Might have got it if it was first person. Third person and RPGs? How are they compatible? Aren't I supposed to be fully immersed in a fictional World? Why then am I not looking through my own eyes?
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Review
Kingdoms of Amalur's combat and character advancement are fantastic enough to overshadow how bland everything else is.
- Top-notch combat with a real punch
- Fantastic, flexible character advancement
- Some great-looking creatures
- Extensive world with tons of stuff to do and lots of monsters to fight.
- Generic story and characters
- Generic world
- Generic quests.
Even the greatest role-playing games aren't necessarily known for their great combat. They're frequently praised for their ambitious worlds, their involving stories, and the element of choice. But when you talk about your favorite RPGs, it's not often that the action is what you talk about first.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is not like those games. In the future, when you talk about Kingdoms of Amalur, the first thing you will probably mention is how fun the battles were. Incredibly, this RPG's combat is so exciting, it could have been used in a pure action game and would have held up just fine. In fact, from a swordplay, loot, and leveling perspective, Kingdoms of Amalur is as good as any RPG in recent memory. This is the role-playing game you should be playing if excellent action and progression are your primary concern.
Of course, RPGs are about more than just swinging swords. The best of them aren't just games--they're worlds, in which unusual people mill about, inviting you into their homes and telling you of unimaginable treasures protected by unimaginable monsters. It's here that Kingdoms of Amalur falters. Amalur is nice enough to look at, and there are lots of things to do there. But each thing you do is pretty much like the last thing you did. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you stumble upon a coven of cannibals and have telepathic conversations with a dog. In Mass Effect 2, you explore the painful past of a troubled young woman and witness the ultimate conflict between mother and daughter. In Kingdoms of Amalur, you kill stuff and listen to a bunch of nondescript characters spout line after line of unexceptional fantasy lore. There's so much talking, so much effort put into all this dialogue. And yet Amalur never develops an identity in spite of it all. There's a lot of tell, but not a whole lot of show.
There's at least a great premise providing a foundation for your adventure. You see, you are dead. Or at least, you were dead before a device called the Well of Souls brought you back to the land of the living. Upon reawakening, you find yourself in quite the position: you no longer have a fate. And because the laws of fate no longer apply to you, you can change destiny as you see fit. Save innocent lives. Kill your enemies. In conversation, act like a jerk--or like an angel. Like other RPGs, Kingdoms of Amalur occasionally grants you the power to choose. However, the story’s very premise nods to the fact that you are a blank slate, free to progress as you see fit. You're special in this world because everyone else is tied to the threads of fate. Before you came along, the future was unchangeable.
It's a pity that Kingdoms of Amalur doesn't know what to do with the setup. You gradually learn more about your self-named, blank-slate character, but the game is more interested in getting you into battle than it is in developing its people. You can talk to the inhabitants about all sorts of things, but doing so is rarely more interesting than reading some dusty tome. It's nice to have a world fleshed out by conversations and books, but in any game, it's better to see and experience an adventure firsthand than it is to hear someone talking about one. There are some nice narrative touches that resonate, such as a conversation with a woman angry that the church has outlawed female clergy. But most dialogue is wooden description.
Many fine RPGs don't feature great central plots or superior dialogue, so the humdrum storytelling may not be a bother for you. It's too bad that the side quests don't pick up the slack. There's so little variety here. Kill spiders, find a missing person, collect these items, and so on. A few of these have a spark of creativity. You partake in a bizarre reenactment of an old legend, speak with a wolf cursed to roam as a human, and assist a dimwit who has been deceived by pranksters pretending to be something they're not. But overall, questing in Kingdoms of Amalur is a game of "chase the waypoint," in which you run toward quest goals without caring about why you're heading there. The dullness of questing is reinforced by your own voiceless character during cutscenes, who mutely stares into space during every conversation as if he or she has heard it all before.
You may have heard Kingdoms of Amalur compared with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, in the sense that they are both open-world fantasy RPGs. But such comparisons aren't really accurate. Amalur is "open-world" in a pedantic sense, yet it's not an enormous landmass, but rather a collection of big areas separated by winding corridors. (All you have to do is open the world map to see how different this game's world structure is from an Elder Scrolls game.) It's more akin to a large-scale Fable, with loading times and winding pathways used to segment explorable areas, dungeons, and towns.
