A few weeks ago we got to preview Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning thanks to the folks at Big Huge Games and 38 Sudios. The game lived up to all expectations and offers RPG fans some core in depth systems surrounded by an amazing game world and story. Reckoning really takes RPG gaming into 2012 and many players will be excited to get their hands on this title just as they are finishing up their Skyrim adventures.
The game play for Reckoning can be described in one phrase “dynamically smooth.” The transitions in the game even at this early stage were very smooth and combat has a very strong feel to it. Movement is easy since we played on an Xbox and the camera angles are friendly enough to explore and fight multiple opponents when they appear around you. There are two main areas I want to focus on when explaining Reckoning’s game play: the combat and the world itself. These two elements really stood out as we did our preview run through combined for an amazing experience.
The combat is definitely dynamic. There are loads of options for characters to build upon. Players have access to choose a warrior, mage, or rogue style class. Of course all of these can be broken out further and there are even hybrid options as well. I chose to go rogue because I almost always play a warrior. Plus early on in the game I was able to craft a pair of fire daggers and they looked too amazing to just put down or sell, so rogue it was. One of the best combats I experienced was fighting a pack of wolves outside of the town. There are loads of monsters in the game, but this simple fight really set the stage for what to expect. The wolves actually did attack in a pack formation. They surrounded me and then took turns jumping at me from each direction. The fight was very challenging and forced me to move around to deal with multiple foes. It was not the simple lock on to a target and click away combat.
Characters can switch between melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic. Every character class has access to all three areas. How you spec your character allows you to create lots of options. There are also thrown weapons in the game and the Mage’s bladed discs are one of the coolest weapons in all of RPG gaming. I used them even though I was playing a rogue; they just looked awesome. There is a full crafting system in the game and I was one of the few who tried it out during the demo. People were really focused on getting through the quests but I kind of ran off the beaten path. The only complaint I have was for the shield. If you spec a warrior and choose weapon and shield, the shield is hidden throughout combat and only is used to block when you press the left trigger. This may be changed as the game is still in somewhat early stages of the polishing process, but as a fighter it is cool to run around with your shield bashing things. Hopefully this piece will be changed in the game so that the shield is more visible and a part of the combat.
Next up besides combat is the game world itself. The team of Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore, and Todd McFarlane have done an amazing job of building this game world. The idea of the invading Fae and the wells to help mortals come back to life is a very cool story and offers a lot of depth to players. I definitely felt a part of the world from the beginning and the opening story line is very cool. The Well of Souls concept is really great and adds a lot to the story of trying to figure out your past. The world is a mix of ancient mythology thrown into a fantasy setting and it gives a very strong feel to the player. The Fae make a great enemy and while I personally was never too excited about them in fantasy games, the team did a great job of bringing them to life and making them sinister villains to battle against.
Overall Reckoning: Kingdoms of Amalur delivers on many levels. The game is massive and we only got to see the early parts of it. The game world, story, and dynamic combat really do combine for a great mix of RPG awesomeness. Hopefully, we will see much more as we get closer to launch. Also, for the eventual MMO the game world is perfect and perhaps we will see more on that front once the RPG game is released. Fans definitely have a lot to look forward to with Reckoning; even at an early stage the game is amazing to play and I can’t wait to see more.