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on March 22, 2017
Now, I expect to be jumped on for this, but this is my favorite Fantasy RPG to date. I absolutely loved it. The combat was perfect. No glitchy hack continuously or throw the same spell over and over like the Elder Scrolls games. The hotkey system isn't the main form of combat as it is in Dragon Age Origins. All the combat is smooth and flowing. You get two primary weapons that you can use different combo moves with, and you also have a side hotkey system for your abilities.

I really enjoy the leveling up system and how you can integrate two of the combat types together very fluidly. I played focusing on Finesse and Sorcery, and it was a blast to go back and forth between the abilities of the two separate types.

The main plot line is great, the main side quests are good, and the random side quests are okay for the most part. This is a common theme in any RPG though. I haven't played one to date where I loved all the side quests. There's just only so many ideas you can come up with for players to do.

The main fault of this game is probably a bigger fault for a lot of RPG players than myself. Is that there really is no decision making system. It seems like there is, but your decisions really don't make any difference whatsoever. It's no Fable, that's for sure. Also, there's no romance aspect to the game. Again, not something I care about, but it may bother some people.

I'll most likely be playing this again in the near future.
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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.

GAMEPLAY:
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.

PROGRESSION:
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.

STORY & SIDE QUESTS:
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.

VISUALS:
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 AND EVERYTHING ELSE:
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.

Conclusion:
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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VINE VOICEon August 14, 2014
After several years of debating whether to obtain Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, I finally purchased the game and have to say it has not been a disappointment. The main quest lines maybe account for a quarter of the gameplay. While fun, where the game shines is in the amount of side quests and tasks. Some can be annoying as you're basically running back and forth around the same area talking to characters or engaging in brief fights. Others are more involved and actually affect your stats. The world is pretty vast and there is a lot to do. Amalur looks pretty when you're doing it too.

Other than one brief glitch on my first playthrough that was easily fixed with a reload, the graphics and gameplay was pretty smooth. The learning curve of the game isn't such that you'll feel overwhelmed by it, though I do feel that increasing the difficulty was surprisingly not as challenging as expected at times. The game seems to generate enemy difficulty based on your character's level rather than a set level throughout. This is good and bad as sometimes it's almost too easy to get through sections even with the difficulty settings on Hard.

I think what I like most about KoA: Reckoning is the fact that I can play it by myself and not have to worry about achievements relying on other people. While there is the option for obtaining things online, there is enough to do in the game and to obtain without needing extra content. It comes packed with so much already that in a time of online shared experience, it excels at not having all the DLC options. Fun game that sometimes feels repetitive but really manages to be a great single player RPG in the end.
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on March 5, 2015
I am ten hours into this game so far and I am immensely enjoying myself. It has the feel of three games that I greatly enjoy meshed into one:

Game play - this plays a lot like the original Fable. Feels very similar and has a control scheme not too far off. If you enjoyed Fable's game play style, you will enjoy Amalur's as well.

Loot - yes, this game has looting. And a lot of it. It really reminds me of Diablo's (all three at this point) loot fest. If you enjoy loot-grinding, you will enjoy this aspect.

Quests - the huge number of extra side quests greatly reminds me of the Elder Scroll's games. I've been playing for ten hours and have barely touched the main story line! It's just fun, I don't feel the need or desire to press through and finish.

Overall, you can tell that there were some issues during development (long story - read up on the production studio's history if you are curious) - a glitch here and there; camera control is a little touchy; the game is beautiful as long as you don't look to closely at the character's heads; etc. But none of that has detracted from my enjoyment of the game.

If you enjoy expansive stories, RPG's, and third person action games you'll enjoy Kingdoms of Amalur.
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on November 23, 2016
Just wanted to add my 2 cents. This is an awesome open world RPG that never got the recognition it deserved, as the developer closed down shortly after it was released. Like a really fun mashup of colorful Fable style and combat and Skyrim open world.
There are bugs that were never addressed as the devs were shut down so suddenly (do not take on too many quests, only those you are immediately pursuing--that's the biggest tip I can give for avoiding a major issue). And the combat is a bit on the easy side on normal. But overall this game has a lot of personality and is just plain fun.
I only wish the source code was released and maybe someone could do an unofficial patch or mods for PC at least. I somehow doubt an HD remaster for current consoles will ever happen--but I'd get it in an instant.
As to the DLC: I'd say only buy if you really want more Amalur. The 2 major DLCs are new lands/quests that are well done, but completely separate from the main story--and doing those quests before you complete the main game can greatly overpower your character.
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VINE VOICEon January 10, 2014
I bought this fairly recently, even though it has been out a while. I love fantasy RPGs where you get to play a female character (you can also choose to be male). I could make this an incredibly in-depth review, but nobody wants to read a review that is as long as a book, so I will try to keep it as short as possible.

