiple enemies and reap huge amounts of XP for it. *As long as we're talking combat let me also mention: no dual wielding swords or hammers--I know the cover shows differently, but unless there is a change later in the game, you just can't do it. Also on gameplay, just be prepared--so far it seems like a lot of "go-fetch" missions (i.e., meet this person, bring this back, find this sword, etc).

One point to mention that Allison touched on: This is not a sandbox game, while you can do lots of things in any order you want and the loot drops are different all around, you can't just "go anywhere" the map is huge but it is quite lineal. Reminds me of Diablo II but without the changing map with each new campaign. It is huge, but there is generally one way in and one way out of most areas/situations. ***After playing for awhile now it actually reminds me more of Zelda: OOT map-wise.

So far as graphics go: you either like it or you hate. I loved Torchlight's style and have been waiting for a bigger RPG in that type of art style; KOA is the answer. It's not completely cartoonish, but it's not super-realistic like Skyrim. I think it looks a bit more polished than the demo too--this could just be my imagination, but I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far.

This is looking to suck a lot of hours into gameplay, probably 100+ if you explore everything--that being said, you can probably explore (and thanks to the destiny/fate system) experience everything it has to offer in one play through--just my opinion. In no way does this diminish the game, it still has a lot of bang for the buck.

Okay, I don't want to get too crazy detailed because I'm only a few hours in, but if you're on the fence I would say it's probably worth it to go out and get it now. **Oh, and I just went to Walmart this morning and got it--no preorder bonus--the online pass will give you some armor and there is some DLC you can buy (240 MP) that gives you different armor and weapons. You probably aren't missing out on any meaningful benefits by not having it as far as I can tell. Within 5 hours of play I now have no use for any of Big Huge Game's "day 1 DLC". I can't speak for the fate touched weapons, but my guess is they would be worthless at this point too.

With that, I would rather answer questions for now than write everything else out. So please let me know what questions you have in the comments section and I will give you my OPINION. Remember that folks, reviews are opinions, not the Gospel.
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on February 14, 2012
Let me tell you a little about myself and what I personally like and don't like in video games. I tell you this so you can make an educated decision on if your interests match up with mine. I love open world\sandbox type games like GTA, Elder Scroll series (Skyrim), Fallout 3. I also love the ability to highly customize my character. I want to see the weapons and armor I have equipped (Diablo, Skyrim). I am 40 hours into KOA. Here is my review.

Graphics 5/5

One of the main concerns in some of the articles and reviews I have read was that Amalur looked like a cartoon or that it doesn't look like Skyrim. This is simply not true and silly. Yes, the game has a different art direction than Skyrim but that's also a good thing. I just spent 130 hours on Skyrim. The last thing I want is a game that looks just like it. The world of Amalur is well crafted and beautiful. Every location has a unique look and feel. I am mean "EVERY" location. Every cave, town, dungeon, forest, etc is different. You could spend hundreds of hours just exploring every nook of Amalur. I can say that about very few other games.

Every weapon, armor, and enemy has a unique look and behaves differently. I am a sucker for unique items (Diablo 2 caused me to miss the first year of my sons life). The look of the character you build is almost infinitely customizable.

I have seen the problem where some human NPCs look cross eyed. It is an minor but unfortunate bug. That said, out of the hundreds of quest giving NPCs you speak with, I have seen it 2-3 times. It is very minor. So maybe a 4.5 out of 5 and I rounded up.

Music and sound 5/5

I have nothing to report here. I am not an audiophile. The music fits and doesn't take me out of the game. That is all I care about.

Gameplay 5/5

It is a hardcore RPG. No question about it. But it is also an action RPG. This is because of the way KOA handles fighting. It is dynamic and engaging but requires very little "twitch" skill. Kind of like a mix of Fable 3 and Gods of War but better. You are almost limitless in the kind of character you can play with 3 different classes (Mage, Warrior, Rogue), each with 35+ skills and abilities. Mix and Match however you want. I am not a Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter player. Do not worry about combos or learning moves. It becomes clear when you unlock a skill or ability.

40 hours in and I still have at least another 40-50 hours left on the first half of the map! I am guessing I am about 30% done. I estimate about 140+ of gameplay for me. This is with doing the main story but also doing some of the side and faction quests.

Insanely big world, awesome quests and story, highly customizable character, and wonderful fighting controls that you rarely see is an RPG. Buy it.

9.5 out of 10
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on April 11, 2014
I'll start this out by saying RPGs fill the majority of the games I play, but I'm still very open to other types of games, including those that are more action than RPG, like this title. I hold no bias towards this game for the company it is from, its original goal of being an mmo, or anything else.

