Published on January 23rd, 2012 | by Chris Powell0
Preview: Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning
The Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning, a third-person, action RPG published by EA, was released earlier this week, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with how the game is shaping up. First off, I want to congratulate the game’s developers, 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, on releasing a quality demo.
Many demos today give the player a very small, enclosed taste of a game. Very often, the developers use their demos to highlight key features of the game, which doesn’t give us a great idea of what to expect when the finished version arrives. However, with the Kingdom of Amalur demo, you’re able to create your character, lead him through the game’s opening dungeon, and once you escape, you get 45 minutes to make it as far into the game’s universe as possible.
I really like this idea, and I hope it continues to catch on.
You could say if Dragon Age 2 and Fable 3 had a love child, it would be Kingdom of Amalur. Gameplay and control wise, it plays pretty similar to Dragon Age, with the game’s characters looking eerily similar to those in Fable 3. So if you’re familiar with either of these two games, you’ll feel right at home with Amalur from the outset.
Once you get into the demo, you’ll be able to create your character with what appears to be the game’s full character creation tools. This is also a feature many developers keep from gamers during a demo. The character creator options aren’t as deep as those found in Skyrim, but many of the options make your character look like a badass, which can’t be said for Skyrim.
While some may argue the combat isn’t as deep Dragon Age 2 (for instance, you don’t control your party member’s actions during combat), I think it plays out very well. The developers have done a great job with handling every aspect of combat by giving you access to just about everything with a touch of a button. Melee attacks are handled by the Square button, your bow and arrow with the Triangle button and you can cast spells by holding R1 and selecting one of four selected spells. It all plays out very smoothly, and keeps the combat from feeling like you’re only pressing a single attack button over and over again.
With that said, I played through the demo on normal difficulty and never had any problem with the enemies I encountered. That’s not so say, though, that their difficulty won’t ramp up as the game goes forward.
What I was most happy with, however, was how vibrant the game’s environments are. The opening dungeon is dark and dank, but once you get outside its walls, you’re met with one of the most colorful worlds I’ve ever seen in a video game. It reminded me somewhat of Avatar with foliage and plants looking like they would be better home in a coral reef. I didn’t have time to make it very far outside of this first area, but if the rest of the game looks as pretty as this, I’m going to have a great time exploring Amalur’s world.
One of the most worrisome aspects of the demo for me is how quests are doled out. It seemed that when I received a particular quest and after I found the person I needed to seek out to finish said quest, they would only have me do a completely different task before they would help me finish my original quest. Sure, it may be fine if a handful of quests are structured this way, but if every quest is met with a person needing you to help them do something completely random, it may end up being a bit annoying.
Additionally, I did experience some weird graphical glitches where it looked as if a section of the ground would simply disappear, and you could look at a cloudy sky beneath it. The demo also froze on me once, too.
While it had some issues, Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning is shaping up to be a great action RPG. As far as demos go, I had a ton of fun exploring through Amalur and am really excited when the game releases Feb. 7 on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows.