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Joystick: “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning” is massively good

“Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning”

4.5/5

Rated M: 360, PS3, PC

—Another massive single-player RPG for big-time gamers.

—Expansive world, clever combat and astonishing art abounds.

—Minor drawbacks to “KoA” include somewhat tedious quests and frustrating equipment breaks.

 

What’s with all these good RPGs lately?

“Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning” is a massive role-playing experience with a smart design, incredible visuals, packed gameplay and some interesting combat. You play as someone recently revived in a fantasy world with myriad choices as to where to go. There are four playable races, which consist of high and low elves and humans, along with an interesting class system. Players can spread class points interchangeably, which means they aren’t on a set path. What’s more, the story and world comes from noted fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, famous for his “Forgotten Realms” novels and works in the “Star Wars” universe.

The interesting thing about “KoA” is its combat system, which uses timed button presses to execute attacks and includes quick-time events like similar to last week’s “Final Fantasy XII-2.” It’s refreshing and doesn’t seem like it will get tedious.

If anything, tedium is the game’s biggest drawback. It’s not a lack of content that plagues “KoA” per se. There’s an abundance of quests to do, items to collect and enemies to slay. The game can run up to 200 hours for players concerned with 100 percent completion, by some accounts. That means at least a month of heavy dungeon exploring and boss killing, which the game is only too happy to accommodate. It feels like you’re on a never-ending “kill that thing over there” mission just a few hours in, which isn’t a bad thing depending on your play style and mood.

The game attempts to break some of this tedium by placing difficulties in your way, namely equipment breaking. If you don’t repair your gear often, you’re going to lose it in the middle of a boss fight, and it will drive you mad if you don’t have good backup weapons.

That’s a minor point to argue, however. This game lives up to its pedigree in many ways, from Ken Rolston, the lead designer of previous “Elder Scrolls” games, to Salvatore, to Todd McFarlane working on game art, composer Grant Kirkhope providing the necessary epic music. There’s plenty of interesting items working in “KoA” and it’s definitely worth the time and money to play it.