In my opinion, the game is a mix between Fable and The Elder Scrolls. I really love how many choices you get in this game and how complicated and intricate everything is. The world is huge, there are countless weapons and armor, and they aren't all rusty longswords either. The weapons I find in random treasure boxes while exploring are actually interesting and fun to use. I like that there are so many different types of weapons. I usually stick with one or two main weapons and switch between them, but the weapons in this game make it so hard to choose! My favorite are the Faeblades, but the daggers, great sword, staffs, etc. are all so much fun to use, too, especially with their different enchantments. Always pay attention to the enchantments before selling ones you don't want. Sometimes they will add an extra point to your Finesse, Stealth, Persuasion, etc., which can be really useful to have on you when you really need a boost in those skills.

I love how streamlined everything is. Usually, "streamlined" means "dumbed down," but the Reckoning is an exception. I absolutely LOVE how you can easily add things you want to sell to Junk, so when you find a merchant, you just click Y, and everything is sold. You don't have to painstakingly go through your inventory, and it keeps your inventory from getting really cluttered. I also LOOOOVE that when you save your game, you don't have to sit there, staring at the menu, waiting for the circle to stop moving, so you can get back to your game. All you have to do is click save, exit out of the menu, and start playing, and it will still save. I am an obsessive saver and very impatient, so this was a huge plus to me. I also liked how there was not a cap on how much money a merchant had, so you could sell anything you needed to one person and not have to travel around to three different people (I'm looking at you, Skyrim). There are many other little things the game developers thought of that just make playing the game easier, but I'm blanking on the rest right now.

I also love the stories and quests. Everybody loves the Elder Scrolls games, but can we just admit the quests that involve walking through caves that seemingly never end can get a bit tedious? I really like that the caves in this game tend to be pretty small, so you aren't in there for hour after hour, fighting the same bears and rats over and over again. The quests and characters are really creative, and the stories and histories had a lot of depth. The game really draws you in. The characters had a lot of personality. Some are really funny, some are weird, and some are helpful and nice. They just really came across as separate individuals, many with their own back stories. The quests are fun and creative, and most importantly of all, RARELY BORING! It's like living in a fantasy novel. I can tell R.A. Salvatore worked on this. I had so much fun playing the House of Valor. It's like the Arena in Oblivion, but with more intrigue and a better story. You can get the code for this automatically if you buy the game new.

The fate-weaving, destiny, and level-up systems were pretty complicated to me at first, but in a good way. Most games now try to appeal to casual gamers and make things easy and less complex and utilize way too many cut-scenes. While I probably can't claim to be a hardcore gamer, I do like a challenge and some complexity. I liked how hard it was to dispel chests at a low to med level, how hard it is to find all the lodestones, how much harder it is to sneak than in the Elder Scrolls games, and how I kept dying at the beginning, so much so that an insulting message popped up, assuring me that it's okay to change my difficulty level to Novice (no thanks). I absolutely loved how hard it is to make money and save up enough to buy really expensive things. This is not a game where you amass so much wealth, you could buy a country. You have to work for it while you lust after high-damage weapons with cool magical properties until you have enough money. This is much better than immediate gratification. Just one cool weapon or one piece of armor can cost half a million dollars, which is pretty hard to save up to.

The combat system is fun and creative. You have to time certain moves right, and you can plan out creative attacks, using magic, arrows, and spells, giving you more XP points. I'm on level 25 now, and I still die sometimes because the game remains challenging.

Some tips:
Do some research before you really start playing, so you don't screw up. Skills that are useful to level up, especially at the beginning of the game, are Detect Hidden and Persuasion. You'll miss out on some cool stuff without these skills. Dispelling is also something I wish I had leveled up at the beginning because I totally sucked at dispelling chests and kept getting cursed from failing at it. Curses are expensive to remove... If you find yourself with one and you saved before you tried to dispel the chest, then just restart at your last saved point, even if that means you don't get whats in the chest. It most likely won't be worth more than the cost to get the curse removed. Also, read about how they level enemies. Here is a link that might be useful: [...]

This discouraged me from exploring really far at the beginning of the game: "The exact level of the enemies you face in each area is locked as soon as you first step foot into that area. Whenever possible, this 'level lock' will be identical to whatever level you are. However, if you're either below the minimum value, or above the maximum value, the level will lock at those minimum/maximum values." I did not want to lock enemies down to level 3 everywhere just because I felt like exploring all the way to Rathir or somewhere far away. It's just something to keep in mind.

