Quantcast
Hands-on: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning  



Hands-on: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning


7:45 PM on 08.18.2011
Hands-on: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning photo



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.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric photo
Review: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
10:00 AM on 11.20.2014





timeline following:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning



6:00 AM on 03.05.2013
Schilling looking to dismiss lawsuit over 38 Studios loan

Curt Schilling has requested a judge throw out the lawsuit against his now-defunct development house. Following the dissolution of 38 Studios, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation accused Schilling and his busine...more



5:40 PM on 05.24.2012
Entire staff at 38 Studios and Big Huge Games laid off

It's a very sad day in the gaming industry, as 38 Studios has laid off its entire workforce -- including Baltimore-based studio Big Huge Games -- due to the financial turmoil the company has been in. That's 379 people suddenl...more



8:00 AM on 05.16.2012
Kingdoms of Amalur dev misses $1.25 million loan payment

Kingdoms of Amalur was hailed by Electronic Arts as a success, partly responsible for the publisher's strong first quarter financial results. Meanwhile, the folks that actually made it are in debt, and the financial future of...more



3:00 PM on 02.29.2012
Kingdoms of Amalur first content expansion hits March 20

Electronic Arts and Big Huge Games announced today the first downloadable content pack for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, "The Legend of Dead Kel", will be arriving on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Steam and Origin beginning March...more



4:00 PM on 02.17.2012
A class guide to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

The piece of Amalur we've seen in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning may only be a slice of the franchise plans for a larger world, but it's pretty damn big already. As with any role-playing game, it can help to know what kinds of...more



11:00 AM on 02.16.2012
ONLY 70 HOURS OF CONTENT?

For most busy adult gamers with busy adult lives, a game that boasts over seventy hours of content is more than enough. For one Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning player, however, it's a travesty that a roleplaying game ...more



2:01 AM on 02.07.2012
Review: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Sometimes, the best way to become a blockbuster videogame is to act like you already are one. That seems to be Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's modus operandi, and the gambit is paying off. Despite the big names attached to th...more



7:00 PM on 01.31.2012
Kingdoms of Amalur gets special GameStop midnight release

Regardless of how you feel about GameStop, you have to admit they have some pretty great promotions and incentives, like what they're doing for the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning midnight release. Three different stores will h...more



5:45 PM on 01.27.2012
38 Studios explains Kingdoms of Amalur online pass

38 Studios has attempted to justify the content being gated behind an online pass in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. When asked why an entire quest line was being held to ransom in exchange for new sales, the developer said it...more



8:40 AM on 01.27.2012
Kingdoms of Amalur hides seven quests behind online pass

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a single-player game, but that hasn't stopped Electronic Arts from cramming an online pass into the game. We knew the pass was going to hide the game's Mass Effect tie-in armor, but now we kno...more




Role-Playing Games

1:45 PM on 11.25.2014
That cool blue Persona Q 3DS XL is now available

Kyle would've written this post about the awesome limited-edition Persona Q 3DS XL but didn't want to quote his own review of the game, so here we are. The GameStop-exclusive system is available as of today in the United Stat...more



1:30 PM on 11.24.2014
Etrian Odyssey gets a Mystery Dungeon crossover

Well, it looks like Atlus and Spike Chunsoft are having another baby. The studios announced a new collaborative project today, Etrian Odyssey and Mystery Dungeon. For those unfamiliar with Mystery Dungeon, it'...more



1:00 PM on 11.24.2014
Atlus announces Etrian Odyssey V

It sure looks like Etrian Odyssey V is a thing that's happening. Atlus teased the upcoming title in the dungeon crawling series today during a Niconico livestream, but little else was revealed. The studio didn't make mention...more



View all Role-Playing Games






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more