Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review

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Well I finally pulled myself away from Amalur. Oh WOW! That's 12 hours of gameplay. MAN I FORGOT TO FEED MY DOG!
But, seriously, I love this game. It's very well designed and totally sucked me in. People keep saying this is a generic RPG, they do not know how wrong they are. It's got it's traditional, somewhat cliche trappings, but that's not always a bad thing.
Cliches can be used to give us a frame of reference to get into the world. And once you get in... WOW!
The combat is SO MUCH fun and totally engaging. Plus I love that the idea of class is BUILT into the narrative, seriously how many games, truly do that?
As to the question of sidequests, I've built two characters so far, one is moving through the main quest the other is for free roaming and exploring. And I haven't gotten bored with either yet.

So, what you said in your review is pretty good, though could have been more informative, but you might want to work on your delivery a tiny bit; lines came off as forced and a little Shatner-y.

Even though the game looks generic as hell and the story is so cliche that it actually hurts (praising Salvatore for a story? Lolwut? He couldn't write a good story to save his own life) I will sill buy it and play it because I really enjoyed the gameplay. And that's the most important thing in games.

Faerillis:
So, what you said in your review is pretty good, though could have been more informative, but you might want to work on your delivery a tiny bit; lines came off as forced and a little Shatner-y.

There is absolutely no such thing as excessively Shatneresque

Its a cartoony action game. No thanks.

Why is no one talking about the wide parts of the game you don't get if you buy it used?

What's really annoyed me about this game and has put me off buying it full price is the shield.

Who the fuck thought it was a good design choice to have your shield simply disappear when you're not using it, every time I used it in the demo I was just instantaneously dragged out of any immersion I felt because it was so damned stupid.

I played the demo, a fun time was had. It has the things I seem to like such as nice free flowing combat (for a rogue at least), an art style that doesn't have its mouth wrapped around the cock of photo-realism, and seems large and open world within reasonable constraints of 'on disc' content.

I'm looking forward to it, but I understand it won't be everyone's cup of tea. I've also had the benefit of not hearing its developer jerk his game and himself off in the face of the general public.

Sonic Doctor:
SNIP

DA2 was undoubtedly exceedingly flawed, and got glowing reviews. And whilst I did like DA:O, that's not why I didn't like DA2. It was the waves of enemies, the hideous redesign (seriously mages would be knackered after being in combat for any length of time), and a mish-mash of other stuff.

Regardless of that, it was rushed, and it showed. Yet it still got an exceedingly high mark. It's in the same genre. I can't drop it, because a reviewer's ability to review games in a way relevant to me is based on all his previous recommendations, and I can't emphasize enough how much I hated DA2.

TokenRupee:

They're not exactly a necessary evil. I'd say Ubisoft would fall more under that since they have stupid decisions too, but don't go to great lengths like EA. Besides, there are better publishers who try to cater to their audience rather than instill disgust with their decisions.

Just buy and play the games you want to play. Who cares who publishes it.
I mean you'd rather buy it off steam, via valve?

Valve a company who ships incomplete games to stores
a company that charges ridiculous amounts for meaningless cosmetic items (TF2)
a company that is incapable or unwilling to deliver products on a set time table (see HL2 Episode 3).

The only thing about Steam and Valve is that they've been around for a while, and they give the illusion of control. But I'm sorry there's no illusion when I pay 50 dollars for a game, get home, and discover my game doesn't work because in fact I only have 95% of the game and I need to download the remainder via some DRM program with a storefront. And then I think, "did I just pay 50 dollars for a broken product? Yes, I think I did."

Hasn't seen enough to adequately place judgment, does so anyways.

It looks like it could be okay but I know they're gonna fuck it up.

Akalabeth:

TokenRupee:

They're not exactly a necessary evil. I'd say Ubisoft would fall more under that since they have stupid decisions too, but don't go to great lengths like EA. Besides, there are better publishers who try to cater to their audience rather than instill disgust with their decisions.

