Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Console: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Open World RPG
Release Date:  February 07, 2012
Reviewed: March 11, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur (KoA) is an open world RPG developed by Big Huge Games and published by EA Games. In KoA you start off by creating your character how you want it and you start off dead. Yes, in the game you are dead but luckily the "Well of Souls" revives you from the dead. The story is crafted by R.A Salvatore, Todd McFarlane, and Ken Rolsten. You may ask that one of these names sounds familiar? Well Todd McFarlane is the creator of Spawn and R.A Salvatore is New York Times best selling author. Ken Rolston created the story for Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. The story is so in depth and is huge. Reckoning is only the sliver of the story. The game starts off you waking up from on top of a pile of corpses because you were brought back to life from the Well of Souls that the dwarves created. You start the game by escaping from an unknown place and a long the way you meet up with some pretty important characters while escaping. KoA has a ton of customizable options within the game. You choose how you want to play, what type of fighter you want to be and whether you want to be evil or good. There are class combinations such as rogue/mage or mage/warrior, anything you want. The game has tons of weapons, armour, skills and professions to customize how you want to play. The main story itself has about 25+ hours of game play but if your the type of person who likes to do all the quests and complete everything the game has to offer then your looking at 100+ hours of game play.

The controls are really easy to learn from using spells or quickly using items. You can map items onto a quick selection option where say you want to assign a potion that increases your armour value then map it for quick use. Spells and skills are used by assigning them to four different spots. You activate these by holding down the "R" button and using X, A ,Y, B. You can also control the camera using the right analog stick or clicking it to make the camera center on your character. The game runs very smoothly and the things you can do are endless. One thing I liked about the characters you create is the option to carry and secondary weapon with you. For example if you were a pure sorcery character you might want to have a staff as your main weapons and chakrams as a secondary. So your attacking with your staff with the "X" button and you decide to switch and up to use your chakrams. You do this by pressing the "Y" button. 

Character Customize Screen....lots to choose from!

KoA has a professions where you can create potions, gems to socket your armour or weapons, blacksmithing and others. You go around the massive world and discover reagents which are used to create certain items. If your a fan of blacksmithing then you may want to put your skill points into it so you can make better armour and salvage from higher quality weapons and armour. When you salvage unwanted weapons and armour you receive materials for blacksmithing. Potions are a bit different. You go around the world and pick herbs which you use to create tons of different types of potions and elixirs. If your more of a rogue then you can also put points in stealth, lockpicking, and detect hidden. Everytime you can a level in KoA you get one skill point to put towards any skill such as blacksmithing, lockpicking, stealth, etc.... Once you choose where you want to put your point you then get 3 class points where you decide what type of character you want to be whether you want to play a rogue, warrior or mage. The last thing you do is decide your "destiny". These are determined by cards and you use these cards to decide what type of class you want to be. For example if you are a pure might character, the more points you put into might you can go up the tier for might fate cards. Tier one for might you will be known as a brawler and will get specials like increased damage and increased block. 

Choose your destiny!

So you've decided what type of character you want to play. What do you do from here besides the main story? Well if you want to see what KoA offers go to the hundreds of side quests in the game. Go do faction quests to become a better thief or mage. The things you can do in KoA is endless. Go do some dungeons, go explore the massive world, go craft something. One thing I really enjoyed about this is the random loot system. Most people didn't enjoy it but I thought it was a great addition. When your looting a chest or a corpse you always get completely random loot. As in you fight a monster and lets say you die right after you looted him. Say he only dropped you 120 gold. Well the next time you kill him he may drop you some armor instead. It's always random. Only downfall to this system is when you unlock a really hard chest or dispell an advanced chest the loot can be as bad as 100 gold or you may get an epic item.

So from the hundreds and hundreds of quests to the huge exploration of the world all the way to professions and completely customizing your character there are a ton of things to do in KoA. 

Another great part of this game besides the gameplay are the wonderful graphics within the world of KoA. The entire world is colorful and vibrant. The wilderness and environment are always changing as your exploring the world and the different zones on the map are all different in terms of the environment. The animations are well done. The spell effects, enchant glows, etc... are all colorful and life like. The water effects are very well done and interact with it's surroundings and environment. As your walking you can't help but wander off in a different direction just to explore the area and see what it has to offer. The bosses are huge and all look outstanding. 

The environment.

The music in KoA is very soothing while walking through the different zones and suit the environments extremely well. Then there is audio during boss fights, cinematics and combat that all suit them very well. When your engaging a huge boss the music really gets the adrenaline flowing. The voice acting in the game when interacting with other characters in KoA are all voice acted very well and adds to the feeling of great story telling. The sounds while walking around like the water or birds add to the game that much more. Overall it is very enjoying, relaxing and helps make KoA that much better of an experience.

I highly recommend this game. This could easily be the years best RPG of 2012. If your a fan of RPGS, Skyrim, story telling, action you will highly enjoy this game hands down. Even if your not a fan of the genre there is bound to be something in the game to suit your needs. From the great combat system, the levelling system, customizing options, and the environments, this is a must buy game. If your still unsure be sure to rent it first. Go out and pick a copy of KoA up, you will not be dissapointed.