A cohesive narrative and vibrant visuals bring the world of Amalur to life.

User Rating: 8 | Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning PC

As I glance through some other user reviews I see a lot of positive comparisons to some of the leaders of the RPG genre: Skyrim, Guild Wars 2, Fable, Diablo and Torchlight. Personally I saw the closest resemblance to World of Warcraft with its visuals and questing system. However, this is no clone of a game. It has a unique identity that, in part, is made from borrowing successful traits from these other titles. What stands out most strongly to me about Kingdoms of Amalur is its narrative and world lore. It presents fresh ideas and throughout my 95+ hours (including 210 quests completed) with the game it always felt consistent, like the developers shared a unified vision of what they wanted this world to be.

Without discussing any specific plot points, I'll say that things begin on a high note and intrigued me right off the bat with a mystery surrounding who this character you are playing as is. It is a special feat in my mind to be able to have a personalized, voiceless protagonist that you are expected to project yourself into also have a predetermined, very interesting back story of their own. Too often these types of characters are just a boring blank slate.

My sense of progression through this world was wonderful. Your journey begins far from a major warzone and consequently you merely hear stories about it. As you advance closer you begin to see more immediate effects like sons and daughters gone off to fight or altered local economies. Eventually you'll see large refugee camps causing overcrowding problems and burned down towns before reaching the warfront itself. By and large, the settings you visit along the way stand apart from each other both visually and in local story. The exceptions to this are some of the dungeons that look and play very similarly, just with different layouts and quest objectives to fulfill. For a game already so big I think it would have benefited from cutting some of them out.

All dialogue is voice acted and of good quality. There is some noticeable reuse of voice actors among NPCs, but that is excusable for a game of this size. I would rather see good voice actors reused than bad voice actors brought in in greater numbers.

Combat, unfortunately, is just adequate. There isn't enough depth here to stay compelling throughout. There is a nice mix of weapon types that all control very differently, but you're likely to pick one or two early on and stick with them. Magic brings some cool spells to the fray but are very limited in number. Leveling up is a good, customizable system that does gradually add new abilities, but not enough to keep things from going stale. To be clear, I never got to a point of hating battles. However, a combination of things getting too easy by the end, the long length of the game and repetition of enemy types eventually sucked a lot of the enjoyment out of it. I will warn you that it is possible to become over leveled if you do all side quests as you find them. Google "Amalur Wiki overlevel" to find a guide for avoiding this.

I'll wrap things up with a few more minor critiques. Loot is dealt out in such volume that inventory management becomes a chore (similar to many Diabloesque games). Despite this abundance of gear it was surprisingly infrequent how often I found something better than what I was wearing. Also, before long I had more money than things to do with it. I play most games on Normal difficulty, including this one, but didn't find enough challenge here so I suggest playing on Hard to most players. The orchestral score was competently produced but lacked the artistry to make it memorable.

Overall, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a fantastic, expansive experience that could have benefited from seeing its great length reined in a little bit.