22 March 2016 | AbedsBrother
Fantastic, if a little grind-y
A lot of users compare this game to Skyrim, when really it is more like a single-player mix of Torchlight II and Guild Wars 2. Tons of missions, deep crafting, combo-friendly combat, a huge game-world and genuinely interesting lore means a lot of time can be spent in Amalur.
Reckoning is rather like a single-player MMO, if that makes any sense. Looting, crafting and leveling are the primary attractions. There is a ton of loot; putting points into the "detect hidden" skill reveals secret rooms and passageways that have even more loot. You'll want to loot as much as you can, even armor sets that you won't use – put points into blacksmithing, disassemble the armor and weapons you don't want to get the parts, and craft something truly epic. Leveling up provides new abilities, new special moves for weapons. At the end of each leveling session, you get to choose a "Fate Card" with special bonuses. Fate Cards are not class-specific, meaning you can use them to create a warrior mage who equips heavy armor, or an archer can wield heavy weapons, or a thief / rogue who also has some magic. There are dozens of hybrid "Fate Cards." And if you're not happy with how your build has turned out, visit a Fateweaver to "Remix your Fate" and reset your build so you can level up again with your existing points.
There is a story that ties the gameplay together; something about cheating death via the "Well of Souls." The story has some nice twists to it (R.A. Salvatore wrote it), and makes good use classic fantasy tropes like Fae magic, dead pirates, a dedicated warrior faction (the "Warsworn") and many others. It works well, but the main focus is the gameplay. And the game world, which is huge and richly colored. There are a lot of places to explore with side- missions hidden everywhere. The graphics are 2012 era DirectX 9: vibrant, bright, and occasionally low-res. The general comic-book style of the artwork hides some graphical shortcomings. And on the plus side, if you have a less-than-stellar gaming PC, the game will probably run just fine. (Back in the day, I ran it on a 1GB Radeon 6670 without issues). The soundtrack by Grant Kirkhope catches the ambiance nicely. The voice acting is generally good (though your hero is silent, a la Dragon Age Origins).
Not everything is excellent, unfortunately. Combat flows well, encouraging the use of different moves. Despite the many different skills and abilities at my disposal, once I found a way to dispose of mobs, I just stuck to that, and never really tried to change up my attacks. I won't say combat is easy – if you go into an area under-leveled, you'll die fast (even with potions). But once you're comfortable in the system, combat becomes just another chore. Fetch quests are repetitive. All exploration is done on foot – no horses. The dungeons are NOT copy / pasted; there's a lot of variety here. But the missions that use the dungeon and cave levels tend to follow similar patterns. If you try to do a completionist run of Reckoning, you'll need a titanic level of patience and dedication. Inventory management, frankly, stinks. Oh, and jumping. You can't jump, except at prescribed places ("press F to jump").
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a great game if you love messing about in an open world while worrying about plot later. If you're looking for a go-anywhere, do-anything adventure (with the freedom to jump wherever you want), you'll probably be happier with Skyrim. Or online with friends in Guild Wars 2. Sometimes, though, a solitary grind for loot is exactly what you want - and exactly what Reckoning provides.
On DLC: The Weapons and Armor DLC provides three complete weapons sets that are accessible at the start of the game. While great to have, the things you craft will quickly surpass them in quality and effectiveness.
The Teeth of Naros and The Legend of Dead Kel are both large additions to an already massive game. Each provides a new campaign and entirely new areas to explore. Naros in particular is a great piece of DLC. Both have a lot of content in an industry where content-laden DLC are rare. Definitely worth it to get both.
Notes: An EA account is NOT required. Though the game asks for an EA login on startup, you can simply click the X in the corner to skip the login. The game will play and save normally.
The company that developed Reckoning, 38 Studios, went bankrupt in 2013. The only support for the game is what you will find when trawling the forums.