Just buy and play the games you want to play. Who cares who publishes it.
I mean you'd rather buy it off steam, via valve?

Valve a company who ships incomplete games to stores
a company that charges ridiculous amounts for meaningless cosmetic items (TF2)
a company that is incapable or unwilling to deliver products on a set time table (see HL2 Episode 3).

The only thing about Steam and Valve is that they've been around for a while, and they give the illusion of control. But I'm sorry there's no illusion when I pay 50 dollars for a game, get home, and discover my game doesn't work because in fact I only have 95% of the game and I need to download the remainder via some DRM program with a storefront. And then I think, "did I just pay 50 dollars for a broken product? Yes, I think I did."

I care about keeping good companies in business and letting bad companies fall to the wayside, yes.

Yes, Valve isn't the best and it may not be fair to force Steam onto people who would rather just buy the disc, but they don't charge you for it. Steam is free.

Susurrus:

Sonic Doctor:
SNIP

DA2 was undoubtedly(I and other people that like the game provide doubt, but that's beside the point, "undoubtedly" is a qualifier of somebody who believes they have facts that everybody agrees upon. The problem is you don't provide facts you provide opinions.) exceedingly flawed, and got glowing reviews. And whilst I did like DA:O, that's not why I didn't like DA2. It was the waves of enemies(Is an opinion, I never had problems with the waves I was fine with it, I can't see it as a negative in my opinion), the hideous redesign (Again, an opinion, I loved the redesign because I found Origins to be a greatly messed up game, so DA2 was refreshing. Combat was finally free and fluid, meaning I had full control, leveling was actually fun and rewarding and I actually could see myself actually getting more powerful each level, the graphics looked better, the story was manageable, the characters were actually interesting and different from each other{unlike the carbon copy cliches of each other that the DA:O cast was for the most part})(seriously mages would be knackered(That all comes down to how you play and manage things. I never had a problem with that, my mage outlasted all enemies, because I managed things properly and had plenty of potions to keep my powers going, and the added bonus of the Spirit Healer specialization that was great extra padding for keeping me and my group alive) after being in combat for any length of time), and a mish-mash of other stuff.

Regardless of that, it was rushed, and it showed. Yet it still got an exceedingly high mark. It's in the same genre. I can't drop it, because a reviewer's ability to review games in a way relevant to me is based on all his previous recommendations, and I can't emphasize enough how much I hated DA2.

I added some things that need to be said about your comment. The only legitimate flaw in the game is the lack of a variety of dungeons, but even that actual flaw didn't bother me and I didn't even notice it until people started pointing it out, and I was already through 75% of the game without seeing it.

I guess the rest of the game was just so awesome to me that it overshadowed that actual flaw.

DA2 on the professional end(shown on Metacritic) got 137 positive, 34 mixed, and 1 negative, and that is added up all the reviews 360, PS3, and PC. It got plenty of non-positive reviews for people to make a decision on the game. The reason the user score on Metacritic is so bad, is because the vast majority of people giving negative scores, don't know how scoring systems work when reviewing, and they rabidly and wrongly gave the game 0s when such a score is only reserved for games a that are so bad and glitched up, they literally can't be played, even 1s and 2s are invalid as well. Considering how such scoring is suppose to work, and considering legitimate gripes about the game, the lowest score a person can give the game if they didn't like it, is a 3, but even that is a stretch.

The user review scores on Metacritic really do show why the professional reviewers are called professionals.

But really, this isn't the place to discuss this, if you want to really get into a talk about this, message me, or start a thread about it(though DA2 argument threads have been done too much as it is).

The vast majority of reviewing and how to review is based on opinion, one man's awesome mechanic is another man's misery mechanic. And opinion on good things can outshine the bad, and if the bad things are truly and "actually" bad, they can over shadow the good.

Again, PM, or another thread.

"...is a beautiful game"

Uh... Bullshit. It isn't beautiful. It has shit textures and a shit-ton of object pop-in and an extremely low polygon count even on characters. It looks like it was put together in 2006.

This isn't a review, this is a love letter.

