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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

I have an unusually hard time verbalizing the name of this game.  As though the mashing of words is an archaic tongue-twister.

As I play I keep making comparisons to other games it seems to have borrowed from.  Many good ideas revised slightly and remixed into an interesting RPG experience.  If i had to compare it to three games in particular I’d have to say: World of Warcraft, Fable and Darksiders.

The art style is bright and varied, the faerie forest is vibrant while the obligatory spider forest is darker.  It has an animated styling reminiscent of cartoons much like World of Warcraft or Darksiders which I prefer over the hyper realistic styling of Dragon’s Dogma and other games.  There’s only so much gritty grey and brown I can stare at before I start to long for flowery fields and brightly decorated dungeons.

You take the role of the ever-silent protagnist in talking scenes as you ask questions and persuade uncertain villagers.  While your opponents appear to have full voice dialog, you are sadly silent through any of the exchanges.  Rarely a cry of pain or a grunt of exertion.  One place I thought this could have been a lot better and likely would have been given more time.

The plot if fairly contrived as are most games, where the protagonist is that one person ruled by exception.  Though not as bad as some games <cough> Fable 3 <cough>.  Though it’s not nearly as linear as other games and so I was able to wander in the woods for nearly three hours last night before I decided it was time to move on.  In that time I completed five quests, joined a Fae house and enlisted in a mercenary company.

Combat isn’t as fluid as I’d love to see, but still varied enough that I can blend magic and swordplay around a bowyer, should i like.  Personally I’m banking on the Battlemage as I’d like to see this “Blink” power they’re advertising in action.  Combat is largely driven by conventional attacks, special abilities and spells.  Varying your attacks can net you bonus experience and periodically you can unleash a ‘fateshift’ where you move faster than your foes and can eliminate them in a Finisher that provides bonus xp.  I just use the power to put the hurt on particularly hard bosses.

The world is expansive looking with little nooks and crannies filled with loot, hidden chests, secret doors, pickable flowers for alchemy and a host of side quests.  Some of the quests come from a discarded note you might find in the town graveyard and another from a wandering wolf-turned-man.

KoA:R (as it’s known) is an interesting gem worthy of giving a play through.  I’d immediately recommend it if you like RPGs and need something to do with the rest of your summer.  It doesn’t appear to be a brief adventure, though I’m having fun.