Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review
What do you get when you mix World of Warcraft, God of War, and The Elder Scrolls?
We’ll revisit that question at the end of this review.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is more than the unholy spawn of the hypothetical union of three major titles; it’s a game with an impressive pedigree: designer Ken Rolston, artist Todd McFarlane, and Mr. Drizzt Do’Urden himself, author R.A. Salvatore. With a lineup like that, you’d expect the dream team to hit this one out of the park — speaking of which, did I mention former baseball star Curt Schilling? He’s the founder of the game’s developer, 38 Studios.
So is this fantasy action-RPG a home run, or a foul ball?
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: PC (Review), PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: 38 Studios, Big Huge Games
Publisher: 38 Studios, Electronic Arts
Released: Feb. 7, 2012
KoA:R’s executive designer is Ken Rolston, the lead designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Bethesda’s fingerprints are evident throughout Amalur as of character creation. As a tongue-in-cheek nod to Bethesda’s need to awkwardly work character creation into the story, KoA:R begins with a pair of gnomes wheeling in your corpse on a covered cart, wondering what race you are. Just as the sheet over your corpse is being pulled back, the character creation menu pops up.
The scene screams Monty Python, and it took all my willpower to prevent myself from shouting, “Bring out your dead!” While Bethesda’s efforts are humorous by accident, KoA:R parodies Bethesda, with one of the gnomes even saying that their work is done, “Unless you want to name him (your corpse).”
KoA:R’s class system bases itself on the fighter, rogue, and mage archetypes, but allows you to build your character to fit any combination of those three. The game’s three ability trees each cater to one archetype, but you’re free to acquire abilities from any tree — and if, at any time, you want to switch from being a fighter to a rogue/mage hybrid, there’s an inbuilt mechanic to allow you to redistribute your abilities points, for a price.
Skills, such as blacksmithing, alchemy, stealth, and lock-picking, are advanced through a separate mechanic than combat abilities, meaning you never have to sacrifice combat optimization in order to pursue KoA:R’s other game systems.