The art design may also remind you of Fable (or maybe World of Warcraft), though Kingdoms of Amalur isn't so self-consciously lighthearted. It is certainly lovely, however, in a vanilla sort of way. Bright red and blue flowers dot sun-dappled meadows, where antelopes graze and hop about, prancing away when you draw too near. Crooked lampposts and skewed wooden rooftops welcome you to a desert village and its brown cobbled streets. It's all so pretty, pixie dust rising from enough grassy knolls and daisy patches that it looks like an army of fairies just exploded. But the visual design lacks identity, embracing the middle of the road and never reaching beyond. Kingdoms of Amalur doesn't have the exaggerated charm of Fable II or the rich detail of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. It happily embraces its pedestrian prettiness, like the front cover of any fantasy novel you might find on a bookstore's shelf.
well u don't half to worry about this game being anything remotely like oblivion.
Lore to me is what makes a good RPG with out lore the game just becomes a hack n slash. I was hoping the game would evolve past the demo, because I have been fooled by terrible demos before. This game is pretty drab all the way around, from bland location and characters to voice acting. The voice acting in this game all most reminded me of old hannah barbara stuff like scooby do. This game falls flat all the way around I would have given it a 5.5 I guess this game is ok for people that don't know any better
I have this game, but I haven't played it yet beyond the demo. It seems really interesting though, and from what I have played so far, it seems really fun too. The lack of detail in story and lore doesn't bother me too much. I love a good story, but I don't like feeling compelled to read a bunch of lore in-game like I did when trying t play Oblivion.
I find it interesting that this guy Kevin gives this game a 7.5 score. I played this game and thought it was rehashed fable and rehashed dragon age overly bland characters especially the wolf that had been transformed into a man, that was an obvious dragon age rip off. And then this guy gives a fairly high score to this game despite how awful I thought the game was. This guy loves RPGs should have been able to see through the transparency. I love RPGs too but I know a bad one when I see it.
And on another note this guy Kevin reviewed RE6 and gave it a 4.5, I haven't played RE6 yet but I'm a long time fan of the series and will buy it after the holidays I'm sure because I love the series I love the game. I think Kevin's reviews are really slanted.
I wish reviews could be done from a collective of game spot's staff instead of just one person. I think this guy should just stick to editing and stop slamming games that are good and uplifting games that suck.
@sonicoblique101 Are you for real? You're basically saying "I hated this game and so should everyone else because my opinion is Truth."
no thats not what im saying I just disagree with Kevins really slanted reviews. He seems to favor RPGs regardless of how crappy they are. I love RPGs too but Im not going to like something just because its a certain kind of game. And yes I really hated it; thought ir was a bad fable rip off along with many other things. On the other hand it does not bother me if other people like the game. I just know garbage when I see it.
@sonicoblique101 Regardless of how much I distrust Kevins opinion you just blew away your own argument with this comment. The 4.5 you gave this game is just your opinion and not a collective opinion. The collective opinion is that this game is rated 8.3.
