Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning -first thoughts

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Joined: 01/21/2009

I held out almost 2 weeks... the $60 price tag, having recently played Skyrim for almost 300 hours (I played it through with a few classes) and this being in the same Vein or so I heard and assumed from videos and previews. I just felt it was to much money and had worn out my game time on that type of game. Well i told myself that up till a day ago.. I was watching the Kids do the the "skyrim is better Amalur sucks" and the opposite, i couldn't take i had to buy it. I have about 20 hours in now. I love the Elder Scroll games, my very favorite part is seeing a keep off in the distance and KNOWING i can go inside its not just scenery... Knowing even if I didn't kill one thing I would spend hours exploring. Yes Im a ELDER SCROLL FAN BOY....

But onto Amalur

It has a pretty standard intro... much like ... elder scrollls (and im sure a 100 other RPG's) a short scene you just watch and listen to.. ( i wont describe to much of teh game story as I feel that best left for the players to discover) but at one point when the characters actual are about to see the plyers avatar... you get to customize your avatar.... 4 races.. each with bonus... male or female. Feels like most RPG's now.. 10 haircuts, 5-6 faces shapes, eye colores, tattoos, etc.. NO changing height weight, basically front the neck down each one is the same.. All are standard size ( as in no dwarfs.. no super tall elves).. but those otehr races are in game, just not playable. My first thought is ... graphics wise.. World Of Warcraft... But for those of you have played Forsakken Worlds or Allods.. its closer to them (but they take their style form WoW.. just upgraded). Very colorfull, very CUTE (which i kinda feel BAH HUMBUG on.. personally LOTR online has the prefect mix of color.. This game is like going to a DISCO (and WoW has that problem too) its too Saturday morning cartoon for me.. BUT the last years have proven the real look and duller realistic colors are kinda in a backlash area right now.. so i think its a good choice.. when reviewed you wont here the standard "blah colors" thing.. Dont get me wrong, it works and it works good.. but its not my thing.. i have always liked realistic over stylized.. Much like the New Star Wars game.. its just to cartoony for me. But ... it sure dont hurt the game in any way.

So we venture out in the world, get a tutorial escape level (pretty much standard nowdays).. which teaches you all the skills and abilities.. it appears you can be mage, thief, warrior ... you can mix and match too.. but the skill up system is like most RPGs where you can do as you please. jack of all trades master of none.. I am pretty sure you will want to stick close to your chosen class. you have a main weapon and secondary ( sword main, bow secondary) which is a key press away. Amour doesn't seem restricted.. but it does matter in some way.. im not sure yet what.. there was some talk about a mage wearing heavy cant close on opponents.. so there must be some movement restrictions. I chose a mage.. and can tell you my spells are pretty weak and short ranged when archers start hitting me.. if i had slower movements i would be toast.. so i have mage robes on.. ( i didn't not try heavy Armour so no idea if i do slow down or not, but I assumed i would). You have the standard health bar, mana bar and a Vengeance (sorry not sure if that the name) it build when you attack, and gives you some kind of super attacks when full. On this it uses the Fallout 3 thing.. you use it for a kill and you get a slow mo of some cool looking kill ...

Combat... this is a pure console game here.. It plays fine on the pc, no issues with mouse keyboard.. but its pure button mash combat. You have a main attack (will just describe mage) a staff that shoots short range fireballs.. and when you attack, attack, attack the 3rd or forth attack will be sorta a windup... more powerful one.. so a Combo? type thing... you shoot a fireball if ranged (again, its really short range) or blunt if they are close.. your secondary attack is a spell (longer range) and does much more damage.. but uses mana and has a short cooldown (5 seconds?). You can also equip wands.. they use mana too... but are rapid fire until mana is gone. The game sorta auto targets whats in front of you, or if not facing, the closest target.. so its got a tiny bit of the combat mechanic that the BATMAN games do... hitting a target is easy.. but learning how to pick the right one is the skill part. So far i haven't run into more 3-4 enemies at once.. and if its more, they have been easy to kill.. You also have a DODGE system, you will roll in the direction your keypad is pressed, so you can use it to close on enemy, roll back form one and roll left or right away from strikes, there is also a block (with shield, but i havent used it as im not sword and board). Range (archers) seem to be harder to deal with for me.. but when i say hard.. i just mean compared to melee characters.. so far the combat (im playing on HARD, there are 3 levels of difficulty) has been almost to easy.. i have read some that it gets harder later.. I hope so as it is now its far to simple. attack.. if you feel overwhelmed just roll out of harms way.. its turned into.. attack 3-4 times, hit the roll back button, repeat.. Other then archers hitting me.. no combat has even been remotely challangeing..

