Background: 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.
Graphics: 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.
Combat: 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.
World: 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.
Other: 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)