Thursday, 16 February 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the first 'big' game to come out this year but it doesn't quite live up to its hype. It's a pretty game, one which can best be described as some bastardised offspring of WoW/Fable.

Once you get into the game, you're treated to the pretty intro screen. Note that there is already DLC available for the game and unlike most other games, this DLC isn't for the original owners of the game. No, it's only for people who pre-ordered the game because EA likes to brainwash people into believing it shits gold. Either way, pre-order DLC is already a minus in my book.

The main menu is fairly standard although the way it navigates is somewhat fucked up. I suspect it has been heavily 'optimised' for console play since Amalur is coming out on the PS3 and XBOX360 at the same time. 

An example of what I mean can be seen in the inventory system. Instead of listing everything all at once or at least doing it the 'Skyrim' way, the inventory classifies itself into MANY, MANY submenus. I suspect this is so console users have an easier time scrolling through their items as they lack a scroll wheel on their controllers -_-. For example, when you open the weapons menu, you don't see your list of weapons straight away. Instead, you see 'primary weapons' and 'secondary' weapons and you have to open them before you can equip weapons into said slot. It's not a huge issue but considering how often you can switch weapons, it's a pain in the ass.
There are quite a few quests in Amalur and they're split up mainly into 'Faction' quests and the 'Main' quest. Anyone who's played Oblivion/Skyrim/Fallout will be familiar with what 'Faction' quests are. So far, none of the quests are particularly engaging but I could say that of the storyline in general.
Everytime you level up in Amalur, you get to choose to level up your skills as well as ability trees. The ability trees in Amalur are fairly simplistic. There are only 3 trees, mage/fighter/rogue. Of course, they've added something called 'Destinies' which give you certain bonuses if you 'equip' them. However, to equip them, you have to meet the prerequisite and there are destinies which mix the fighter/mage/rogue trees.
The move list is why a lot of people have likened it to WoW. Some one I know has even likened it to a much simplified version of Dynasty warriors.
Like almost every major RPG now, Amalur allows you to fast-travel in the world map by clicking on towns/dungeons you have been to before. 
As for the dialogue, NPCs have a LOT to say. Sadly, 90% of it seems to be rubbish. I don't need to know what every single NPCs opinion of the winterfae are if it doesn't involve anything important; like you know, an extra sidequest or foreshadowing of their major weaknesses. Otherwise, the NPCs can take their opinion and shove it. Hence why most of the dialogue options are still whited out -_- It's like there are only so few conversation topics in the world of Amalur that I almost miss guardsmen telling me they took an arrow to the knee.
The graphics as you can see are very very WoW-like. They're bright unlike Skyrims, and fairly detailed. I admit that I'm quite fond of the graphics in Amalur.

The combat very simplified. It's hardly revolutionary like they were claiming and if any of you have a Mass Effect 2 save and get shepards armor in the game, it's pretty much a walkthrough. In this shot, I'm performing a reckoning which is something like a limit break. Once I kill enough things, I can enter into the 'RECKONING' mode, which greatly increases damage (like combat wasn't easy enough)
After which, you'll be treated to a cut-scene in which you down the enemy as well a QTE in which you mash buttons to increase XP gained. 

After which, you finally get what you richly deserve. Loot. It's even color-coded for your convenience. Green for uncommon and purple for rare. See why this reminds me of WoW?

In conclusion
The game play was fairly interesting although a tad too easy. The storyline is kinda meh so far although I do like the references to real world mythology like the Tuatha de Denaan. The Irish probably aren't too happy about it though. The quests are myriad but unlike Oblivion where you could solve quests in obscenely varied ways, the quests here seem to be pretty straightforward. I'm also not that fond of the combat because of several reasons. Why does my 1H warrior not carry his damn shield at the same time as he carries his longsword? Instead, he keeps the shield whenever he draws out the longsword and vice-versa. What? Do they NOT train people to wield both in Amalur?

Also, one very big con is having to install Origin to play the game if you bought an original version. Seriously EA? Wtf do I have to install your crappy service if I don't want to and all I want to do is just play the DAMN game. I don't want to have to jump through hoops just to be able to use software I bought legally. You're making me wish I had pirated this instead. 

Final score: 6.5/10