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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning The Official Guide
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning The Official Guide
by Future Press
Edition: Hardcover
59 used & new from $23.92

87 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An encyclopedia for a game that needs one, February 24, 2012
The guide for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is as good as could be hoped for. My most recent game guide purchase was of the Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Collector's Edition and I frankly didn't expect this guide to be anywhere near that one in quality. I am happy to report I was wrong. While the actual game is of an entirely different calibur than Skyrim (and hard put to compare to it) its game guide can proudly give that guide a run for its money.
The guide for Reckoning refers to itself as "an encyclopedia" in the introduction and that is what you feel like you're holding. It is very weighty with exactly 600 full-color, glossy pages and contains almost everything you could want in its solid hard cover. The cover art is decent as far as artwork goes, but the image is not wrap-around, the side biding is all but blank and the back cover is a solid, featureless black. I may have been spoiled by other guides having full cover artwork, ribbon bookmarks, and light-weight paper and therefore be less impressed with this book's appearance and feel but it is still head-and-shoulders above the average game guide and can proudly sit on the shelf with other "elite" guides.
The content of the guide is very impressive and covers just about every base. A full 100 pages are devoted to getting an understanding of the classes and an equal amount of time is devoted to illustrated explanations of both the gear and the enemies. The things you're going to automatically want are here - detailed maps with key items (lorestones) you need to find, in-depth quest and dungeon walkthroughs (including combat strategies for every class for each important fight), and charts for crafting or shop inventories. I am very obsessive in my gaming tendencies and these sections all satisfy me fully.
I have to highlight my two favorite aspects of this guide: the extensive lore section and the fantastic tips given for achievement hunters. The end of the book truly takes on the feel of an encylcopedia as it goes into minute detail for a good 25 pages on the history and general lore of the races, lands, and events that make up Amalur. This section is very interesting and takes itself so seriously with timelines, geographies and racial histories that it is obvious the creators of this book believe this will be an IP that will grow and be around for some time. That section is also filled with a lot of beautiful artwork and concept art sketches. The book also contains the most helpful and extensive "trophies/achievements" section I've ever seen in a guide. It sets a new standard (for me) for the amount of attention this category deserves. I think that the type of player that would invest in an actual guide as opposed to just using the internet is usually interested in all completionist aspects - including getting every achievement. This guide devotes nearly ten entire pages to the achievements and how/when to best obtain them. It also gives frequent and helpful advice in the walkthrough and map sections whenever a chance to gain an achievement occurs.
Although it has many pros, no book is ever perfect. Aside from the compulsory typos contained in every game guide, the biggest shortcoming (which the authors briefly address in the opening pages) is the absence of unique loot locations or drop tables. The authors cite this as an inherent flaw in a system which is "far too complex" and a game that is "too big" but I find it disappointing that no attempt at anything, however rough, was included at all. Even in a huge game like Skyrim you at least get sample loot tables in the bestiary and an effort to chart the game's unique items but apparently in this game (despite trends I've already noticed) you can never know what to expect from the lowliest mob to the final boss. Whether or not you'll complete that unique armor set you've been collecting is entirely up to chance.
Despite flaws, it's a great guide and if you're interested in following the up-and-coming Kingdom of Amalur universe this is a must have.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 28, 2012 2:59 PM PDT

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Official Game Guide
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Official Game Guide
by David S. J. Hodgson
Edition: Hardcover
42 used & new from $14.20

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best guide ever made, period., January 9, 2012
After buying this guide and spending a week with it I feel compelled to write my first ever review for a product. I have never before seen a video game guide so beautiful and comprehensive. When I saw it at the store I was skeptical about shelling out even more money for a book when the internet is such a reliable source when you're stuck or looking for the minutia that completionists (like myself) adore. I could not be happier that I gave in and purchased it.
To start with, I have to describe the peerless physical quality of this tome. I tear through guides when I do decide to get them and they often fall apart at the binding, lose pages, and become dog-eared from constant referencing. This book will never fall into that rut. Staggering at nearly 700 pages, it is hard-bound in an exquisitely beautiful cover that can stand with pride on any bookshelf, next to any hardcover book, or as the centerpiece of any coffee table. The artwork and quality draw the eye and entice gamers and non-gamers alike to pick it up and start flipping through it. When I brought it home, my non-gamer wife and three oldest children all wanted to take turns looking through it before they even knew what it was. My wife read it for over fifteen minutes and she has no interest in the game whatsoever! The book is as impressive and sturdy as any college textbook I've ever owned (if not more so) and is also made with a light-weight paper that makes it deceptively light to carry (although with such a high page count, it's still not something you'll read much with one hand). The icing on this already delicious cake is something I have absolutely never encountered or expected in a strategy guide - not one, but two ribbon bookmarks attached into the binding (similar to those in large Bibles). I have made extensive use of these and the convenience and life they add to the book is hard to appropriately measure. I cannot heap enough praise on this guide for quality alone and I guaranty you have never seen a video game book of its like.
Within, the guide maintains the high level quality throughout. The layout is user-friendly and nearly all-inclusive of the massive amount of variety this game offers. The sections are clear and concise and, far from having glaring omissions, are as complete as could be hoped for. One fears that certain items of low importance (the statistics on buckets or dinnerware, for instance) will be overlooked in order to focus on "more important" areas - but for naught! Even these details are meticulously charted in sections all their own. The tables, quest walkthroughs, maps, strategies, lore - it is all here and more. The only complaint I can manage to direct goes to Prima's editing staff - the book is riddled with typos. This is an extremely small issue as they absolutely never interfere with page references, never ruin or make unusable any information, and in light of the millions of words and figures herein, are so easy to overlook that I doubt most readers will even notice. I have also NEVER read a strategy guide that did not have this flaw, and as such is more a criticism of the process of bringing these guides to press than a criticism of this particular guide. (I am also particularly attentive to this sort of detail as an English Major with an OCD-like compulsion to comb every chart and table I read.)
I recommend this guide with more confidence than I have ever recommended a product before. If you are serious about the game, this guide (and the included access to the online map site) is a near essential purchase. If you are serious about strategy guides or consider yourself a connoisseur of video game books in general, I would recommend this to you even if you don't own the game - it is very seriously that impressive! You will not be disappointed.

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