Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Apr 15, 2012, 11:31 IST | Shreyas Rajagopa

At first glance, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has a made-by-committee feel to it.

The title hints at this, a perfect example of inaccessible fantasy-trope. The feeling grows as you play through it — you have seen this all before. There are big names associated with the title: art design comes from comic artist Todd McFarlane and the story is helmed by bestselling fantasy writer RA Salvatore, but the results are a bit lacklustre.

You play as the ‘Fateless’ — a resurrected warrior who doesn’t have a fixed destiny in a world where everything is predestined and there is no free will. Your arrival with your ability to alter the predicted future shakes things up and soon you are caught in the middle of a genocidal war between the mortal races and the immortal mystical Fae. There is a lot going on in the story, but the game doesn’t do enough to make you care.

The world is large and divided into discrete connected areas. It may not be completely open but it works well and offers enough side quests and dungeons for over 100 hours of gameplay. However, most quests are of the rudimentary ‘kill this’ or ‘fetch that’ variety with no morally complex choices or interesting outcomes.

Reckoning arrives in what has been a spectacular season for RPGs with Skyrim and Dark Souls pushing the boundaries of world design and narration in games. It desperately needed to excel in some aspect to stand out from the crowd and thankfully, it does just that. The combat is spectacular. At its best, Reckoning plays like a bizarre love child of Diablo and God of War. Fast, brutal combat, where you use flashy weapon combos and spells, dodging fireballs and giants swinging tree trunks is so much fun that it could easily belong to a pure action title. And once everything is dead you get your hands on the Loot. The fabulous Loot.

There is so much Loot in the game, you are always 10 minutes away from the next awesome weapon / armour that will make you want to change your style of play entirely. This is where Reckoning shines — allowing you to completely respect your character at minimal cost at any time in the game. Found a shiny new great sword? You can turn your Sorcerer into a melee machine with one visit to the friendly neighbourhood Fateweaver. This keeps proceedings fresh even after half a hundred hours have gone by.

Technically the game is polished, running smoothly even in the more hectic battles. However, the vibrant colour scheme doesn’t fit the mood of the game and is too reminiscent of Fable. Reckoning may be a very generic game in a very generic world — but I cannot stop playing it.

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