To anyone who’s a recovering WoW-holic would know that sensation. That feeling that keeps you staring at the computer screen and wondering if this is a good idea. Years were used staring at colored numbers floating all around. Virtual spells created a dazzling and deadly spectacle. Gold and items exchanged inventories faster than stocks. These siren songs called out to everyone who left that world. Luckily, there’s games that can help us from going back there. Some of them are even fun! Kingdoms of Amalur is one of those.
Jumping into a new world is a fantastic experience. It’s difficult to suppress curiosity, which is what always happens to me when I start a new game. To those who are intimate with sci-fi/fantasy the barrage of terminology within a fictional world are par for the course (I’m looking at you, Dune). The beginning intro is fairly full of them, “Fae, Winter Court, Amethyn, Tuatha Deohn, etc. etc.” But it isn’t hard to learn what the plethora of proper names with a little patience. Thankfully, not much patience is required before you’re immediately thrown into the action!
To start with, you die. Yeah. Not the most heroic way to start the epic journey. But then that allows you to be revived from the dead, and therefore become the Fateless! You have no fate, which means you are given the power to change fate. Which, I have to say, created a very interesting setting for the story and allows the player to give thoughts on the aspect of free choice and whether everything you do is fated to happen. But that kind of stuff is best left for a philosophical discussion – we’re here to save the world!
To do that, you’re given a variety of skills and weapons. Everything is divided up into three trees: Might, Finesse, and Sorcery. Guess which classes are available? Yes, the tired and true Warrior/Thief/Mage classes are heavily tied into this game. It may not be original in terms of skills or abilities, but I found it to be well executed. How so? Well, you can combine your skill points into all three trees.
Every combination has it’s own set of “Destinies,” where bonuses are given based on how many points are spent in which trees. Wanna be a mage that gets up in your enemies face? There’s a destiny for that. How about a fighter that’s both adept at using the bow and the longsword? There’s a destiny for that too. No combination is excluded from getting their own bonuses. And if you ever get bored of playing your overpowered mage, you always have the option to completely refund all your skill/ability points for the small fee of a couple thousand gold.
Thankfully items and gold are quite abundant, I would have to say. At least, with my maxed Mercantile skill it is. I currently have over 9 million gold and without anything that could put a dent in my wallet it only continues to grow as I sell items and explore the world. Which, I must say, is something I enjoy immensely in Amalur. In fact, I’ve explored just about the entire continent of Alfaria and haven’t gotten the least bored of the game. I’m excited to cross the channel that splits between the other half of the Faelands to explore that harsh and unforgiving environment!
Right, I guess that’s something I should point out. After 88 hours of playing this game I’ve only explored the western side of the Faelands. I mean, my style of playing video games probably takes more time than others (in some co-op games like Diablo and Borderlands people get angry about how slow I move through the game because I like to explore every nook and cranny), but I still enjoyed every minute. While I may have overleveled my character exponentially, that hasn’t stopped me from having joy at absolutely massacring the lower level enemies.
Of course, if being overpowered isn’t attractive to you, there’s ways to prevent that at the expense of completing all side-quests in an area the first time you visit and curbing your exploration urges. To me, the fun of exploration is a better method of playing the game than the fluid and varied combat that can quickly get intense versus enemies that match your level. But I digress, there’s many ways to enjoy this game and each and every one of them is viable.
I’ve heard that the game is filled with bugs, a common problem to Western RPGS, but I must have the luckiest gaming career in the world. In every WRPG I’ve played that’s known to have bugs – Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Amalur, etc – have been generally bug free. There’s been the occasional visual glitch, but that’s about it.
I should wrap this up before I start talking about specific parts that have no bearing on the game like how a few of the books are a joy to read. One of them mentioned that one of the forefront wizards that pushed the study of magic forward was a man who had magical flatulence to fly from Pyrderi all the way to the Scholia Arcana Courtyard. This game has quite a bit of lore, more than a few other Action RPGs I’ve played.
Yeah, this game is a mash of Skyrim and World of Warcraft but for those who are like myself, searching for a game that can scratch that itch while having fun, I’m glad to point you to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.More About This Game
Generic in story at times - but executed flawlessly in terms of exploration and combat.