When the original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning released on February 7th, 2012, it quickly and unfortunately faded into obscurity. At the time, regardless of how many chose to play it, […]
When the original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning released on February 7th, 2012, it quickly and unfortunately faded into obscurity. At the time, regardless of how many chose to play it, the game was generally loved by all of those who gave the title a fair shake. Over time, the title developed a cult following and a loyal one at that, eagerly awaiting more from the hidden gem. Fast forward to the present day, however, and their wishes have been granted. Developed by Kaiko and published by THQ Nordic, Big Huge Games’ Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is back. Re-branded and remastered as Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, this version of the original game bundled with all previous DLC content has been enhanced for the current console generation and PC. For now all I can give are my initial impressions of the title, since I haven’t had adequate time to pen a review; as our review copy arrived later than expected and I had to purchase the game for myself. However, a full review will be out very soon and posted over this coming weekend. Without further delay, let’s see how my first three and a half hours adventuring across Amalur played out.
Story, Gameplay, and Visuals
Firstly, I’d like to establish that this is my first time playing through Kingdoms of Amalur, so the narrative and lore (obviously along with all other aspects of the title) are completely new to my eyes. That being said (and without detailing any spoilers), the story immediately intrigued me and as I played through the opening of the game I found the narrative and lore to be increasingly compelling. The characters you’re introduced to provide meaningful exposition, and the conflict/world you’re thrusted into delivers a sense of urgency that personally made me invested in the title almost instantaneously (undoubtedly due to the writing of R.A. Salvatore). Upon completing this opening sequence, the world of Amalur and all of its Kingdoms await you. This is an open-world title in essence, however it has to be one of the most linear open worlds I’ve ever played through. While not entirely a negative aspect, I feel it does the game a massive disservice. Most of the gameworld is filled with large, open areas to journey through; but said open areas are connected by linear, compact connecting pathways. Unlike titles such as Skyrim or The Witcher 3 where you can travel from locale to locale in any manner/path that you choose, KoA doesn’t provide that extent of freedom for exploration. As a result, you’ll be retreading the same ground quite often. However, this isn’t as terrible as it sounds since the game world’s art style and ambient soundtrack is the backdrop for your questing, and oh is it beautiful. Sure it’s nowhere near photo-realism, but it isn’t trying to be whatsoever. It works wondrously for the fantasy setting, and to be candid I love it. Of course while out in the wilds, however, you will eventually come across something or someone that wants to kill you mercilessly. There are plenty of weapons/magical abilities at your disposal to engage in some fun yet easy to grasp combat, but it is incredibly simplistic. Most of the time (if your main weapon is of the melee variety) you will just be mashing x/square until your enemy is no more. Unfortunately, this can turn frustrating as there is a rare occurrence where an attack will do no damage whatsoever, seemingly phasing through enemy combatants. This, combined with enemies constantly stun locking the player with every hit while being ganked, is abhorrent. After defeating your adversaries, most will drop gold, weapons/armor, or some other form of loot. This, unfortunately, leads to two extremely irritating issues I have with the title. First off, if you have an AI companion following you, they stick to you like glue and as a result you will be constantly entering dialogue with them while you’re just trying to grab a dang sword. Additionally, once you successfully loot said item, you’ll be lucky if you can even keep it. Although upgradeable, inventory space is very limited and will require constant management in the early game. Luckily, though, KoA runs smoothly despite all of these complaints; I have yet to experience even a single frame drop.
Glitches and Technical Issues
There aren’t many bugs in KoA, as I’ve only been able to identify two thus far. The first, and mostly insignificant glitch of the pair, is some infrequent screen tearing. Throughout my near four hours played, I’ve only suffered through it twice. However, there are an immense amount of audio issues to the point where it’s egregious, and I’d argue almost completely busted. The following are the audio glitches I’ve already struggled through myself:
- Dialogue with no sound
- Dialogue with overtly loud sound
- Dialogue in general is quiet compared to other audio for seemingly no reason
- Dialogue can be heard from far away if a voice line has yet to be finished and the player leaves the area
- Audio glitch upon game start-up where all sound is absurdly loud and staticky, genuinely hurting my ears momentarily