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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC
Big Huge Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

view user comments (4)
User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

The world of Amalur is a large one, and there's plenty to do throughout its sprawling fields, mountains and dungeons -- but the whole thing feels remarkably bland and run of the mill more often than not.

Gameplay: 5

You can't blame EA and Big Huge Games for lack of ambition, there's a ton to do in Reckoning, but the catch is that it all seems so generic. These are the same fetch and kill quests that you've done a million times before. At least the combat system is stellar.

Lasting Appeal:

Much like Skyrim before it, Reckoning is packed with content. From quests to collectibles to a few carefully hidden secrets, but you'll often feel like there's not much thought put into a good portion of them.

Overall: 6
You're going to want to love Kingdoms of Amalur -- and to an extent you will; there are moments where you'll scream of its brilliance from the rooftops, but more often than not, you're bound to wonder -- what else is there?
CHEATfactor: 6

I've got a bit of a confession -- I don't worship at the altar of Skyrim. Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate the amount of work that went into it, and sheer craftsmanship that it must have taken to make the kingdom of Skyrim so realistic -- I just find myself getting bored very quickly. Maybe it's the combat, maybe it's just my taste in games.

It's interesting then that with Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning, it's the exact opposite. Thanks to an impressive combat system that would be at home in any pure action game, I searched out combat and found myself caring about the progression of my character, but I couldn't bring myself to care about the world around me. Is it big? Sure. Interesting? Not at all.

Kingdoms of Amalur starts off with an impressive enough premise -- you're dead. Well, you were dead, before a device called The Well of Souls resurrected you into a nameless, fateless being. The key here is that since you have no fate, you're pretty much free to do whatever you want -- be a hero, be a jerk, fight for justice, rob's all up to you. In essence, you're rewriting the destiny of Amalur with your choices.

"... more often than not it's your typical RPG fodder."


At least you should be. Reckoning puts a lot of stock in the idea of just how important your choices really are, but more often than not that's all it is -- an idea. Playing through a number of Amalur's quests, I did see a bit of change depending on what I did, but it never seemed like the game changing, back of the box bullet point that the game made it out to be. To put it into perspective, with Skyrim, I always felt like I was a driving force in the outcome of the game's events, but in Amalur, I merely felt like I was an active participant.

That's not to say that EA and Big Huge Games didn't try. There's an impressive amount of dialogue and NPCs to be found in Amalur, and from time to time, it's well written and interesting, but like a good majority of the game, more often than not it's your typical RPG fodder. People in this kingdom love to talk, and I often found myself trying to get through their monologue's as fast as possible.

Like most RPGs, the citizens of Amalur will often give you quests in exchange for goods, and from time to time you'll get a truly epic one, but more often than not they're incredibly underwhelming. Find this, kill that, rid this place of that heinous evil thing -- it's all stuff you've done in your other RPGS, and it's a bit disappointing that Reckoning doesn't really try all that hard.

Reckoning does have a saving grace though -- and boy does it save it. The combat engine of Amalur is fun, engaging and does a great deal to advance even some of the game's worst moments. Much like the combat systems found in more traditional action games, you'll find the action in Reckoning to be incredibly visceral and fast paced. You'll perform combos and incredibly entertaining finishing maneuver’s (I still can't get enough of ramming my sword down a belligerent enemy's throat). It's incredibly rewarding to find a weapon, become proficient with it and begin to upgrade it to learn new skills and techniques with it.

"...wanted to see myself excel in different specializations."


It’s the combat itself that expands the game's other mechanics to become remarkably enjoyable. Looting becomes not only important, but satisfying when you're standing over an enemy that you proudly eviscerated. For the first time in a long time, I actually cared about how my character was leveling up in an RPG, and wanted to see myself excel in different specializations. By the end of Reckoning, I was a broad sword carrying bad ass, and I was proud of it.

Visually, Reckoning is anything but what you'd expect. If you had to compare it with another title, it would be the Fable series, since the two share a very distinct cartoon style, which is interesting because the rest of the game attempts to be mostly serious. My major problem with the game's visuals though is just how terrible the game's lip synching is -- it's as if the developers didn't even try.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning never seems to fully establish an identity to call its own -- it just borrows from some of gaming's top franchise's and fine tunes the mechanics to its own liking. Saved by the remarkable combat engine, you'll still have a great time with Reckoning. More than anything, it feels like a great start to a new franchise, and we can't wait for the more cleaned up inevitable sequel. 



CHEATS USED: Unlimited Health, Mana, No Cooldowns

One of the best parts of Reckoning is the ability to create and customize your blank slate character to your liking, and the trainer from Cheat Happens gives you many more choices to do this -- so many that you'll be free to create just about anything you want.

Just about anything you could want is in the trainer. Unlimited health, unlimited mana, unlimited reckonings, no cooldowns. I often felt like I no longer needed to focus on leveling up when using a number of the features in the trainer.

The one thing I found myself not doing was using the easy kills cheat, since it took away from the game's killer combat mechanics.



 LATEST COMMENTS / USER RATINGS leave a comment / rate this game 
Current rank: 1 Star. Next Rank at 100 Posts.
User # 243188
posted: 3/13/2012 5:20:18 AM -  Report Post              I rate this game   edit post

an impressive combat system?

Sure, if you call button mashing and a slight hint of timing for an impressive combat system.

While I don't agree with his opinion on the "impressive" combat system, I do agree that Amalur is a fairly decent game, though for me it was the story and the lore that drew me in, the Fae and their mannerisms just captivated me, and drew me through the quest line, trying to learn more about them and their world.

But just as the OP mentioned, the various quests are fairly generic, and the enemies quickly become the same with different colour schemes, so it's just a matter of getting through them as fast as possible, so you can get to the interesting bits.

Current rank: 3.5 Stars. Next Rank at 8000 Posts.
User # 157287
posted: 3/12/2012 10:32:46 AM -  Report Post                edit post

I would like to point out the game wasn't made originally for the console in mind, this is the way games are these days, ok it seems to be more console friendly but it is only the look and feel...

Even Skyrim had the same feel as the console versions, so sirchet are you going to say Skyrim was also designed for consoles first?

Current rank: 2 Stars. Next Rank at 1000 Posts.
User # 510840
posted: 3/11/2012 11:24:54 PM -  Report Post                edit post

Well,this is a better review than Adam Sessler gave it.

Current rank: 1.5 Stars. Next Rank at 500 Posts.
User # 86828
posted: 3/11/2012 12:44:13 PM -  Report Post                edit post

Thanks for another good and honest review.

I have to agree with you on many of your statements, except that I am a fond follower of Skyrim.

I use this game as a break from serious RPG'ing, you know ... when I just want to run around and kill stuff.

What you did leave out is IMO a distinct feeling that this game was actually made for a console and then later brought over to the PC in order to gain a larger marketing base.

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