hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Hands-on: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

7:45 PM on 08.18.2011 // Maurice Tan

One of the few action-RPGs that really caught our eye at Destructoid this year was Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Where most games of this genre focus on heavy action and light role-playing elements or heavy role-playing with a somewhat broken combat system, Reckoning seemed like a title that didn't just sound great as a concept, but looked good to boot.

Whereas potential for a game is one thing, being able to give it a go yourself and seeing if it passes the test of a set of critical eyes is another thing altogether. Luckily, Reckoning is set to be on a path that may just surprise the most critical and jaded of action and action-heavy RPG fans.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: 38 Studios, Big Huge Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: February 7, 2012

In a fantasy world thrown into a brutal war, the player dies and is resurrected by the Gnomes' Well of Souls. Conveniently, you receive the breath of life at the cost of all your skills and the ability to remember what you looked like. With a choice between four races and a Mass Effect-like character customization menu, you're ready to create your own destiny.

Not only are you the first to actually be resurrected through the arcane process, but it has torn you free from the tapestry of fate. As you set out on a quest to find out exactly what happened, who resurrected you and who might have more information, the first (single-player) installment in the new IP sets you loose in the world of Kingdoms of Amalur. With five regions filled with large cities, villages, six different factions impacting the world, and around 120 handcrafted dungeons and tons of sidequests, Reckoning is surely not lacking in ambition.

Like in Fable or similar action-RPGs, you can more or less walk around the world and do whatever you want. Whether that be pickpocketing innocents who might get you arrested for committing a crime, creating potions through Alchemy, crafting armor through Blacksmithing, or creating gems you can socket into equipment using Sage Craft, Reckoning is far from the hack & slash game it might have looked like when it was announced.

Destiny is what one might call the class system in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Instead of choosing a class and leveling up stats that fit that particular class, the Destiny system throws this concept on its head. During the game you can put points in one of three categories of combat skills: Might, Finesse, and Sorcery. Different Destinies require a specific combination of sufficient points into these three categories.

For example, an assassin type of Destiny requires a lot of points in the Finesse skill and a mage requires a lot of points in Sorcery. On top of this, there are nine non-combat skills to develop such as Detect Hidden, Persuasion (the speech skill), Dispel (a magical trap removal minigame), and Stealth.

Given the choice between playing a melee warrior and a mage, I went for the spellcaster to take a closer look at the combat system. One that works surprisingly well for a third-person game of this genre with so much to do in the open world.

When you enter combat, the camera shifts into a slightly different view. Two face buttons are used for your default weapon attacks, with the other two face buttons reserved for dodging and interacting with the word. Every Destiny uses different default combat attacks but once you hold down the right trigger, all the face buttons can be tapped for special abilities and held down for stronger or area-of-effect versions.

This system is pretty deep for the assassin and mage Destinies that were being shown. The mage can tag enemies by holding the right trigger and pressing Y, for instance, and then immolate all the tagged enemies by holding down the Y button. Likewise, doing this with another button can shoot a bolt of lightning while holding it down summons a lightning storm.

It's a system that allows for a lot of different attacks and although it did take some getting used to at first, it should be really easy to get into if you grow into it from the beginning of the game.

In case you become overwhelmed, you can either dodge out of the way or bring up a radial menu for potions that slows down time. If you are someone who likes to really dive into the action with a more combat-heavy character, a few brief QTEs here and there can land you some satisfying finishing moves to boot.

EA's influence as a publisher seems to have gone well beyond simply acting as the distributor for the game, with not just the character creation system taking a lot of nods from Mass Effect but even a conversation system that seems to have been lifted straight out of BioWare's latest RPGs. It's a bit of a shame that the typical "Paragon" and "Renegade" style of answers are still located on the top-right and bottom-right, though.

With talent of the likes of R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane and Ken Rolston on board, my expectations for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning were high but tempered by not having seen much actual gameplay. After witnessing how far 38 Studios and Big Huge Games are taking the amount of things you can do in the world -- from crafting to configuring your skills and choosing up to 40 different Destinies, as well as the combat system that should allow for a huge amount of replayability -- these expectations have risen at least tenfold.

Maurice Tan,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Work noooooooooooooooooo D:
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I had such a awkward time playing Catherine because it shared the same name as my mother....
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Broforce is coming out of early access on the 15th. I had no Idea it was an early access game.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
I have now played all 3 Witcher games. My verdict: Witcher 1 - alright, aged badly, lots of sex. Witcher 2 - good, very short, not much sex at all. Witcher 3 - Excellent in every way.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I really wish MGO had been implemented with free-roam gameplay PMC (clan) setup instead of the standard matchmaking. Imagine roaming bands of PMC's opposing each other on the battlefield. How sexy would that be?
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Playing Shantae & The Pirates Curse, must say I'm loving it for the most part, barring the odd WHERE AM I D: moment
JayDGee avatarJayDGee
Added a humble code to my steam account when I already had the game. Purely because the soundtrack was attached. Now I see it on 2 friends wishlists. They must never know.
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
Okay so what 2, 3, 4 years later I bothered to finish. Now to write up that blog on why FFXIV lost my love by never challenging me and see if it's actually interesting...
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What's up with taking your phone or a magazine to the toilet? Y'all need more fibre in your diet, why should a toilet visit take more than 2 minutes? What are you people doing with your asses.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Finished Momohime/Jinkuro's story in Muramasa last night. I always liked that ending. I didn't know there were more endings, though. On to Kisuke's story!
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
It feels like each day I get up, do the rounds of my bookmarks, and am immediately brought down by kneejerk hate: new stuff, old stuff, last nights stuff, 2moros stuff, a game, a film, TV. Critical thinking is fine, but dang, pure cynicism's winning :(
Vuster avatarVuster
Rpg Maker MV is coming soon O: I mean I am overjoyed but... I JUST GOT USE TO VX ACE!! Either way, I intend to do a form of quick summery of the features on release o:
Flegma avatarFlegma
Nintendo's(?) weekly SMM level picks: [url][/url] - scroll down a bit for the list. I wish I didn't need to type in the level ID myself, though.
Shinta avatarShinta
Metal Gear Online, Day 2. The maps in this game are amazing. Try out all 3 classes, because they're all pretty different. Really getting the hang of the game now.
Jay Escobar avatarJay Escobar
Video game voice actors are threatening to go on strike if EA, Activision, Disney, WB, and others refuse to pay them the necessary bonuses (
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I love how Final Fantasy Record Keeper is making a big deal about being able to unlock FF XII's Vaan. I do get to unlock Ashe though, so that's cool.
gajknight avatargajknight
Just put in my pre-order for Dragon Quest Heroes: The Thing in The Thing with The Thing. Good times, hope it doesn't disappoint! Like I do. With everyone.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
You know you've played a good JRPG when the ending makes you sad...
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -