Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning First Look Preview

GDC 2011: We get a taste of combat in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

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Developers 38 Studios and Big Huge Games took the opportunity at this year's Game Developers Conference to show off their new action role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Founded by former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, 38 Studios has assembled a talented cast from across the entertainment industry to bring its primer title to life. These include Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston. We got the chance to peek into their fantasy world during a hands-off demonstration last week.

We began in a crypt, knee-deep in a pile of corpses. All we knew was that our character had recently died. Now, he was alive once more, thanks to the efforts of an excited gnome that had appeared on a balcony overhead. However, the one-sided conversation was cut short as the gnome urged our character--a blond-haired bruiser decked out in a pair of long johns--to arm himself against the crypt's hostile inhabitants. Our character lifted a broadsword from a nearby corpse, and right on cue, he was attacked by a skeleton warrior.

As the two traded blows, the developers explained how they had integrated some traditional action game combat mechanics, such as launcher attacks and enemy juggling, into Reckoning. Each attack from our character was controlled with just one button, with variations in timing determining which attack was used. Our character opened with three quick strikes; then, he performed the same series again and paused slightly after the second hit before attacking again. This triggered an upward slash that lurched the enemy into the air, leaving him vulnerable to more hits.

With the battle concluded, our character collected some loot from the skeleton's body. As it turned out, the fiend had a bit of a leather fetish because he was holding a pair of leather pants, boots, and armor. These items could be compared against our character's current equipment and even equipped from the loot screen if we wanted. The developers made it clear that they wanted all of the customization options found in a traditional role-playing game, but without all the cumbersome menu diving found in other releases.

As we exited the crypt, our pilot skipped us ahead to the city of Didenhil. This scenic forest village served as one of the game's main quest hubs. Here, we received a crash course on item crafting as our character produced a special gem that, when socketed with our broadsword, created a flaming broadsword. To help demonstrate how awesome this new sword was, he chased down an unsuspecting chicken and used it to punt the creature clear across town and into a small pond. It was an impressive shot.

Our pilot cleared out of Didenhil soon after and rolled up on a snoozing, snakelike creature. Hungry for more animal cruelty, he engaged the monster by alternating between his new sword and a large war hammer. Just like our previous encounter, each weapon was controlled with a single button, and our character could alternate between the two midcombo. The serpent responded by vomiting up a few of its offspring to attack us, which we used to try out our magical abilities. Even though our character was more of the warrior type, he still had access to some aggressive spells that complemented his play style. He could deploy waves of jagged rocks to damage nearby attackers, use a shock wave spell to knock back enemies, or call upon a magical hand to pull targets into melee range.

Once the snake was slain, we spied an entrance to a dungeon not far from our position. Once inside, we noticed that our character had been transformed from a warrior to a wizard. And while wizards aren't known for their martial prowess, the developer wanted to make sure that the magician's weapons were just as much fun to use as any other. Our character quickly encountered some kobolds and drew an ornate wooden staff. Cascading waves of ice covered the cave's floor with each swing of this weapon. And if one foe got too close, our pilot would teleport away before tagging it with the mark of flame spell. This spell transformed the feral fiend into a living bomb that could be detonated at will.

Our demonstration ended with a head-to-head battle against a cave troll. Here, our character made use of his second weapon, a pair of flaming chakrams, to engage the monster from a midrange distance. While these deadly rings lacked the reach of the staff, they excelled at quick hits and covered a lot of space on the front and sides of our character. Once the monster had taken enough punishment, our pilot triggered a quick-time event to finish it off. Luckily, he didn't have to worry about failing the event because it only involved tapping one button repeatedly to do additional damage. Onscreen, this manifested as a giant, magical spear being jammed through the troll's skull.

In the aftermath of this encounter, our character leveled up, which meant he had some skill points to spend. In Reckoning, what skills you have unlocked determine what class your character is, and you will be able to switch between classes with the same character. The skill tree itself is broken down into three branches: might, finesse, and sorcery. Each branch dictates a specific play style with numerous pure and hybrid classes available to unlock. While we didn't get to try out Reckoning ourselves, it looks like 38 Studios is making a lot of smart decisions with the design of its game. If you're ready for another high-fantasy romp, then look for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2012.

Discussion

65 comments
slainta
slainta

All right. Just preordered Dark Souls. Then Skyrim will come out. FF XIII-2 to follow. Lord of the Ring. Now this. This is never ending!! I don't have the time!!!!

chechak7
chechak7

End of this year will be Most competition between :----- ---------------------------------+ Elder scroll :skyrim VS king of amular :Reckoning VS witcher 2. ----------------+ call of duty mw3 VS battlefield 3 . +PES 2012 VS FIFA 2012. -------------------- and more

Bombardist
Bombardist

This game looks pretty solid i cant wait looks like there will be atleast two good rpgs this year

Magnius09
Magnius09

It looks like it has potential. I'll keep my eye on this one. Always nice to see new IP.

SHERNEE
SHERNEE

Meh. After seeing trailers and stuff for this game, it seems alright. Nothing fantastical. It's like a poor man's RPG.

AceCometh
AceCometh

With the sheer amount of talent working on brining this project together, I believe that I just might be buying it.

darkassassin911
darkassassin911

@edurod1987: Thank you!!! Everytime I mention that to my friends they just laugh at me :cry: :( . Like when I asked them if there were spiders in Dragon Age. Sadly, most of these types of RPGs seem to have huge insects that creep me out and for that reason I never really go into RPGs though I really wanted to :(

edurod1987
edurod1987

@darkassassin911 I agree with you man I still have nightmares with the spiders from Baldurs gate.

darkassassin911
darkassassin911

Please tell me there are no huge bugs in this game, I hate seeing huge insects in video games.

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

Looks pretty good... the Game Informer issue and this definitely sold me on this game.

reign_man01
reign_man01

am i the only one that thinks this doesnt look like anything special? i think ill be content with elderscrolls skyrim thanks!

richygranholm
richygranholm

The graphics look amazing and the world looks beautiful! Can't wait...hopefully this won't be a game that's announced and forgotten about? I'm looking at you, I Am Alive, Edge of Twilight, Highlander, FF XIII Versus!!

Vertigem
Vertigem

One button to control hits? seriously? Combos? Meaning: Senseless button mashing and repetitive fights, trow in a bit of eye candy and some upgrades and call it an "action" rpg... I'm not convinced.

totto210
totto210

why wait so long? 2012 = world's end lol

dahapr44
dahapr44

Is that a stargate in that first picture? :)

leaf21nut
leaf21nut

Looks promising... You can never have to many RPG's on your wishlist; with this, The Witcher, Skyrim, risen 2... The next 2 years are going to be the happiest of my life!

1valiantknight
1valiantknight

This sounds awesome, and it's got a great team at the helm, I will be following this closely.

Timmy_Gwar
Timmy_Gwar

I don't know. Everything is in place but the screenshots look as bad as WoW graphically and lets not forget that celebrity inspired games have not done well in the past. "What celebrity inspired games?" you say? Exactly.

Hurvl
Hurvl

I hope this game will Spawn more than a yawn.

burstdragon
burstdragon

"a pair of flaming chakrams," These always remind me of Axel. @omidsaint: PC, PS3 and 360

Lars-Douglas
Lars-Douglas

This and the Witcher and the fantasy account in my soul will be pleased 2011-2012.

Blokblok
Blokblok

Scenery looks amazing, I love RPGs, though this games looks promising i still cant wait for Elder Scrolls:Skyrim.

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

WoW...this seems real interesting...

Twiztid-Maddox
Twiztid-Maddox

Was hoping this game would come out this year as promised by their first trailer... :'(

buda666
buda666

This could actually be a pretty sweet game.. nice

GravityDs
GravityDs

This is what happens when REAL talent and people with REAL love for story, art , and gaming come together to make something they can all be proud of. Lets hope that RA salvatore stays on as creator of worlds, Todd Mcfarlane stays on as Art Director, and some of the guys from maxis, bethesda, and blizzard still put in their creative insight for future games. I think this is going to be a wake up call for all RPG developers, especially the JRPG devs, Bioware not included, because they are purely awesome.

witchersanu
witchersanu

looks great place for playing a good rpg game..

jangjoo
jangjoo

Great art graphic and good choice for enjoying.

steelmouth
steelmouth

Todd McFarlane is a mentally disturbed soul (Hell Spawn) so i have all trust in him that the art direction will be awesome

tubaballoonz
tubaballoonz

I'm so glad to see this is coming together as nicely as it is. I've been following it from the beginning. High hopes for this one.

Ozmono1914
Ozmono1914

Dissapointing that all they can talk about is combat.

randar23rhenn
randar23rhenn

Gameplay sounds good... hope the narrative follows suit

devrindare
devrindare

Wooooow it looks amazing, betting for it and waiting for it I love RPGs

ninjabuch
ninjabuch

but need to wait for an another year...... :-(

Dragonslorddieg
Dragonslorddieg

Oh My! looks promising! and picture graphics look awesome

dibooda
dibooda

R.A salvatore is part of the team??!! count this as a must buy fer me...even if the game ends up with a score of 2.5 ^^

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Fables success lmao your funny barighm..You have no clue do you..Elder scrolls was around before fable..Had more success of open world than fable ever had..Kurt schilling made this game to be sort of like elder scrolls an not fable..Please fable was a ok game..Its not a open world game..Its linear compared to elder scrolls type games..You can say two worlds was made to be like elder scrolls..An this is going to be far from any thing generic..Just wait to e3 before making up your mind is all i ask..

tonet666
tonet666

definitely I will play this game. Love the open world RPG.

Barighm
Barighm

I would be more excited for this game if it didn't look so generic. Lots of Action RPG's these days trying to get a piece of Fable's success.