Recently there's been a lot of debate on piracy (as usual...) and one common thread is that people want demos. There's plenty of arguments that all you need are reviews. Well, if all the reviews of Reckoning are like this, then I can see a pretty solid argument why that theory is idiotic. I love when Metacritic review scores are 8+ and the user scores are like 4. Besides one or two vote bombings, that discord is exactly why reviews are not a worthwhile source to determine whether you're going to like the game or not.

And now I have the joy in saying, it's better on PC. They give you ten ability slots in the PC version of the game, plus the radial menu for potions. I really enjoyed the demo of this game by the way, can't wait to buy it.

Wolfram01:
"...is a beautiful game"

Uh... Bullshit. It isn't beautiful. It has shit textures and a shit-ton of object pop-in and an extremely low polygon count even on characters. It looks like it was put together in 2006.

This isn't a review, this is a love letter.

Recently there's been a lot of debate on piracy (as usual...) and one common thread is that people want demos. There's plenty of arguments that all you need are reviews. Well, if all the reviews of Reckoning are like this, then I can see a pretty solid argument why that theory is idiotic. I love when Metacritic review scores are 8+ and the user scores are like 4. Besides one or two vote bombings, that discord is exactly why reviews are not a worthwhile source to determine whether you're going to like the game or not.

Then get the demo?

Wolfram01:
"...is a beautiful game"

Uh... Bullshit. It isn't beautiful. It has shit textures and a shit-ton of object pop-in and an extremely low polygon count even on characters. It looks like it was put together in 2006.

This isn't a review, this is a love letter.

Recently there's been a lot of debate on piracy (as usual...) and one common thread is that people want demos. There's plenty of arguments that all you need are reviews. Well, if all the reviews of Reckoning are like this, then I can see a pretty solid argument why that theory is idiotic. I love when Metacritic review scores are 8+ and the user scores are like 4. Besides one or two vote bombings, that discord is exactly why reviews are not a worthwhile source to determine whether you're going to like the game or not.

I actually think the game looks great and I don't think the review was touting it's appearance in terms of graphical ability, but on aesthetics. The aesthetic has little to do with polygon counts and textures. The game just looks... pretty.

It's bright and colourful.

kyosai7:

Then get the demo?

First off, that is where my opinions on this game stem from.

Secondly, a very, very small portion of games have demos.

Daystar Clarion:

I actually think the game looks great and I don't think the review was touting it's appearance in terms of graphical ability, but on aesthetics. The aesthetic has little to do with polygon counts and textures. The game just looks... pretty.

It's bright and colourful.

Well, fair enough. It is bright and colourful, I'll give it that. I wrote a review of the demo on my blog, which I got put on probation for linking to before so I'm not going to do that here... (if interested, there's a link in my profile) but anyway, this is my thoughts on the game, graphically (plus conclusion):

Aesthetically, the game is alright. So far, it has a pretty consistent design scheme and everything fits pretty well. Graphically, however, the game is a disapointment. It looks rather dated, kind of washed out, like there's too much bloom effect. I had to force 4xMSAA through Catalyst to be able to watch cutscenes, otherwise it was a blank screen with voices. Even so, aliasing is definitely present.

As I mentioned before, the game is a lot like Fable, but I also think that graphically, they took a lot of inspiration from World of Warcraft. Everything is cartoony and overly proportioned. I don't think this is bad on it's own, but my problem is that the game also has an extremely short draw distance, so textures keep popping in as you run, and objects distort to get slightly more detailed which I find very noticeable in outdoor areas. I hope they optimize the graphics for PCs much better at final release, because currently it runs like a direct Xbox port. My GPUs were practically at idle the entire time, holding a solid 60 fps.

I don't expect every game to push the limits of graphics, and especially not multi-platform releases, but I did expect more than this game offered. Screenshots look ok for the most part, but if I can direct your attention to details, just look at how grass is only showing for a few meters around my character. It's not just terrain, either, but NPCs will pop in too. I recall approaching a group of small hostile creatures - little balls with arms and legs - but at a distance they looked like floating wisps or something. Only when I got close did their legs and arms show up, as well as a proper body. Perhaps I'm a spoiled PC gamer, but I really hope that these issues are either fixed for release, or else worst case scenario able to be modded via a config file or the like.

