Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Good production values, especially for a new RPG franchise.
- Plenty of visionaries at work here – on a technical basis this is one of the most creative games out there.
- Way too easy for the seasoned gamer.
It’s rare to see a new RPG franchise hit the market with this level of production values. It’s worth checking out for that reason alone
Price$ 109.99 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
Kingdoms of Amalur really is the product of a dream team of visionaries; pulp fantasy master writer, R.A Salvatore, comic book art legend, Todd McFarlane, and visionary game designer, Ken Rolston. While Amalur doesn’t quite live up to the expectations you might have for the product of these legends, it does a great job of being entertaining pulp fantasy.
The game kicks off with the standard tutorial dungeon that introduces you to your main enemy (a riff on the traditional fantasy evil Dark Elf type called the “Tuatha”), and the various methods in which you’ll take down those enemies. There’s a spot of stealth, some brutal and fast combat, and a bit of archery. By the end of the tutorial you’ll likely have an idea of what kind of character you want to play – which is just as well because after that tutorial the game largely leaves you to your own devices.
Amalur has a quest structure a bit like the Elder Scrolls games. There’s a “main” quest, sure, but it’s about the least interesting of the game’s plot lines. Every village, town and city is brimming with people that need help, and in keeping with the MMO tradition (which this game borrows heavily from) those people have big “!” marks above their head. It’s compelling to go up to these people and hear their stories, though a clunky quest logbook will mean the more OCD people will be driven mad by the constant bouncing around between objectives that they’ll be doing.
The quests themselves do a fairly poor job of breaking away from the traditional assassination missions and fetch quests, but they’re presented in a way that feels, if not fresh, interesting. Dialogue is well written, though decidedly pulp in execution.
The kingdom of Amalur
It helps that the setting backs up the writing perfectly. This is a world of high magic and real wonder, and McFarlane’s art direction suits it brilliantly. Every new location, and every new hulking monstrocity you encounter walks a perfect line between being original, and sticking to popular conventions.
If there’s one thing Amalur doesn’t want to do, it’s to be unpopular. This is a game that has been crafted to appeal to just about everyone. The combat is accessible and visceral, even if you just want to button mash through the easy difficulty levels. At the same time, there’s nuance to it, so the skilled players should be somewhat tested on the high difficulty levels. That’s not to say the game is ever really challenging – Dragon Age Origins this is not – but it’s enough to keep the attention of the hardcore RPG fans.
The downsides, such that they are, are really minor. Owing to the MMO roots of the game, there’s an awful lot of loot to be found, and only a limited number of inventory slots. The inventory, too, is a clunky menu to wade through, and inventory management is a real chore.
Though there’s a robust skill tree in place, it’s a little hard to get too invested in your avatar when she/ he has no in-game personality (in cut scenes, they just stand mute while being talked to), and little challenge in-game to make you think about skill allocation carefully. Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls games get away with it better because by default they are played out in the first person, which is a more personal window to the game world. Amalur’s third person camera works well for the combat, but is a depersonalising way to experience the world.
It’s great to see another fledgling western RPG franchise with real potential and talent behind it. Kingdoms of Amalur is a good foundation for the series. Hopefully future games can develop the world further, as it’s currently lacking the same sense of history of Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls games, and bring a little more challenge to make the whole journey feel even more worthwhile next time.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Asus ROG teases a massive gaming notebook that outperforms Titan X
- Review - Total War: Warhammer
- Total War: Warhammer DirectX 12 performance preview: Radeon reigns supreme
- Microsoft brings Halo 5's map editor to Windows 10 for free, but stays quiet about Halo 5
- What is WESA and what it means for eSports: Counter-Strike got its own version of FIFA
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- CCData Feeds Developer | Financial Services | C# & SQLNSW
- CCSenior Change AnalystNSW
- CCOracle Payroll Functional ConsultantNSW
- CCSolutions Architect - SAP HANAQLD
- CCDigital Project ManagerVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (J2EE/Oracle) 160520/AP/985Asia
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (.NET C#/MS ASP .NET) 160526/AP/263Asia
- CCProject Manager - Healthcare DomainSA
- CCOracle Fusion SOA/BPEL DeveloperVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE) 160526/AP/506Asia
- FTSenior Business AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Australian Systems Integrator - Immediate interviewNSW
- CCNetwork Access Specialist - Telecommunications (Apply now)!!NSW
- CCOpen Source Specialist / Senior ConsultantQLD
- FTProduction ConsultantVIC
- CCTechnical Service LeadNSW
- CCNetwork Architect VoiceNSW
- CCAccess Control Administration / Help desk OperatorACT
- CCDeemed Order Business SpecialistVIC
- CCBusiness Intelligence (BI) AnalystQLD
- CCDeployment Project EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTFunctional Business Analyst Dynamic AXNSW
- CCData Center ArchitectNSW
- FTVMWare Infrastructure EngineerVIC