I've been pretty interested in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for some time now. As a fantasy fan, the fact that R.A. Salvatore was writing the story and help create the world for a fantasy RPG was exciting. Todd McFarlane bringing his artwork to the game was also pretty intriguing. Add to that the fact that former MLB star Curt Shilling's game studio (38 Studios) was working on the game, and I was definitely interested in seeing what the creative team came up with.
The demo of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning arrived on the PS3, XBox 360 and PC last week, and I spent a good bit of time with it on PS3 last weekend. While the game wasn't exactly what I was expecting, I'm still leaning toward checking it out when it releases on February 7th.
When I say the game wasn't what I was expecting, what I mean is that I was expecting a dark, gritty, gory RPG--something of a cross between the original Dragon Age and the Elder Scrolls series. After playing the demo though, I think Reckoning is a lot closer to the Fable series than those other games. The tone of the game is by no means whimsical, but the presentation is more lighthearted, the character design is fairly cartoonish, and the color palette is much brighter than Dragon Age or Skyrim. It definitely reminds me of Fable.
From a mechanics standpoint, the are also some parallels to Fable. The combat is designed to be simple like in Fable, but Reckoning takes things a step further, and the result feels more like an action game than a tradional RPG, something more akin to God of War. The way weapon and magic wielding compliment one another in combat is very smooth, and combat overall is fun in Reckoning. In fact, the combat was easily the strongest part of the demo for me.
The story in Reckoning seems pretty interesting. You begin as a character who was recently killed, but through some new Dwarven magics, has been resurrected. The beginning of the demo involves an escape from the Dwarven stronghold that is under attack. After that, you get forty-five minutes to roam around the world, take on quests and explore.
One thing I wasn't really impressed with is the menu system in Reckoning. Looking at the various stats for your character, equipping items and paging through quests is just not as smooth as it could be and I felt like the descriptions and stas were too bare bones in that they didn't give me a clear enough picture of my character's status.
The other underwhelming part of the demo was the character creator. There just wasn't a lot of options for races and character appearance. I was really disappointed when I saw that Dwarves were not one of the playable races. I'm hoping that the options in the demo were just limited, and the character options in the final game will be greater, but I suspect that isn’t the case.
I think Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has the potential to be a really solid game. The moment to moment gameplay is fun, so if the story turns out to be good, then the things that bothered me in the demo won't be that big of a deal in the long run. I would definitely recommend downloading the demo and trying it. You can check out the trailer below, and then head to www.reckoning.amalur.com for more info.