The demo for Kingdom’s of Amalur krept its way onto the internet yesterday, and you know what… I’m sold. When I first saw images of Amalur last year I was a bit skeptical. I’ve seen many projects developed by “dream teams” that left much to be desired. The team behind Amalur is a bit absurd, with NY Times best selling author R.A. Salvatore, comic god Todd McFarlane, and the Gandalf of gaming, Ken Rolston, all lending their particular talents to the project. The final result is actually something quite special. Heck, with names like that at their “round table“, how could it not be?
Character Creation: Character creation is a rather limited compared to what studios like Bethesda and Bioware have done in recent years, but is by no means inadequate. Players will have the option to choose between four different races, both of which have male and female versions. The character models are well detailed and look great during the game’s in-engine cutscenes. Characters are well animated and fun to look at, and we all know how important that can be.
No Voice: Sadly, Amalur follows in the footsteps of Bethesda and does not feature a voiced protagonist. While this may not seem like a big deal to some players, I very much enjoy hearing my avatar spout lines of dialog ala-Shepard. While the main avatar didn’t utter a peep, the rest of the voice acting was well done, and was by no means distracting (as bad voice acting can often be).
Hack-Slash-Magic Missile: The weapons in the demo all feel great and the stealth combat was especially enjoyable with some very nice execution animation. While some of the designer’s choices were odd, such as the player’s shield appearing out of thin air, the overall feel of the combat is quite good and was highly reminiscent of DA:2’s melee system.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Amalur as much as I did. Let’s just hope the narrative is strong enough to support the boasted 100+ hours of gameplay.
Set in an entirely new universe crafted by New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is brought to life visually through the trademark visceral style of renowned artist and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane. With a sprawling explorable world and deep RPG gameplay at its core, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning adds a new level of intense action combat to the genre and a one-of-a-kind advancement system as players unfold and evolve their destiny through constant character customization. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is being developed under the creative leadership of Ken Rolston, lead designer of the critically acclaimed open-world RPGs Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.
Developed by 38 Studios subsidiary Big Huge Games in Baltimore, Maryland and 38 Studios in Providence, Rhode Island: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will be available on February 7, 2012 in North America and on February 10, 2012 inEurope on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Learn more about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning by visiting www.reckoning.com or follow us on Facebook(http://facebook.com/
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Starting out wanting to hate on this, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite my demo crashing shortly after making my escape from the lab, I actually enjoyed what I’d played up until that point. I thought it was a good move to stray away from a photo realistic art style, which is becoming more common in these fantasy RPGs. Definitely on my radar now… but what’s up with creeping on that LotR font color / texture?
I felt it played a lot like a cross between Fable and Dragon Age….only a little more serious than Fable and a little more ‘cartoony’ than DA. None of this is a bad thing mind you.
Bill, I’m actually guilty of having never played a Fable game! The original Fable was released when I was deeply enthralled with WOW, so I never picked it up. I really did enjoy the “vibe” of Amalur and think it will get even better as the game progresses.
I’ll admit to saying this, but I was never a big fan of the fantasy genre up to the point I actually enjoyed Uwe Boll’s Dungeon Siege movie for the sake of “adding new things, despite how non-sensical that movie’s world was.” The only fantasy-themed game I like was Jade Empire, just for the fact that BioWare attempted to explore the Chinese wuxia genre (on that front, the sad part that plagues the fantasy genre for both the Eastern and Western worlds ends up being “You see one of them, you more or less have seen all of them.” The only other thing I never liked about the wuxia genre is you’re more or less expected to understand all of the ancient Chinese history, and they never bother cluing you in on WTF is going on.)
Kingdom’s of Amalur: I’m somewhat interested, but it may not be a day-one buy for me if it weren’t for financial woes. From what I’ve played of the demo, in the gameplay sense, I feel like it’s what Dragon Age: Origins should have been, and I was not a big fan of the D&D approach BioWare had for DA:O, and even KOTOR (I’ll be saying this. I always took the Scout/Sentinel every single playthrough, just for the sake of being able to 100% the game, have less of a struggle with the Dark Jedi (i.e. Fear-spamming), including the Assassination side-missions and repairing HK-47) As it is, Mass Effect 3 is my number 1 priority right now.
On the Dragon Age front: I’ve had a big struggle with Dragon Age: Origins gameplay-wise (Mr. 360 right here, and the amount of micromanagement got tedious with having to scroll through three different menus just to access “Spell #7”. I’ve only completed Circle of Magi as a mage, which in retrospect was not a smart move, and stopped half-way through Orzamar.) and needed a long break from it up to the point I’ll wait until the fall to actually finish the game (including downloading the DLCs I neglected to download, including Awakening.). Dragon Age 2: I’m not even sure if I want to buy it, yet.
Great comment! Dragon Age can be a bit hard to get through on the 360, but it’s worth it! I’m a huge fan of epic stories, no matter where they take place, and one can’t argue that the Dragon Age franchise isn’t epic in scale. As for your Mass Effect 3 comment, agreed!