Kingdom’s of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a simple, open world, RPG. And I’ll continue the review in a second, I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’m totally biased towards liking this game. I played the original on the Xbox 360, I picked up the game for like twenty dollars brand new, had no idea what the hell it was but I was like fuck it, it’s cheap, and I want something new to play. I fell in love with the game, I played the fuck out of it. Then when I heard about this remake I damn near had an O face, and that’s not from shock; buckets, absolute buckets. And if you’re young enough that you don’t understand that, then don’t ask people, it’s not appropriate and don’t repeat it either. So yes, I was already primed to enjoy the game so keep that in mind for the rest of this review.
Anyways, back to the actual review. You play as a custom character, you got a choice between two types of humans and two types of elves, granted they’re not called elves or humans but that’s what they are to the average person. The correct answer though is the dark elves because they’re the cutest. You can choose your name and your sex as well. And the best thing is, you choose it because you’re DEAD, they’re carting your corpse around, and they’re just now looking at it to put it’s information on a sheet before they dump it. Yeah, fucking awesome isn’t it? Now remember this is a remake of an old game, it’s graphics are better looking, but they haven’t changed the style, it’s very cutesy and colorful and bright, and I love it, then it gets dark and dirty and that’s fun too. I… I’ve already put too many innuendos into this, sorry.
You aren’t just a corpse that’s been found, no, these dwarves have built this weird thing called “The Well” which is a bunch of crystals, not even in the shape of a well, but select souls come to it for… reasons unknown and The Well creates a body for the soul, that’s how your body came to be. Most of the time though The Well has simply created bodies, but they’re brain dead because the soul doesn’t actually enter the body, it may have also possibly created Goerta which are skeleton enemies basically. Your body is the first and only one that’s been created properly AND the soul has reattached itself to it. They’re doing this in hopes to bring back people from the dead to conquer death, but it’s not just to help people live nice happy lives, it’s actually because there’s a massive war going on. The war is between the ‘mortal’ creatures like those named so far, and the ‘Fae’, Fae are fairy creatures, the issue with this is wild fae are just monsters but when people say the Fae they mean these OTHER type of elf like creatures. They live extremely long lives and when they die, their souls go somewhere and come back with, at least it seems, most, if not all, of the knowledge from their prior life. This has made their race extremely smart, calm, amazing mages, and one with the natural world, and because of this they don’t really understand the mortal races. Well some of the Fae have become corrupted and started slaughtering some of their own kind, and then turn around and started a war with the mortals. The other Fae kinda just stepped back to try and figure out what to do, while leaving the mortals to fight their corrupted kin because… well, Fae are kinda dicks. So The Well is the mortal’s hope to fight the corrupted Fae, because if the mortals can be reborn over and over they can constantly go back to fight better just like the corrupted Fae have been doing, and this in turn might turn the tides of the war in the mortals favor, though I don’t know if they could still be called mortals at that point since that’s exactly how the Fae function and they’re considered immortal, but that’s logistics and I don’t care that much. However, you are the first… and only success as The Well and the laboratories dedicated to it are wrecked by the corrupted Fae not long after you wake up. Now, the world follows it’s fate and everyone alive has a fate, as in this is a literal force. There are people who can read it called Fateweavers, they can see others’ fates often telling people exactly when and sometimes how they’ll die, and they’re always right. They can see parts of peoples’ futures in order to do this, however, you’re a blank slate to them, you don’t have a fate anymore because your fate was that you were suppose to and did actively die, you were never suppose to come back. Because of this, you have no fate, there is no cosmic plan for you, you can do as you want, and you can change the fate of others, and even kill Fae, permanently. This is your story, to make or break as you see fit, cause fate has nothing on you, you perfect little gem, or incredibly rude asshole, whichever.
Okay let’s get some basic stuff out of the way, the art again, is cute and colorful, but it’s not particularly realistic. The music is fantastic, all of the characters are fully voiced, but there’s not a lot to be said to anyone. Named characters have significantly more dialogue, most significant characters are related to side or main quests and/or are shop owners, the rest are listed as “Town Name Citizen”. You can get a few lines of dialogue out of the citizens when you try to talk to them, but everyone else has a menu that pops up where you can select things to ask about to them. This sometimes causes issues for shop owners which is weird, it didn’t happen in the Xbox 360 version, the shop keepers have a button that pops up when you bring up their dialogue window, you have to push the button to go into the shop menu, however that button doesn’t pop up until the normal dialogue menu shows up and sometimes the game glitches out and it just doesn’t pop up and you have to save, quit, and load it back up again to get it to show up. No idea why it does that, not a serious issue, but it’s annoying, thankfully it’s not common. I suspect they will figure out what’s causing it and patch it before too long.
