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Discussion The Patient Gamer - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Get Your Dollar's Worth

GodisanAtheist

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Nov 16, 2006
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So I finally finished Kingdoms of Amalur. Prompted by the release of the remaster "Rereckoning", I started playing in January. I have beaten 5 other games on the side while trying to make my way to the end of this game. It isn't even the longest single playthrough I've clocked in a game, with Skyrim somehow coming out to 90 hours and KoA clocking in at 75, but it somehow felt so much longer than it really was. At the end of this epic journey, I am a little torn. The game is so close to greatness in its genre mash-up open world style, but still so frustratingly far away.

The Tuatha are at war with the people of Amalur. A sect of a race of immortals known as Fae, the Tuatha have been leading a crusade against mortal-kind and others of their kind, lead by a Fae known as Gadflow. The mortal races have held their own for decades, but while the mortals losses are irreplaceable, the Tuatha simply resurrect their forces and begin the war anew. In a desperate attempt to reverse the inevitable tide of the war, a gnome works to replicate Fae immortality but is met with only failure until you defy fate and rise from the dead.

KoA could best be described as a sort of weird fusion between World of Warcraft (Art Style), Skyrim (Persistent Open World, numerous skill systems), Darksiders (Combat), and an ARPG like Torchlight (Paperdoll Loot System, all quests available for all builds). On the whole these different elements fuse together quite nicely and make KoA really feel like its own thing.

The game also has an excellent classless (or more like Class-Fluid) RPG system that deftly balances its three Warrior/Mage/Rogue archetypes to allow players to go all in on one class, create hybrid classes or even go full universalist (my personal favorite). Depending on the number of points you have in any of the three skill trees, you unlock "fates" which are basically class specializations that provide bonuses depending on your point distribution among the three trees. For example, put points into Warrior and Mage and unlock the "Battlemage" specialization, put points across the Warrior/Mage/Rogue trees equally and unlock the "Polymath" fate. So on and so on.

This makes for extremely entertaining arcade/actiony gameplay that is fast and fun and really lets you spec out your character as you see fit. Light armor and daggers for sneak attacks, supplemented by berserker rage when things go south? Sure. Want to do a sword and board paladin that does the parry/strike thing with healing potential? Sure. You want to go all out mage and have access to the beefiest spells in the game? Sure.

Of course, to supplement this system are your standard assortment of skills: smithing, Gem crafting, Alchemy, stealth, etc...

The downside of such a broad system is, as you might have guessed, the game is absurdly easy as it wants to encourage diverse builds and as such never really puts anything in your way that makes any permutation of your build non-viable. Enemies die quick, no quests are gated behind skills or ability or speech checks, and if you ever go down the blacksmith and crafting paths, you're character will quickly outgrow enemies even several levels above you.

The game also lacks some of Skyrim's emergent gameplay. Yes, there are a lot of game systems at work, people have wake/sleep cycles, etc, but its all superficial, none of these systems interact with each other to create weird/novel occurrences that add to the charm of the game. There is no "use poison on apple, wait till victim eats it an dies" sort of stuff here.

Lastly, the game starts out fast with a host of options and paths to take your PC down but then bogs down significantly in the middle portion of the game as you're reasonably invested in a build and the game sort of runs out of new things to show you and the gameplay loop starts to get stale. The back end of the game gets interesting on account of the story really picking up pace, two fun boss fights to really shake things up, and way more interactions with the antagonist and more "grey" factions. Its unfortunate that by that point most players will be 40-50 hours into the game and ready to just beeline it to the ending.

When all is said and done, I did enjoy my time with Kingdoms of Amalur. The game is easy on the eyes, fun and fast paced, has excellent production values in its narrative, story, and the voice acting is superb. Its just too much. I would have much four 20 hour playthroughs, than one monster 80 hour playthrough and maybe some day developers will cater to an audience like me.

Given the remaster was launched and the property was purchased by THQ, i hope there is some sort of sequel in the planning stages out there. With some refinement, KoA can have it all. All the elements are there for true greatness, they just need to gel together a bit more.
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
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Aug 22, 2001
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The OG had/has? a cult following. R.A. Salvatore worked on it, so if they like his writing, it should appeal to them. I thought about picking it up, but never did. Might give it a go when the price is right, thanks for the recommendation.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
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The OG had/has? a cult following. R.A. Salvatore worked on it, so if they like his writing, it should appeal to them. I thought about picking it up, but never did. Might give it a go when the price is right, thanks for the recommendation.
-Thanks. Although I played through the OG edition I've read that the remaster does add some very nice QOL features. Pick it up on a steam sale for $10 or less and it'll be nearly impossible to be disappointed with the game.

I really enjoyed the core narrative of the game regarding immortality and cycles (as well as breaking them) and the overall calibur of writing in the game is definitely a notch above your standard ARPG or Bethesda fair. It definitely felt more like an Oblivion or old Bioware game in the narrative department.

The most aggravating thing about the game is that you can practically see behind the curtain where the dev hit a budget wall and decided to draw a line and call it a wrap. Where they worked in a Sprint or stretch goal and left a system just shy of excellence or so underdeveloped that you wonder why they even bothered including it.

I totally understand the cultiness this game can engender, it's a great world, solid gameplay, and has just enough gaps and rough edges for the mind and heart to pine for more.
 
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Stg-Flame

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Mar 10, 2007
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THQ Nordic is becoming a powerhouse and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see a proper KoA sequel. I'd love to actually finish this game, but I dumped probably 30 hours on the PS3 version and got burnt out by the slog. I might look into the remaster if it adds enough to make it feel unique again.
 
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