All in all, I can't really say I'm looking forward to release. I'm definitely not putting my money down until after reading some final reviews and watching some gameplay clips. I think there is potential here, but they need to be able to draw the player in much earlier in the game with something exciting. On top of that, I'd like to see some interface and menu adjustments as well as more demanding graphic options, even just increased draw distances and some anti aliasing.

So in other words it's almost, but not quite, as good as Dragon Age 2?

image

Not to sound like a total graphics whore but im really not digging the visuals here, they look flat and uninteresting. That bad kind of cartoony that reminds me of the less interesting areas of WoW Circa 2006.

TokenRupee:
I care about keeping good companies in business and letting bad companies fall to the wayside, yes.

Yes, Valve isn't the best and it may not be fair to force Steam onto people who would rather just buy the disc, but they don't charge you for it. Steam is free.

Good and bad is a matter of perspective.

EA's been criticized for Project 10 Dollar, which requires people who buy used games to pay an extra 10 dollars to access all the content.

But with Steam you cannot even buy or sell used games.

I've heard people criticize EA for a lack of, or poor, customer support.

Valve doesn't even support their customers on the 360, citing some xboxlive practice as the excuse for not providing their left4dead customers with the same content the PC cusomters have received.

And I've also heard people criticize EA as not the best place to work.

But at the same time, EA's hired a lot of people who are right out of school, giving them the experience they need to obtain work from other studios.

So there's two sides to every perspective.
With EA I bought Battlefield 1943 and 3, the first I never played a game of because the thing could never connect but the second one worked fine. I also bought Deadspace and Mirror's Edge, the latter of which was one of my favourite games this console generation.

With Valve I bought incomplete products from the store, some because they required steam, and some because as a company they've failed to finish their own project (Episode3). They released a sequel to a game before releasing promised free content, then made excuses when they didn't support their console customers (which I'm sure had NOTHING to do with the fact that microsoft refused to allow Steam on xbox, harhar). They also seem to be making less and less single player experiences.

I'm all for supporting good companies but if I want to support, what is in my mind, a good company I'll go to GOG.com, a digital distribution service that lets you download and own COMPLETE games with NO DRM.

Akalabeth:

TokenRupee:
I care about keeping good companies in business and letting bad companies fall to the wayside, yes.

Yes, Valve isn't the best and it may not be fair to force Steam onto people who would rather just buy the disc, but they don't charge you for it. Steam is free.

Good and bad is a matter of perspective.

EA's been criticized for Project 10 Dollar, which requires people who buy used games to pay an extra 10 dollars to access all the content.

But with Steam you cannot even buy or sell used games.

I've heard people criticize EA for a lack of, or poor, customer support.

Valve doesn't even support their customers on the 360, citing some xboxlive practice as the excuse for not providing their left4dead customers with the same content the PC cusomters have received.

And I've also heard people criticize EA as not the best place to work.

But at the same time, EA's hired a lot of people who are right out of school, giving them the experience they need to obtain work from other studios.

So there's two sides to every perspective.
With EA I bought Battlefield 1943 and 3, the first I never played a game of because the thing could never connect but the second one worked fine. I also bought Deadspace and Mirror's Edge, the latter of which was one of my favourite games this console generation.

With Valve I bought incomplete products from the store, some because they required steam, and some because as a company they've failed to finish their own project (Episode3). They released a sequel to a game before releasing promised free content, then made excuses when they didn't support their console customers (which I'm sure had NOTHING to do with the fact that microsoft refused to allow Steam on xbox, harhar). They also seem to be making less and less single player experiences.

I'm all for supporting good companies but if I want to support, what is in my mind, a good company I'll go to GOG.com, a digital distribution service that lets you download and own COMPLETE games with NO DRM.

