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Published on February 15th, 2012 | by Chris Powell

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5 things I hate about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Look, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a good game. Heck, I’d even go so far as to say it’s great. It does so much right that so many other RPGs do incredibly wrong. But after spending countless hours exploring the world of Kingdoms of Amalur and enjoying nearly every minute, might I add, I have compiled a list of five of the most annoying aspects of the game.

I steered clear of the obvious complaints of the mandatory Online Pass and the fact that little of your character’s decisions, whether they be good or bad, do little to effect the overall landscape of the game. No, I dug further to find those little things that just kinda irked me the wrong way.

None of these has caused me to shut off my 360 and rage quit the game altogether, but I will admit that one of my controllers met its untimely demise. Yes, Reckoning can be controller smashingly frustrating.

1) Fast traveling in large, open-world environments has become a necessity in today’s video game landscape. In year’s past, developers thought making the player actually walk (gasp!) to every location would add a sense of realism. However, that novelty quickly wore off when you’d have to travel from one end of the world to the other and waste your valuable gaming time.

Thankfully, Reckoning features fast traveling to every town, cave or other significant location that you’ve physically visited during the game. However, this feature needlessly becomes a pain in the ass when you’re attempting to fast travel to a place that just so happens to be the next location you need to go for your quest. You see, in Reckoning, the next step in your quest line is displayed by a golden ring on the game’s map. Most often, it’s overlayed on top of a town or cavern. The problem with this is that, for whatever reason, you can’t fast travel to a location when your cursor is hovering over the quest ring. So you’re forced to move the cursor around in a haphazard pattern while maniacally mashing the A button in hopes of it possibly moving over the small portion of the area that will allow you to fast travel to the town or cave.

2) Anyone who has played Reckoning knows the combat is the main attraction in this RPG, and, for the most part, it’s incredibly fun and engaging. The sweet ebb and flow of battling a half dozen creatures while dodging, blocking and attacking can be near hypnotizing … except when a creature hits you with a three-hit combo. Then, the glorious combat comes crashing to a screeching halt.

That’s because there’s no way, once a creature gets a successful hit on you, to cancel out their combo or to do much anything once they start their attack combo. Most often, I simply had to sit there and wait until for my foe to finish dishing out its damage before I could give them the ol’ what for.  Several monsters in the game seem to be immune to this issue, but, for whatever reason, you are not. So many other games, and dare I say much lesser games, feature the ability to thwart your opponent’s attack in mid-combo. It would be a welcomed addition to say the least.

3) Sneaking is way to effin’ slow! I really enjoy being a super stealthy ninja assassin by sneaking up behind an unsuspecting boggart, who is innocently praying at an altar, and dealing him a fatal blow before he knew anything was amiss.

However, when said boggart is walking forward, it can take a painfully long time to catch up to him to perform your surprise attack. This is because when you sneak in Reckoning, the speed in which you move is the exact same as the speed in which monsters walk. That means you’ll sometimes be forced to follow a monster a ridiculously long time before executing that silent kill. Of course, you can always risk of running up as close to your victim as possible and then going into sneak mode, but you’re running the risk of them being alerted to your presence, which kinda ruins the whole point of sneaking in the first place.

4) To say Big Huge Games and 38 Studios wanted to make this game as accessable as possible for genre newcomers would be an understatement. What particularly lead me to this assumption Kingdoms of Amalur’s difficulty or lack thereof. You see, the game is incredibly easy on normal mode, and please don’t get me started on the lack of difficulty you’ll experience on casual mode. To get the most out of Reckoning, you need to play it on hard from the onset, but even in this mode, you’ll rarely die during most enemy encounters.

However, every so often, the game unexplicably decides to ratchet up the difficulty, and when it does, it will utterly kick your ass. For instance, you can be in a cave cutting through waves of monsters like a knife through warm butter only to reach the boss and his or her gang of minions. Then you’ll get swarmed by a crap load of monsters that are all hurtling magical shitballs at you at the same time. Ever had a magical shitball hit you in the face? No? Well, it sucks … trust me, and there’s little you can do about.

5) OK, enough is enough. I’m sick and damn tired of the silent hero. It sucks. Games like Mass Effect give the main character a voice and do it amazingly well. Hell, even Saints Row: The Third, in all of its wacky brilliance, gives you a wide selection of voice options for your protagonist. Sadly, and most frustrating for me, Reckoning follows in the line of games that for reasons beyond understanding force you to play as a mute who communicates by highlighted text. Reckoning gives you a reasonable amount of freedom in customizing your character’s look at the beginning of the game. It’s just a shame the developers chose to not give you the power to decide whether he should speak or not.

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About the Author

Avatar of Chris Powell

Chris Powell is the editor at Bit Loaders and the host of The Bit Loaders Show. In his day job, he's the managing editor of Airman magazine - the Air Force's official magazine (www.airmanonline.com). He has been a print journalist in the Air Force for nearly 13 years. Previously, he wrote for Joystiq and is the former editor of SegaNerds.com.



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