what can i say, big map, tons of quests, great combat system, awesome loot and crafting system, lvling system is ok, generaly is fun to play ..... but still something is missing and i cant put my finger on why i cant highly praise this game =/
i'm loving the game so far I hardly Touched the main story i'm having a blast with side missions and stuff. I don't really care if the story is not that good I found the main story in skyrim wasn't that great at all but it was still a great game but so far been having more fun with Reckoning
I completely agree with the review. I'm about a quarter way through the game, and I like the skill system, the fights, and the alchemy. The visuals, although garishly colorful, are good. I'll probably make it through the game despite boring quests. It's going to be difficult, though, because I'll try to get through every side quest I can find. HOWEVER: for Amalur II, I would very much like to see an improvement in writing. I like immersive RPGs with a history / religion / and distinct political and racial environments, so I tend to lean toward the Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age. So this is my bias. Another bias is that I expect to see Amalur II, and my opinion concentrates more on the improvements I want to see. One: Amalur fails completely at being an immersive RPG. I think Fable was a very apt comparison, but even Fable, although smaller, had it's own distinct charm it drew from seeming simplicity, but very high replay value. Looking for a more detailed background on the Amalur Kingdoms, I read through the amalur.com website, which is supposed to provide such information. But, instead of fueling my interest in the world, I got even more disappointed at how shallow it was. One of the playable races (Varany) wasn't even in the list of described races, while Gnomes (a non-playable race) was considered on par with the three playable races. The self-made names for dark and light elves, as well as a bunch of other original-sounding names, were supposed to add to the seeming depth of the world, but it does nothing but confuse people. Very little of the writer's effort was put into creating a rich, interesting world. Compare to the Elder Scrolls, where every single region is rich with history and creates incredible sense of anticipation whenever a new game is released when a region is explored (hint: Skyrim). Not gonna happen with Amalur. There's not much going on outside the area you're already playing in. On a separate side, the writers did a terrible job at creating an appropriate *tone*: history books and references sound like gossip, and gossip sounds flat, i.e., bookish (see the review). For instance, the relationship between the two elven races, Ljosalfar and Dokkalfar, was described as one of an unfortunate couple: something to the effect of "and even though they loved each other, they realized their differences, so Dokkalfar decided to move to a different place, which actually improved their relationship" bla bla bla. What?! Which political and cultural entity would ever be like that? Voice acting ranges between mediocre and horrible. And you can't blame it all on actors: the scripts are terrible. For instance, when you first meet the Agarth the Fateweaver, he tells you "Hey, you wanna help me?" But then never gets to how, because he's the one helping me, not the other way around. The first gnome I met outside the Gnomish tower said "Oh, good that the others were trapped inside, it's a mercy if anything." Soooo, you're not gonna help them by digging out the survivors? Emm, okay. Not very distinct examples, but such omissions abound to the point where they show a glaring disregard for the situation at hand. Bottom-line: this game needs better writers. It's not like they can't afford them for part II, since I imagine it was pretty successful. But just one notch in reducing the quality of writing will make it unbearable.
I was really looking forward to playing this game, I'm a fan of many different RPG's and also of some of this game's creative talent. Until I read this review, I really couldn't put into words what it was that made this game boring for me. The combat is excellent, the enemies and scenery and nicely varied etc etc but it just lacks... character. It just doesn't engage me, and I really hope it gets a sequel made where they can take those good gameplay elements and stick them into something with a bit more personality and richness to it.
I also rated this game higher than a 7.5. It may not be ground breaking or have the immense feeling of Skyrim or the Witcher 2, but it is still a really fun game to play with great combat that keeps it enjoyable. As for the story, genericness aside, if it is told and played out in such a way that keeps me wanting to see what happens next in game, then that's the important part for me. From what I've played so far, it's done just that.
The review for this game is too low, period. I am playing both Skyrim and KOA, I honestly love both games. Skyrim is technically the better game, but I prefer character interaction and combat more on KOA. This game deserves a bare minimum 8, below that, you are just hating on the game due to a heavy Skyrim preference. I would give it an 8.5, it is an achievement in game development. My only real complaints are boundaries and linearity in the world (although it is still vast) and unlike Fable, you do not have any morality to deal with or consequences to your good/bad choices.
I disagree with the "generic" storytelling complaint. Standard RPG fare is what it is, however, the script really shines in this game. It speaks to a higher narrative in that it feels like a fantasy novel jumping out at you.
@freakinxbeast55 -- If you would like to complain, at least get the facts right. We didn't give Fable II an 8 :/
@Kevin-V @freakinxbeast55 I overall agree with your review (although I never bought this game for the story so idc about that) the world's inhabitants of the humanoid variety are rather dull although the fae concept does interest me (i'm only in the 3rd mission in the story and have otherwise been doing side quests) When playing an rpg for story I go with either deus ex HR (partial reference to your pic) and mass effect. I would have given it an 8 or an 8.5 however (not complaining just stating opinion as I like most of your reviews) This game's action imo is essentially fable only smoother with more variety
Really enjoying this game-I really do enjoy the visuals(a bit of a cross between fable and WoW), great storyline and most of all I love the controls-whether you're into melee, range or spellcasting or you decide to blend all three together it just works flawlessly! I must admit that questing felt a bit repetitive and tiresome at times although most of the quests are optional. One of my main concerns is that you tend to outlevel and outgear the content quite easily. I would wish that difficulty would scale with your character. If youre not too concerned with weapon/armor stats you will come across some cool models(brings back memories of WoW at times) but its kinda sad that your created items greatly outclass the epic sets.