So if Skyrim had clunky combat.. Amalur has simplified combat. I'm mixed right now both have reasons to like and dislike.. Skyrim always felt a little to loose, but once you learned to deal with it .. it worked, if not as well as one hoped. Amalur you feel 100% in control at all times.. but right now i feel like King Kong fighting blindfolded cows.. I'm worried they are going to up the challenge by throwing mass amounts of enemies at me.. and that wont work in the open.. just roll backwards 5-6 time and line the enemies up as they chase you... in an enclosed area it will have some effect ( and they have done this with a BOSS battle) but the arena was big enough... only way i can see its going to be hard is if they hem you in tight and throw 5-6 at you...OF COURSE a few hours in.. no idea what they will do.. Skyrim combat was hard because you felt like you where never in enough control, this game is to easy but I'm always in control.. which is better? I must admit im not sure..

The world.. Its pretty, plenty ot look at. but its enclosed. And if i to to pick a "BAD" thing this is it.. to many paths that are 50 feet wide they spit and go all over.. and therer are open areas the size of a few city blocks.. but .. As I really like how the ELDER SCROLLS game engine works outside.. if you can see it you can go to.. this game is like being in a town in WoW.. there are walls and stuff to stop you from seeing to far as (only a guess) the game engine cant show you to much or it will bog down.. You wont go to any area your not supposed to be in.. this game is hub based.. you do area one.. then area two then.. you wont start at point a... and go to point b any way you want.. the game has paths not open country.. is this a big deal? again.. I doubt many will care.. but it sure breaks the explore thing for me.. and that my favorite part of Skyrim..

My one huge negative is the MINI games.. lock picking is lifted from Elder Scroll games.. (i like it so nothing wrong with it) but there is ward system that locks chests that smacks of Guitar hero or a dance pad game and is timed.. and I HATE it with a passion.. I find it hard and annoying... and in a RPG i cant leave stuff locked.. it really pisses me off. Quick time events .... DO NOT WANT in my rpg's....

SO... is it good? YES!!!!! i have stated my love for Skyrim.. i would give skyrim a 9 of 10... 1 point off for so -so melee combat.. Amalur ( so far) is a 8 of 10 too... 1 point off for the fact im fighting tweedel dumb and dee.. and 1 HUGE point off for some min games....If it stays that high ( or goes higher) with more play.. only time will tell. There is A DEMO for the PC people.

BUT for the hardcore RPG people.. this is best described as single player WOW with combat from any of the million action RPG's out for consoles. This combat is going to please the Skyrim combat haters (and the console game players)... but the hardcore i think will find it way to easy.. and unless it changes... not much strategy. In all honesty after reading all the Skyrim VS Amalur... I would say its more like FABLE/FABLE II vs Amalur they have taking some of the best ideas from alot of games and used them.. (worked for WoW).

Other thoughts: cartoony, but not overly.. mash up of skills and skill building.. the standard tree. then fate cards.. and "feats" (like fallout 3... im sur they use a different name). Crafting like Skyrim.. but easier.. restrictions on what you can carry... but its strictly a number not weight.. so you have a backpack that carries 70 items that all you can carry.. TONS of side quests.