Starting with the main component, since it is an ACTION rpg, the combat. The controls are smooth and you will rarely find yourself blaming the game for dying, but the combos for all the weapons are streamlined. I.e., holding block and attacking will always be a special attack specific to that weapon. This works though, since you can only equip two weapons at any time, combined with four spells. Certain spells can have different effects if you hold or press the button rapidly but this doesn't happen often and when it does you usually need to learn a version of that spell that only comes later down the line. The weapons come in great variety, each one related to a specific class-type (which I'll get to that more later) and all have various interesting attacks and are enjoyable to use. Spells are also here, and some of them are quite interesting. Such as "Mark of Flame," which is a cone area of effect fire spell that does no damage but will "mark" enemies, when you hold down the button all of the marked enemies explode in big balls of fire. However there are many spells and abilities that are total garbage, such as the "Summon Faer-Gorta" spell. As it implies, this will summon a minion to aid you in combat, but this minion is useless as anything but a distraction so you only have to fight 3 of the annoying mages at once instead of four. At level 20 or so, I was doing 150s every hit while the fully-upgraded minion was only doing about 30. Spells and abilities are often a hit-and-miss affair, and I would advise saving before getting a new one so you can load back in case you don't like it. The method that you stop from getting killed revolves around spamming the dodge button or blocking or parrying, not a lot of variety here but it works well enough.

There is also a rather shameful stealth mechanic. You activate it and your character will crouch down and eyes that represent how visible you are will pop up over all the NPCs. The eye will build up if you are too close to them and pretty much interesting if you're anywhere in front of them. Using daggers (because all other weapons are useless to use in stealth) when you sneak up on an enemy you can execute them, which will play a rather lengthy canned animation if you flat out killed them. Which you almost always will, since with daggers you do basically 10x your normal damage. The problem is that not all enemies have an execution animation specific to them, so it instead uses a slow two-attack animation that will almost always miss or the first hit will knock the enemy back too far for the second one to hit. The real problem with stealth comes from the enemy AI. Certain enemies will just know where you are, even if it's indicated by the stealth meter above their head that they haven't seen you at all. They will just walk towards you no matter where you go. I tested this with a troll and hiding behind a large rock. The troll would always follow me around the rock, and even instantly change directions if I went too close behind him. This, coupled with the fact that a great deal of the areas are not built with a stealthy alternative in mind makes trying to be an assassin unbelievably frustrating.

Finally, you have a limit-break type of attack in the form of "Reckoning Mode." Reckoning Mode runs off your Fate Meter, which builds up (slowly) as you defeat enemies. When you trigger Reckoning Mode, time slows and your enemies become sluggish lambs to the slaughter you are about to unleash. Your damage is tripled in Reckoning mode, however, enemies don't die when they run out of health, they become stunned. When an enemy is stunned, you can perform a finishing move on them which involves one of a set of flashy canned animations specific to that creature and mashing a button to gain extra exp up to +100%. If multiple enemies are in this stunned state, it will finish all of them at once and gain extra exp from all of them. However using a finishing move will use up the remainder of your fate meter and if you do not use it before your fate runs out on its own, all stunned enemies will be healed back to full.

However this great deal of different spells and attacks you can pull off are the polar opposite of the enemies you face - which are often the exact same as the ones over and over but with only more of them. Even at the end of the game you will be fighting the same boggarts from level 2, but in greater numbers which is more annoying than fun. They didn't even bother to re-skin them. The difficulty as the game goes on doesn't come from more challenging and unique enemies, it comes from copy/pasting more and more the annoying ones into a small space, and making them practically immune to stuns or knockbacks where you will still be knocked back by EVERYTHING.

Overall, the combat certainly can be enjoyable, as you can throw lightning at something and then cleave it apart with a sword bigger than you are, but you will likely be bored by the copy/paste enemies, frustrated by their cheap tactics, and annoyed at the fact that half of your abilities are useless.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning follows the "get exp, level up" formula that most RPGs do, however they way you level up is different. You don't choose a class, instead when you level you get 3 points to spend in one of three trees. Sorcery, which is for mages and spell-slingers. Might, which is for warriors who want to smash things and not die. And Finesse, which is for rogues and archers. You can spend your three points in any way you want, put them all in one or spread them between two or three of the trees. You can choose a fate card depending on where your points have gone though, these cards will give you bonuses depending on which one you pick, like extra melee damage for Might or more mana regen for Sorcery. Fate cards come in seven forms and six tiers for each, 3 for the "pure" routes of putting all your points into one tree, 3 for the hybrids between any two of the trees, and one for putting points into each tree. Not all fate cards are created equal, for instance the Might/Sorcery cards are more for someone who is mostly doing warrior with a bit of mage on the side, opting for having increased melee damage with giving you mana by a percentage of how much damage you take and throwing out the regen bonus of the pure magic cards. You can at least change your fate card whenever you want though, which is nice.