I just wanted to point out, that from memory: Valve wasn't giving out extra content on Xbox because Microsoft does not allow free content to go through Live. Valve wasn't charging for all this stuff, so they said that they weren't going to just charge people on xbox because MS was going to make them. That's why they didn't get more content.

MS is very controlling of their products. They probably would not allow steam onto the consoles. It would not suprise me if that was the case.

Frizzle:
I just wanted to point out, that from memory: Valve wasn't giving out extra content on Xbox because Microsoft does not allow free content to go through Live. Valve wasn't charging for all this stuff, so they said that they weren't going to just charge people on xbox because MS was going to make them. That's why they didn't get more content.

Considering that I've downloaded free DLC for Split/Second I really have to question the validity of those claims. And even if that's not the case, is it a crime to put the content on the 360 for some minimal charge?

I mean they're charging like 40 dollars (or is it pounds?) for a freaking hat for Team Fortress. But they have some morale code which forbids them from putting map packs onto the 360 for those customers who CHOSE to spend the cash? Why is it okay to give players the option to buy meaningless shit but not the option to buy map packs? Who cares if the content is free on one platform but not the other.

I don't buy it whatsoever. It's probably no different than EA pulling their games from Steam because of some sort of DLC-delivery issue. They're both blaming the respective distribution services because they're competitors and because they don't want to play by their rules.

MS is very controlling of their products. They probably would not allow steam onto the consoles. It would not suprise me if that was the case.

Of course they wouldn't. Valve has been advocating cross-platform compatibility for a long time, though frankly I think it's just because they want to get steam onto the consoles. They want a piece of everyone's pie basically.

Akalabeth:
Snip for length

MS is very controlling of their products. They probably would not allow steam onto the consoles. It would not suprise me if that was the case.

Of course they wouldn't. Valve has been advocating cross-platform compatibility for a long time, though frankly I think it's just because they want to get steam onto the consoles. They want a piece of everyone's pie basically.

I think I agree with you there. I know it sounds like I'm defending Valve, but I think cross-platform is better for the consumer anyway. If it happened would Valve get a larger chunk of money in their pockets? Probably. But how I see it is: It doesn't matter if a company makes more money off of it, as long as it's better for the consumer (strictly speaking of video games here).

I think there are probably a few companies that would stand to lose some money if things were more open. Having a closed system (including Steam) keeps people paying to you, so you don't have to innovate or offer a better product. I think that hurts us in the long run.

In an effort to keep a little on topic (since i started this) - I played the demo of KoA, and I thought it was awesome. Yes there were bugs etc, but had it come out at the same time as Skyrim, I would have totally picked KoA. As it stands, SSX is coming out in like a week and change, and I really want that game. So KoA will have to wait, unfortunately. That and college is eating my soul :)

I have one issue. The combat was ok and I enjoyed the scenery, but when I play rpgs like that with a player character instead of a set group of people I've been spoiled. I need a group of companions to collect to sort of get me into the game and from there I get more invested in the story and the world.

If I can have that, then I will give it a chance. Otherwise, I won't enjoy it no matter how awesome it probably is.

ZeroMachine:
This is one of those strange times where I can't even come close to comprehending why the game is liked so much.

The combat is fun, yeah, but the universe, to me at least, felt so dull and "been here, done that" that I wasn't drawn in even a bit.

thats exactally how I felt....with skyrim

I may pick this up if I ever get the chance

Wolfram01:
"...is a beautiful game"

Uh... Bullshit. It isn't beautiful. It has shit textures and a shit-ton of object pop-in and an extremely low polygon count even on characters. It looks like it was put together in 2006.

.

so? a little styalisation can go a long way

like Darksiders, plot and charachters were dismal but GOD did it look gorgeous, not on a technical level but on a purley styalised/artistic level

anyway textures/polygons aside that doesnt mean it cant look great...styalised graphics often look better in their own way long term compared to "realistic"

I don't understand why this game is considered 'pretty' in many reviews. From all I've seen it looks pretty generic with nothing sticking out in the visual department. Or maybe I'm just missing a distinctive style, because it all looks like Phantasyworld 101 to me.

