Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: a very short review

I've been blogging less the past two weeks. One of the reasons for that is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Kingdoms of Amalur is a game in the style of Dragon Age, or of the Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim: it is a single-player RPG, in which your character explores the world, discovers new locations, talks to the characters that reside in the various towns, castles, caves, etc., and responds to the various situations that arise as you see appropriate.

Along the way there are quests and adventures to perform, skills to be developed, gear to be acquired and equipped, potions and spells to master, and many, many, many baddies and monsters to be defeated.

According to the in-game clock, I've spent 29 hours playing Kingdoms of Amalur since I started on New Year's Day. Which seems about right, although I think the game may be counting time while paused. I haven't encountered any major bugs or frustrations, although I confess I'm rather poor at the actual combat mechanics, and so the fight scenes are typically a bunch of screaming and button-mashing rather than something far more elegant. The young kids in the room stand around and watch this senior citizen flail, finding it amusing, but hey, at least I'm still alive!

Kingdoms of Amalur certainly compares well with the other games I've mentioned: the artwork is nice, the writing is very good, the game pace is just right; I can easily see myself spending several hundred more hours playing it this year.

However, when I was playing Skyrim a year ago, there would be times when I would be wandering through the world, and it was just so jaw-droppingly beautiful that I would find myself stopping, just standing there, looking at the scenery, listening to the music, immersed in the game. In Skyrim, the rain felt like rain, the sunsets looked like sunsets, and the dungeons made my skin crawl.

Kingdoms of Amalur is no Skyrim. But it's a very nice game, and I think it's unfair to condemn it for not achieving the heights that Skyrim did.

Do you like these sorts of games? If you do, you'll like Kingdoms of Amalur

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