There are a million RPG games to choose from these days, and unless you are as
obsessed passionate about them as I am, you're probably gonna stick to the big boys(Skyrim, Fallout, etc) But to pass up on Kingdoms of Amalur, you'd not only be missing out on one of the best RPG's I think I've ever played, but one unlike any you've played before.
The Big Idea: Kingdoms of Amalur is a fantasy powerhouse from the ridiculous mind of R.A. Salvatore; New York Times best selling author!!(or so I'm told) You play [insert character name here] the first and only successful resurrection of the "well of souls" From this point you become the decider of your own fate (of course while still being pressured to do favors and fetch quests for everyone). This game is all about fate, everyone and everything has one, except you.
How's It Look?: Amalur is gorgeous. The world is immaculately designed and its obvious that a lot of attention went into its creation. At first glance the game closely resembles RPG regulars like World of Warcraft. As it should, its a big shiny fantasy world. The character models are perhaps the least impressive part of the presentation (not to say that they are bad in the least bit), but after meeting two or three NPC's you won't find much contrast between them. Although not as pristine as say a game like Skyrim, Reckoning makes up for it by having a FAR superior frame rate. Which is a must with the kind of gameplay Reckoning delivers. There are a few screen hiccups and some landscapes might appear out of no where, but no graphical glitches or bugs will interrupt your play.
How's it Sound?: Reckoning sounds great. A soundtrack you would expect to find in any quality RPG. It somewhat fades into the background as you play. Reckoning definitely would have benefited from a more substantial powerhouse soundtrack that drew you into the game, such as you get with games like Shadow of the Colossus or Mass Effect. All characters in the game have been supplied with a voice (except you of course) and the voice over work is great. Characters all have a lot to say even after supplying the main plot points, and each conversation does seem personal.
How's it Play?: Here is where Reckoning really shines. Remember when I said its like something you haven't played before? well ok, yes its a lot like Fable on the surface, but honestly Fable doesn't even come close to the gameplay they've achieved here. In classic WRPG (western role playing game) style, the battles are completely real time. You may have equipped; a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, and 4 magic spell shortcuts. The battles are fast paced, strategic, and a lot of fun. Here is where character class comes into play. You'll find yourself whipping out hardcore combos based on your class and the remarkable frame rate keeps everything running smoothly no matter how many baddies are on screen. The game allows you to change your class, weapons, and fighting style at absolutely any moment, giving a great number of combinations to keep battles interesting. Gamers more familiar with the WRPG style might want to raise the difficulty all the way up though. Reckoning does well at making you feel like a badass but except in certain boss battles you never really get the feeling you could lose.
How's the System?: As you level you acquire skill points for general skills like alchemy, or lockpicking, but you also acquire talent skills for your talent tree. This is my favorite part of Reckoning. You are not locked into just one talent tree after making an initial selection. The Might (Warrior), Finesse (Thief), and Sorcery (Mage) trees are completely open to modify to your liking and you are encouraged to pick and choose between two or three. Based on how you distribute your points determines your class. For instance, you can put 50 points into Finesse and become a ranger, or you can put 25 in Finesse and 25 in Sorcery to become a Warlock, which awards you with an extra blink teleport ability. At any point in the game you can find a fateweaver and "unbind your destiny" resetting all your skill and talent points (for a manageable fee) allowing you to try multiple destinies with just one character. This is a neat perk, but it takes a lot of the interest away from making multiple characters.
What's the Catch?: There's hardly one.(notice I say hardly) For as fun as Reckoning is, it's one major downfall would have to be its story. The world of Amalur is amazing yes, but it seems to me that R.A. Salvatore might have just phoned this one in. None of the characters are particularly memorable and eventually I kinda stopped caring about them, and about why I was doing a certain quest, I just did it. Like your character, you are thrown into this world in the middle of the story and its just too damn much to try and catch up on whats happened so far, while keeping up with what's happening right now. It's a real bummer because besides a few graphical jumps and difficulty spikes(lack there of) Kingdoms of Amalur is a really amazing game.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is one of the best RPG's I've ever played and absolutely deserves your time and attention. With highly addicting gameplay and moderate re playability(on one character) Reckoning is a game that I won't soon put down. (Cause the gameplay is that good)
KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RECKONING 9 out of 10 Thumbs