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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

ESRB: Mature - M
Platform: PS3
Category: RPG
Author: Mat White

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Big Huge Games/38 Studios

Genre: Action RPG

With big names on the development team like R.A Salvatore, Ken Rolston and Todd McFarlane, Kingdoms of Amular (KOA) had some high expectations to live up to. Taking place in a beautifully crafted world designed by Ken Rolston (Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), you awaken from death and quickly learn that the strings of fate no longer tie you down. With this new found power, you embark on a mission to end the tyranny of Lord Gadflow before he summons his god Tirnoch. Does this RPG from a newer studio have enough to take on the genre's big names such as Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout?


While the graphics aren’t mind blowing, they certainly do the job. They remind me of a better-looking version of Fable. After spending many hours on post-apocalyptic games like Fallout, it’s refreshing to play a game so rich in colour and life. There are some things in the game that they could have worked on a little more. For one the lip-synching during conversations isn’t the best I’ve ever seen. Sometimes if you slash somebody with your sword a few times before talking to him or her, they’ll have blood squirting out of them for the whole conversation. Which is funnier than it is bad. For those of you who aren’t really attracted to games with this sort of art style, the gameplay more than makes up for any graphical shortcomings you may think it has. Remember, graphics don’t make a game good. Gameplay does.


The cutting of swords, the thudding of hammers and the red-hot flames billowing out from the top of your staff all add to the high level of immersion I found in KOA. One of the biggest things I liked about my time with KOA was the quiet during the down time between battles. This let me appreciate the often-overlooked things like the sounds of the wildlife or the flowing water from a nearby waterfall. This just proves the old adage of less is more.

A problem I had was that more often than not when I found a lorestone and tried to hear the story, I’d get interrupted by nearby mobs of enemies or NPC’s and miss a lot of what I was trying to hear. It’s a shame really as the lorestones I did manage to hear added to the already well-crafted mythology of Amular. I’m glad that they fixed all or most of the sound glitches that I found when I tried out the demo. If they hadn’t I would have given a rating between 4-5.


Gameplay is where KOA makes up some serious ground on its competitors. KOA offers one of the most refreshingly fun and satisfying combat experiences not seen in recent RPG’s. Movement is crisp and responsive. You get a sense of full control over your character. The dodge and parry mechanics are great and are reminiscent of the God of War franchise. One of the best features of KOA (that is sadly lacking from other games in the genre) is the ability to re-spec your character at any time. So if you’ve been playing as a mage and feel like switching to a warrior type build, you can. As long as you have the gold that is. There are three classes to choose from: Warrior, Rogue and Mage. Each comes with its own set of weapon and armor specialties and plenty of exclusive abilities.

As with most 3rd person games these days, there are problems with the camera. I had some minor problems with the camera not following me properly at times. It was like it would turn around at a completely different pace than I would. So I would have to manually turn it around to the right position, which was kind of annoying when it happened during a fight. There was also a rare glitch that happened to me where the camera would dislodge itself and fall under the ground during fights. It only happened twice to me so it’s not a big deal.

The game tries to encourage you to go and explore and do side missions, and in doing so gives you a sense of how big the world is and how much there is to do. If you do decide to go straight through the story, you can expect to beat it in around 25-30 hours. With so much to do and see I can’t imagine you wanting to do that though.


KOA is one of this year's more pleasant surprises for me. There is a lot here that fans of the genre will like. They also tried to make it accessible to other gamers as well. I think 38 Studios and Big Huge Games have succeeded big time in that aspect. With all that is offered in KOA I can definitely recommend this to fans of RPG’s and other gamers looking for something new. I will be keeping an eye out for their next release that’s for sure. Great game.


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