Equipping weapons depends on level, while equipping armor depends on your points. You might jsut need level 10 for a sword but need 55 points in Might to wear metal.

You also get to increase a skill when you level, which ranges from crafting skills to things like merchantile which reduces buying prices in shops or persuade which will give you more dialogue options at certain times.

The world itself is based largely on what I think is Irish lore, including things such as Fae, the Tuatha De'Ohn, and some other myths. This and the twist of fantasy with elves and magic makes for an interesting and rather rich world, but a lot of things are not explained in detail which will frustrate some. The story is well written and interesting, but lacks character depth. While the concept of you being the only person in the world not bound by fate is very interesting, it's just not supported enough by other characters and the actual storyline while still somehow being the main focus. You almost never make your own decisions in the game, despite being totally unbound by fate. You're almost always doing what everyone else is telling you to do. Don't let the UI from the conversations fool you - this isn't Mass Effect, most quests are just "go find this, kill that, then leave."

The side quests can be interesting though, but you won't get to do them all. Not because the door is locked behind you when you leave an area, it's because the side quests DO NOT SCALE TO YOUR LEVEL IN ANY FORM, this exception being the faction quest lines. This results in quests that you get nothing for, essentially. Not enough exp to do anything with and the items you will be vastly over-levelled for before you even get halfway through the game.

Easily the best part of the game. The art direction is colorful and inspired, ranging from lush forests to sandy deserts and cliffs. This is not your average "BROWN IS THE ONLY COLOR TO EXIST" game, if I had one gripe it would be that there's almost too much green in the color palette, causing some places to look more similar than they should. Caves and dungeons are unique and well designed, if a bit linear. Even the creatures, while repetitive, are at least well made. This is the kind of game that needs an art book.

Crafting is actually pretty good, and different from most games. Mainly blacksmithing, which lets you salvage parts that hold the stats from equipment you don't want so you can use them to make something else. Each item has the base component, for swords it would be the blade, and then other smaller components that will give it extra stats. Like a hilt that will give poison damage, or rivets that will increase your maximum health and mana. You can also name your items after you make them, so it's fun to name your fist sword "The Pointy Avenger" or a staff "The Stick of Truth."

There is also fast travelling in this game, but otherwise you have to run everywhere.

A decent title, and probably worth getting if it goes on sale. If you're someone who enjoys a hardcore and fleshed out RPG experience, I would advise you to stay away though. The lackluster gameplay and story will likely put you off. But if you're looking for something to just screw around on for awhile then you might like this, just put it on easy to save yourself the headache of the spamming and stunlocking of the more annoying enemies.
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on February 9, 2012
I love RPGs, I cut my teeth on Ultima III and eagerly await new offerings. I am have been following this title due to my love of RPGs and the fact that the RI economic development corp threw a ton of money at 38 Studios to get them to move their HQ to RI.

About the game itself:

Open World ---
It is not on the scale of Skyrim, but it doesn't lock you in Levels or Areas the way Fable, Dark Souls or Dragon Age does. You have the freedom to explore areas, follow the quests you want to and build your character's strengths the way you want to.

Story ---
I do not have gaming ADHD, I enjoy listening to and reading the dialog of NPC interactions. What strikes me about KoA:R is that the NPCs have personality and each little task has a flushed out vignette even the typical fed-ex quests are entertaining.

Gameplay ---
I am enjoying the combat and the ease of going from ranged, melee and magical abilities. My biggest complaint about Skyrim was how even the favorite menu was abit clumsy in the middle of a tough battle, so the mechanics here appear smooth and straight forward.
The crafting has some neat processes, I am not too deep into that yet. Though the sagecraft reminds me of the socketing from Diablo II.

Graphics ---
When WoW first came out I hated the graphics, it was too cartoony for me. But over the course of time it grew on me and I found that I really liked it. KoA:R struck me the same way, in fact my first comment to my wife was "This reminds me of WoW!" It is not like Skyrim, Dragon Age or Dark Souls and it doesn't mean that the environments are not lush with detail, that detail is just stylized and I am finding that I really like it.

Bugs ---
The demo was not good, it was buggy and at times unplayable. The game itself is not like that. I have not come across any bugs what-so-ever. Frame rates are smooth, controls responsive and even graphical tearing has not shown up for me.

Originality ---
There is not a lot of new things under the sun and I do not expect games to reinvent the wheel. It is clear that KoA:R has borrowed from other sources (WoW, Dragon Age, Diablo, Oblivion), but it is not entirely like the source. The world building is fresh and interesting; while being familiar enough to not have the player feel out of their element.

Overall ---
KoA:R is a fun game, not ground breaking, not a second-coming but a fun game none-the-less. I look forward to spending more time with it.

For 38 Studio's first release and Big Huge Game's first RPG, I would say it is a sign of good things to come.
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