Combat is pretty simple, you attack with two different weapons that you equip as a primary or secondary weapon. Each one has it’s own combo and special moves, though honestly you can just use the basic combo the entire game, even on the harder difficulties. You do, however, need to dodge and/or block with a shield or you’re going to die. Dodging can cause you to get hit and take damage or you can completely negate it by, well, dodging, duh. If you block you almost always take some damage, shields block certain amounts of damage and negates a percentage on top of that, however you can also block right when an enemy is about to hit and cause the attacker to get stunned. You can also use magic, traps, or other abilities when you unlock them. I’ll be talking about that shortly though.
The RPG mechanics, are unique as well. In this, you don’t chose, oh I want to be a ranger, oh I want to be a paladin, oh I want to be a mage and are forced to play the game as that the whole time. No, instead you get three trees: Sorcery, Might, and Finesse. Every level you get three points that you can distribute between these three trees however you want. As you put up points into each of these trees, you unlock Fate cards, you can switch which one you have equipped at any time you want. Fate cards provide you various benefits. There’s a various types of cards, there is a set for each of the three trees, the more points you put into any of those trees the more cards you unlock in that set, each one you unlock is just a stronger version of the prior ones. For instance, if you put a bunch of points into Might, you get a card from the start called Brawler, which gives you a bonus to both melee damage and block efficiency, but as you level up and put more points into Might, you eventually unlock the second level might card which is Fighter, which gives you a higher bonus to those stats, making you a better Might character. However, there aren’t just cards for singular trees, you also unlock ones for dual trees, like a Might and Finesse character can get the card called Duelist which gives you a bonus to both melee and ranged attack damage. And there’s even a tree for someone who keeps all three equal. You can respec your points at Fate Weavers, allowing you to change how your character plays completely and giving you access to different fate cards so you can figure out how you want to play. The card system is really interesting to me since you can choose any card you have unlocked and equip it to get a different bonus as needed. However, you can only level up so much, you can’t max out every tree sadly even though I really, really want to do that. This is the most complicated sounding thing in the game, but it’s really not, it’s pretty simple but it’s fairly unique and made the game more fun, to me anyways.
Now, I mentioned how I’d talk about spells, traps, and abilities; each one is tied to a specific tree. Spells are tied to, and this is going to shock you, the Sorcery tree. Traps and grenades are tied the Finesse tree to go with rogues/rangers. Lastly, other abilities are tied to the Might tree, namely things like War Cry and other things that give you temporary perks in battle or are special attacks that do a lot of damage. All of these abilities are tied to your Magic points, yes even traps. Every time you level up you get more health and magic based on how many points you have in each tree, granted I don’t know exactly how that works as the game doesn’t readily explain that bit, it’s just some background stuff. Not only are spells and the like tied to the trees you select from, but also your armor and weapons, higher level items often require certain amount of points in one or more of the trees. The weapons are kind of tied to certain trees as well, because each tree has a few weapons that they can upgrade the damage to. Daggers, feyblades (think tonfas but made of guillotine blades), bows, and light armor are all tied to the Finesse tree. Great swords, long swords, hammers, heavy armor, and shields are all tied to Might builds. And lastly, Sorcery builds get sceptres, staffs, chakrams (think Xena: Warrior Princess), and robes. Daggers and feyblades let you do sneak attacks, with daggers letting you outfight stealth kill some enemies because of that it’s always good just to have a pair of daggers as a secondary weapon simply for stealth assassinations, beyond that I prefer long swords as they’re fast and strong but I’m never a mage so I’m biased.
There are some problems with the game, which are inherent and they won’t be fixed as it’s just part of the base game. The first one, a big one, at least at the start of the game, you have next to no inventory space. Later on, you can get a home which has a chest where you can hold three hundred items, you can only hold like seventy or eighty items on your person at first, you can eventually buy backpacks from a small handful of vendors throughout the game, each backpack gives you an extra ten spaces for your inventory, even when you’ve bought them all you still don’t have enough carry weight. Your items break over time, but they don’t disappear they just do one damage or block next to no damage which means you need to switch them out, repair them, or pay to have them repaired. At the start of the game it’s hard to afford to have a merchant fix them, later on it’s super easy. However, you do find tons of weapons and armor in the game so you can always just switch to new stuff and throw away broken gear if you don’t have enough room for new stuff. Regardless, there’s just never enough room in your carry weight and I HATE item degradation just in general I’ve never enjoyed that mechanic in any game. That’s it, that’s pretty much all my issues. I love everything else about the game because it’s Kingdom’s of Amalur. They didn’t change anything other than making the graphics and, I assume, audio better. They’ve tweaked some other things but it’s still the same game that I loved on the X360, so obviously I still love it.
Overall it’s a simple but a fucking awesome game. You have a few problems at the start but they don’t matter as much later in the game and there are ways around the problems. There’s no real red flag problems, however I’m biased, I loved the original and this is effectively the exact same game, just make to look and sound a little better. This is pretty good for younger teens and older, and it’s way of leveling up is really interesting. I’m all for the game, clearly.
A review copy of the game was provided by the publisher, THQ Nordic.
darkmikasonfire awards Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.