There have been quite a few major RPG releases so far this year. Amalur was really under my radar until the release of the demo containing an unlockable for Mass Effect 3. I gotta admit these cross game promotions really work on me, as I recall buying Dead Space 2, primarily to acquire for Dragon Age 2.
Amalur is a pretty interesting RPG that initially seems like your typical D&D inspired adventure. The story is decent, but never ground breaking . The strongest aspect of Amalur is simply the combat. Initially, you wield a rusty sword and eventually can use a wide range of weapons including staffs, chakrams, daggers, axes, hammers and many others. Each weapon type has a few unique skills allowing for great variety in combat. In addition to that, there are a decent amount of spells consisting of your typical elements of fire, water and lighting. One of my favorite features is the ability to switch weapons mid combo to deliver so amazing damage. You can launch an enemy high up with a long sword, then burn them away with a flaming staff.
In addition to combat, you character can perform a wide variety of actions such as dispelling traps, lockpicking, pickpocketing, item crafting and skills that you would typically find in an MMO. I sometimes feel like this game is trying to be a fast paced MMO and succeeds at doing so. Since you character can perform so many unique actions, you have access to hundreds of unique weapons, armor, accessories, potions, and components. Unfortunately this leads to the games greatest flaw: inventory management. After going crazy with picking up everything in sight, you will notice that you inventory of 70 items quickly fills up. You can find or purchase upgrades, but these are few and far between. Additionally, you may be able to unlock storage containers, but no matter what you do, your character never seems to be able to hold enough items. Which means more frequent trips to town to pawn of goods or simply abandoning items.
In the end this game provides a pretty engaging experience, but can become tedious if you choose to handle every situation with the same weapons and skills. The story has it’s share of twists and turns, but overall your decisions have little impact on the world. Most quests are simply there for the sake of earning experience points. There are special “House” quests which are far more interesting than most of the standard quests. These optional quests lead to some pretty amazing rewards.
Although many sources claim this game runs for about 200 hours, you can get more than enough of an experience in about 60 hours, 50 if you choose to skip many of the side quests. I picture myself going back to Amalur when the DLC packs arrive. Back to playing Mass Effect 3!
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is rated Functional for being fun but not necessarily ground breaking.