I started playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning early one evening, and from what I could tell it wasn’t much more than a simplified version of Fable or other games in that genre. I even scoffed at an early encounter with an NPC called Zelda (at least they acknowledge their sources). Then suddenly it was midnight and I realised that I wanted to keep playing.
Part of the allure of KOA:R is the massive world you are put into, full of interconnected lands, each with their own atmosphere. Webwood is dark and full of giant spiders while Alserund is a desert with red buttes and Tala-Rane is the remains of an ancient city. Some of the lands are even friendly, filled with very few bad guys.
Your character has been brought back from the dead and has to change the fate of the world and depose an evil tyrant, which is all pretty basic fantasy RPG stuff. You collect XP and build your character’s skills through a normal skill-tree format with specialisations in might, finesse, and sorcery. You also have fate cards that you can continually change every time you level up. These give you bonuses, like mana regeneration or damage deflection.
What’s cool is, if you throw points into another skill set – for example, I went with might and finesse – your character gets hybrid classes with hybrid bonuses, so you can be a powerful wizard that also sneaks up behind people to knife them.
You pick up missions everywhere, and there are many of them. On the way to complete a mission you will encounter at least another two side missions, and the bigger missions (especially the ones you do for the factions you join) continue after the primary goal is achieved. I have to admit, though, I groaned upon receiving yet another ‘collect 5 items from around this area’ quest.
The conversation tools let the game down too. It’s hard not to compare it to the Mass Effect system as the responses are laid out on a wheel and there are clearly ‘good’ and ‘evil’ answers. The difference with KOA:R is that the different responses don’t do anything to your character (you don’t become more evil or more good, nor does your appearance change). They just exist without any reaction. You may as well just hit X to skip through them and go back to slaughtering bad guys.
All in all, though, KOA:R is a really good game that I truly enjoyed playing, despite its foibles.
Lasting appeal: 8
Played on PS3, also available on Xbox 360 & PC.