Behind closed doors at Gamescom 2011, developer Big Huge Games was feeling bullish. "We believe [Reckoning has] the best combat in the RPG genre," we were retold by a representative of the company. Thankfully, they seem to have the goods to back this claim up, with stylish, exquisitely animated combat that rewards timing and combos in a satisfying and challenging way.
Jumping in to play as a warrior class on a PC with an Xbox 360 control pad, we were immediately able to pick up the basics of combat. Our character had two different types of swords, mapped to the X and Y buttons, while roll was available on B. You can also block attacks using the left trigger, and timing this during enemy attacks sends them reeling back--a perfect time to unleash a follow-up blow. There were also special alternate moves that were accessed by holding the right trigger, such as a rage move that was useful when things got a big hectic.
As well as playing the game, we got to hear about Reckoning's interesting approach to classes, which it calls destinies. You start out by creating your character and customising him in detail, but what you don't do is put him into a character class having not played any of the game. Instead, you spend the first hour of the game experimenting with different play styles, and as you level up, you can specialise using the skill tree.
We also got to see a short demo of a specific mission from the game. It's your job to hunt down a character called Templar Octienne, who was somehow involved in bringing you back to life at the beginning of the game. He was found in La Radium, the great library of the gnomes, and after some threatening conversation conducted by a BioWare-like dialogue wheel, battle commenced. The character being used was able to perform some pretty nifty moves, such as raining down arrows from the sky, to see off the multiple White Assassins and take down Templar Octienne by flinging him through one of the library's stained-glass windows.
We got plenty more detail about the game during our visit to the team at Gamescom. There will be five regions in the game, each with a distinct look and feel. This epic world will also house hundreds of side quests, should you want to get distracted. Perhaps the most important fact, though, is that the game launches on February 10 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC--a date confirmed at EA's Gamescom press conference. We hope to have more on the game soon, so stay tuned to GameSpot for more.