If you like your action RPG’s in the Skyrim vein, which is to say massive, quest filled and definitely going to suck away the hours of your life, then you need look no further than THQ Nordics remaster of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, or as it’s now sub-titled, Re-Reckoning.
Originally released back in 2012 for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, Kingdoms of Amalur was, at the time, an ambitious undertaking for Big Huge Games and 38 Studios which boasted behind the scenes talent from Todd Mcfarlane on art duty and R. A. Salvatore for the game universe and lore. Kingdoms received pretty favourable reviews but 38 Studios went bankrupt with Big Huge Games undergoing their own behind the scenes issues. In 2018 THQ Nordic bought the rights to the Amalur property and released the Re-Reckoning remaster of the game, which contained all of the DLC, in 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Now Amalur continues to enjoy a new lease on life on Nintendo’s Switch.
Set in the Faelands, one of the Kingdoms of Amalur, a war has been raging between the Fae and the mortal races of Amalur. For ten bloody years the mortals have been fighting a losing battle against the corrupted immortal Fae who seek to eradicate all mortals from Amalur. Players take on the role of the Fateless One, a mortal with no memory and no set future whose existence is meant to be impossible as all creatures are tied to the threads of Fate. The Fateless One makes his/her own fate but can also change the fates of others, thus making him/her the most dangerous being in Amalur.
And thus begins your journey into high fantasy hacking and slashing as you set about to pummel the corrupted Winter Fae and stop this war.
After choosing your race and gender with some light character customisation, Amalur plays like any open world action RPG you may have played in the last couple of years. There’s a massive landscape of interconnected areas and dungeons to explore with many NPC’s problems to solve. Experience is doled out through killing things, finding more of the world lore and completing quests. Where Amalur tries to set itself apart mechanically is by keeping its character build system open. You can choose to be a rogue, sorcerer or warrior, with each class opening up further specialisations along the way, or you can simply be a jack of all trades.
Each time you level up you get the option to swop builds and pump ability points into specific skills like blacksmithing while your combat points can be distributed amongst three skill trees which focus on special attacks and unlocking higher damage and combos for the games different weapons. You can equip any two weapons at a time which, along with your special magical attacks, makes for some tactical combat depth. Sure you can button mash if you want, but it’s far less effective than knowing when to block or dodge and which weapon works best for you along with making use of your magic specials to weaken enemies opening them up to combos and staggers. Back in 2012 the combat was one of Amalur’s best features, and it still stands up well today.
Been the “Fateless” one also grants you a super meter which builds up during combat and increases speed and attack power when activated. Enemies “fates” can be unravelled through a quicktime finisher when they’ve taken enough damage.
Amalur is a massive landmass to explore with nearly every NPC sporting their own dialogue, even if it’s a variation on what you’ve heard before. Side quests are literally everywhere, so exploring every nook and cranny and going into every building is a must for the completionists among you. There’s a lot of back and forth so thankfully a fast travel system is in place from the World map. Amalur also drowns you in loot as much as it does in questing so upgrading how much you can hold is a must or spend a lot of time managing inventory and fast travelling to towns to sell your latest or older acquisitions.
Visually Amalur on Switch is just a treat. The games stylised visuals look great on the Lites 720p handheld mode and runs, mostly, at 30fps. There were some light dips in frame rate but I found them to be the exception rather than the rule. Re-Reckoning didn’t have the most work done as far as remasters go, most of it on the texture end of the spectrum as far as I can tell, which means that the Switch version performs just as nicely as do the console versions of Re-Reckoning. There is a strange looking visual effect used for shimmering effects that make it seem as though two models are overlaid on top of one another – an effect absent from the console versions of the game. The Switch boasts all the same options as the console versions including a handy Depth of Field slider that really does make a difference.
The visuals promote a fairy tale aesthetic in the use of colour and architecture, which makes each area visually appealing. Towns are full of NPC’s but the wilds do appear a little on the barren side when not close to the smattering of grouped enemies.
Initially, like Sky rim, Kingdoms of Amalur can seem rather overwhelming as, once you’ve left the opening area, you can accomplish your tasks in whatever order you please. With so much to do in the base game alone before you get to the DLC (which you do have access to just about from the beginning) Amalur can run well into the thirty hour plus playtime. With its open ended character system, gorgeous visuals and in-depth lore, Amalur is a must for RPG fans looking to buff their Switch library. It’s also my preferred platform to play the game on now.
You cab purchase Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning on Switch here for £36.74
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a 2012 action role-playing video game for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 developed by Big Huge Games and 38 Studios, who also published the game with Electronic Arts. It was the only game released by 38 Studios before they filed for bankruptcy.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
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