That said I'll still give this one a chance to convince me once the price drops. After I've played the 10th sequel to something it's time to get invested in a new IP.

I found the demo to just be a mish-mash of different games, creating a clunky game with graphic styles that do not fit with the type of story being told.

Are we now saying the full game is completely different from the demo?

It's an okay game, all things considered. It doesn't rock my socks, but it's fairly decent nonetheless. The problem is that while the art design is competent, it's fairly generic. The story does provide occasional gripping or tantalizing tidbits, but it's presented in such a boring and lifeless way that I found myself pressing X to skip entire dialog trees without having the least bit of care in the story.

The only above-average element in Amalur is the combat. That's literally it. Everything else is just plain competently executed. I'd say the biggest disservice Amalur did to itself was sticking to its initial MMO roots. The overall level design screams of instanced areas, and limiting the playing field to smallish valleys and canyons is a frankly outdated strategy in 2012. It makes Amalur feel like a runner or pedestrian's version of RAGE, which isn't exactly glowing praise.

I'd say it's only worthwhile if you found yourself digging Fable III's combat more than its story and if you don't mind blasting through quests without the least bit of understanding of the plot's contrivances. I've read some R.A. Salvatore in the past (mostly the Dark Elf Trilogy as a teenager) and I can recognize a lot of his quirks. Everything's exhaustively detailed and explained, but the overall feel of the world is fairly turgid.

Skyrim manages to make me care about my character and his place in the province's turmoils. It manages to paint a clear picture of its universe through books and level design, with the occasional NPC providing more details. The problem with Amalur is that literally every ounce of lore is delivered through the dialog system, using entries that are frequently redundant.

There's a key difference between creating a living, breathing world and just flat-out dumping lore on the player with what's fundamentally an indifferent attitude towards its own back story. This is something Salvatore and, I suspect, the other lead or secondary writers to the project, never grasped adequately.

Thanks for the review. Im actually kinda surprised, I had been following this game since its announcement and was preparing for disappointment. A refreshing change. :)

However with its initial bugs, and the fact their is sure to be DLC down the line, I'll wait for the inevitable "GOTY/Collectors edition" to come out with all of it on their. Like what I did with L.A. Noire.

I still have dozens of quests to complete in Skyrim, at least two hundred hours or more before I might begin to feel some boredom(thats when I wait for its DLC^^) When I get tired of Sword and Sorcery, I just downloaded all the DLC for New Vegas so Im poised for about another hundred or so hours exloring all that.

Thanks for the review. Im actually kinda surprised, I had been following this game since its announcement and was preparing for disappointment. A refreshing change. :)

However with its initial bugs, and the fact their is sure to be DLC down the line, I'll wait for the inevitable "GOTY/Collectors edition" to come out with all of it on their. Like what I did with L.A. Noire.

I still have dozens of quests to complete in Skyrim, at least two hundred hours or more before I might begin to feel some boredom(thats when I wait for its DLC^^) When I get tired of Sword and Sorcery, I just downloaded all the DLC for New Vegas so Im poised for about another hundred or so hours exloring all that.

If I were to buy this game, it will be because your user created character doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. It's always annoying to spend a good deal of time on creating only to find out it looks like crap compared to the other character models.

Havoc Himself:
And now I have the joy in saying, it's better on PC. They give you ten ability slots in the PC version of the game, plus the radial menu for potions. I really enjoyed the demo of this game by the way, can't wait to buy it.

Dogs bark, fish swim, yadda yadda.

It's console-town for me (when the price drops, natch.) I'm going to try and enjoy this generation as much as possible in the time remaining. God knows the current... prospects... of the next console generation seem geared towards pushing the PC back on top.

The only real problem I have is the odd behavior of the camera. In combat it sometimes zooms out way to much which makes those fights a bit of a pain. Other than that and the lack of a proper lock on I'm enjoying the game so far.

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