This review has gone on way too long, so I'll wrap up. It's a really, really fun, addictive game, and I have spent an embarrassing amount of time playing it, forgoing sleep and responsibilities. I would definitely recommend!
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on January 28, 2014
This is a wonderful game. It is a shame the developer went out of business as it is a great first showing from them.

The design was headed by the man who made Morrowind and Oblivion, Ken Rolston. It was art directed by Todd McFarlane and written by R.A. Salvatore.

What stands out more than anything are two features, combat and skill trees. Combat is absolutely FUN. It doesn't matter what skill you use from hammers to magic, daggers to chakrams, the combat is a blast. It isn't the hardest combat, but it "feels" powerful and this game also has THE BEST kill moves of any game I have ever seen.

The skill trees are the other standout. One can make whichever class they want or any combo in-between and the skill system still rewards it. This game was made to try out many different things or go deep. It doesn't matter. Do what YOU want. I have never seen a game so reward trying new things.

In the end, I love it. I have played it through twice on the PC version. Both times it was a fun time.

Negatives are few, but the sheer number of side quests can be daunting and time consuming. If you insist upon doing "everything" the game will take a long time (over 200 hours easy) and the quests can get boring, but ... I suppose that would be true in real life as well. There are quests now and again that are quite amazing and fun too so it's not all bad. If one skips a few side quests I can see where excitement would be kept up much better.

Also, the game tends to be stable on both PC and XBox. On PC I can think of perhaps 2 crashes in over 500 hours. Not bad.
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on April 24, 2013
Kingdoms of Amalur is going to feel very familiar to Fable fans, but it's better than Fable on the gameplay and depth front. Essentially, it's what Fable should have been. The combat is solid and intense, and the fact that you can build your character along three main paths (or any combination of the three): Strength (warrior), Magic (mage), and Finesse (think assassin or rogue), and you have a recipe for deep combat. The game's lore is in depth as well, and is chock full of quests to complete. Character customization is easy, perhaps a bit shallow for players coming from the MMORPG genre, but good nonetheless. Menu navigation is simple and organized, and the availablility of tools for your character to use runs like a typical RPG (which is a good thing).

It's no Skyrim, but it's a fun 3rd-Person RPG that Fable fans will find very gun. If you're not a Fable fan however, perhaps you should do a little more research before a purchase.
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on May 10, 2014
The dialogue and happenings in faction and main quests were solid if sometimes cheesy, but the combat is lackluster. If they had gone all out on rhythm based combat and movement it would have been better. Its something to do with the way your character moves and attacks that just didnt get me excited about fighting the next group of enemies. Kind of a chore you know. I was all into this game at first though. The beginning sequence and setup of the plot was cool. The House of Ballads was awesome and I loved the Fae as a race. But after I met Nalentarth I think (the tree) I went to Ysa their city and was immediately overwhelmed by boredom. Anyhoo I dont know If I will be able to get into this game again what with my time not being infinite.
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on October 28, 2013
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a great RPG for those loving the genre. This game plays very similar to World of Warcraft during character creation and general gameplay, but is distinctly different. The controls are identical to the Fable series of games and the game world feels very similar to Fable 2. Newcomers to action RPG's would have no trouble picking this game up and starting immediately. The graphics are great, but I have seen one or two glitches that did not affect gameplay. The sound is excellent and players will not be disappointed in the background music.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning starts off in a very similar manner as Oblivion and World of Warcraft. Character creation gives you the choice between four different races, male and female, about 10 different faces, 10 different skin tones, tattoos, facial jewlery and hair and eye combinations. Everything except your race and your sex can be changed later. While choosing a race is very important for your individual gameplay, it has almost no bearing on the game itself. Characters will react differently to you depending on your race, but there are no additional features unlocked for choosing one over the others.

Upon leveling, a character gets one point to put into skills and three points to put into talents. Skill points are distributed in a similar manner to Oblivion. You'll have a choice between nine skills like detect hidden and lockpicking to improve. There are skill books and trainers that can help you increase these skills as you find them in the game. Caution: Trainers can only be used once and each trainer has a range of levels 0-3, 4-6 or 7-9 where they can help you improve. Talents are distributed in a manner similar to WOW. There are three talent trees and players can choose where you put their points in order to receive bonuses and additional abilities. You can reset your skills at any time by visiting a fateweaver, so you don't have to make multiple characters in order to play all of the classes.

Overall, I give this game a 5. The game is extremely fun to play, the price is good and there are over 100 hours of quests to be had. My character got stuck in the game once and other than that everything ran smoothly. KOA is user friendly, easy to pick up, and easy for new players to get the hang of. I would recommend it to a friend.
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