Nostalgia is the greatest weapon a game can ever have. From having an already well-established franchise to an already dedicated fanbase, it’s the kind that’s hard to fuck up unless you’re actually trying to. And Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was considered one of the best hidden gems of its time from its vastly expansive world, good core narrative and highly addictive gameplay elements. But eight years later, how does the “Re-” in “Re-Reckoning” live up to that tale?
For starters, the original had a reputation for having one of the most bizarre developments in the history of video games. Curt Schilling, a famed baseball pitcher dreamed of starting his own company that was later named 38 Studios. He then put together a team of creative minds including Spawn creator, Todd McFarlane, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Lead Designer Ken Rolston and famed novelist R. A. Salvatore best known for his works The DemonWars Saga and the Legend of Drizzt.
The studio began work with Copernicus, an ambitious MMORPG but after three years of work and with little to no progress, they soon merged with a young budding developer called Big Huge Games. Now from an ambitious MMORPG, the game itself was merged with Big Huge’s Project Mercury and transformed into the single-player RPG we know today as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
Unfortunately, due to excessive spending and a slew of poor business decisions, the project would have to sell over 3 million units just to break even. And while the game did pretty well selling over 1.2 million copies in its first three months, the company had to file for bankruptcy and the rest is history.
With the history report out of the way, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning’s tale is one that really stands out for its fantasy-themed aesthetics and mythical creations. The game starts out as you, a dead person that was suddenly brought back to life thanks to the well of souls. You then become this unusual “fateless” creature that can weave its own fate and in turn, can weave another’s fate as well. Now while it’s an interesting concept, in practice, it doesn’t particularly have that kind of long-lasting effect due to its linear plot and lack of impactful choices.
In reality, you just hit things… like seriously. However, what makes Kingdoms of Amalur a treat to play is its vast and open world that rewards curiosity with amazing loot or a magically enchanted arrow to the knee. And you’ll be finding a lot of either one here. The vast world within Amalur is filled with hidden treasures, cave systems and tons of shinies that range from ingredients for crafting armour or weapons to polishing your own gems.
From a gameplay standpoint, I can only best describe it as a looter slasher with a huge emphasis on the looting more than it is about the slashing. While it does provide a more than decent combat mechanics and fast paced action, in a time where games like Horizon Zero Dawn or Ghost of Tsushima has really upped the standards, the game feels a bit lacking and arcade-y. At some point in the game, it becomes even tedious and repetitive while also being heavily button mashy.
And don’t get me wrong, the game is far from terrible, in fact, I was a bigger fan of KoA:R than I am on things like Skyrim or The Witcher 2 back in 2012. The game had such a fun concept of weaving your own fate and playing at your own pace and it doesn’t restrict you from doing what you’re doing. Since the game is centered on the idea of creating your own fate and making your own destiny, the gameplay concept follows through with the same idea. You’ll be able to choose from multiple weapon types like swords, fae blades, chakrams, bows or staves while also allowing you to have magical spells and buffs.
Unlike the older RPGs with its own fixed skills and abilities based on classes, Kingdoms of Amalur is one that lets you mix and match to your own tastes with the only restriction of having a specific level in Might, Finesse or Sorcery to equip a specific piece of gear or unlock a higher tier ability. You can also respec your character allowing you to switch up your builds later down the line. And the game’s willingness to let you do just that is its greatest selling point.
However, while the game itself is praiseworthy for its incredible amount of lootable gear and accessories, one of my biggest complaints here is its terrible item management. And this is something that I feel should’ve seen a great concern. The UI for its inventory lacks a more modern look and the features that should’ve been a given for a game that has a major focus on its equipment is non-existent. This in turn makes what should’ve been a quick and easy check for gear, often feel like an eternity of going through a long list on my shopping list of things to buy but I don’t really need.
Visually though, it pales on comparison to more of the modern games in today’s market. While it still has its own charm with its remastered visuals, it’s hard to be impressed when games like Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil or the Final Fantasy VII Remake had such massive improvements from its original. It also hurts to see the game crashing even if rarely happens.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a game best described as a nostalgic rollercoaster. Something that hasn’t really aged well enough to see some major improvements to its overall quality back in 2012, but still something I’d be happy playing through in 2020 and up until 2021’s new expansion. If you’re looking for a massive open world with tons of loots to crawl into look no further, this offers pretty much what you’d expect from a “looter slasher” if the genre even exists.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is now available for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game.
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Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning
The hit RPG returns! From the minds of the bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston, comes Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Remastered with stunning visuals and refined gameplay Re-Reckoning delivers intense, customizable RPG combat inside a sprawling game world.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 34.99
Product In Stock: Not Available