Very fun skillful combat that is like most action games such as God of War, Darksiders, and Devil May Cry. TONS of swords and other loot like Diablo, and the other millions of those games. A create a character feature although with limited faces. Classes each with many moves and abilities that you can mix and match. A decent story with a lot of side quests, enemies, and locales that are zoned like Fable with the illusion of being a free roaming world. I use illusion in the good way, as in you don't realize it's zoned at first because it's very big. Good music too. Now, if you take all that and put it together you have the makings of a fantastic game. And, not the mention a new IP(First game in the series). Sure you can compare it to Skyrim, but you would be selling the game short for what it is. It's not an open world game that has a first person view that makes you feel totally immersed into your character. You won't be saying every moment, "Oh my God look how beautiful this is, this looks sooooo real." But you will have a good time playing a game that challenges your reflexes, and constantly rewards you with some of the coolest weapons and weapon types seen in gaming. 8.5 Full review after I finish every quest. I have put in over 112 hours, and I am still finding new weapons, enemies, and armor. Glad this game turned out great after all the previews and vids I watched. Very proud of this new IP. I also wish you would have given it at least an 8.
This games in the same league as skyrim and is in many ways better IMHO. The questing is more engaging and the looting and leveling is WAY better. I've put 150 hours in skyrim so im not biased.. You can't take gamespot seriously when they give this a 7.5 and fable 3 an 8? Get serious because this is just a rich mans fable honestly
This is a fantastic RPG with strong combat and flexibility of character advancement. but i do agree with the generic characters, quest and world. btw this game deserves 8,5 at least for me
A good game to kill time yet so generic that it becomes repetitive in the very beginning. RPG games these days share the same problem, they lack character and the result are titles that lose in forgetfulness.
This game is way better then this review said's and even better then what score is and I have been playing this game for about 50+ hours and I'm just having a blast.
@Kevin-V I am sorry for being rude. To be more mature i dont agree with your review and you dont suck.
played the demo and I thought it resembled other fantasty RPGs out there we may have played already sure, but its also a very pretty RPG in its own, the character customization was simple and neat, not so detailed like skyrim or mass effect, and the story may not be as in depth interesting or captivating but still a new RPG that I really enjoyed playing. I might wait for the the full price tag to drop some but I'm definately adding this to my exsisting library of games that I can and will easily get lost into for hours. so please kevin keep you highly skeptical underrated fanboy negative reviews for something that deserves it.
Way underrated. I love this game even if you don't Kevin. I can't stop playing it. 9.5 for me. Better then Skyrim.
@LiK I'm sorry but his claims about the world being generic is highly subjective - I mean are Skyrim and Dark Souls generic because they have classic High Fantasy looks and all the genre stalwarts like Dragons, Daemons and re-animated Skeletons?
@Kevin-V I didn't mean to misrepresent what you said but your complaint about it being too generalised and pixie dusty struck me as close to the typical "It looks too cartoony" argument I've become sick of hearing about this game. All questing is, at it's core, "go somewhere do something then come back to me". Yes a lot is subjective but you could at least try to add some qualifiers to your negative points to balance them or point out that your 'negatives' are subjective instead of them remaining there as if they are facts.
@believa - You don't need to agree with what I write or say. But there is no reason to be cruel or suggest I lose my job because of it. I am a person. And when you write cruel things about me, I see them. Feel free to disagree. But when you folks write awful things, you do know you are writing them about good people, right?
@darin1976 -- You don't agree, and so the review is terrible? Could it be that the review is fine, and we can live in a world in which not all people agree on all things? Perhaps in that world, it's even possible to be kind to others even when they don't agree. I see you haven't arrived there yet. I hope that one day, you will learn to be kind to people even when they might disagree about how good a video game is--which, come to think of it, is a silly reason to be rude to someone.
@MVan86 -- I never said it looks too cartoony. That's you bringing that to the table--not me :)
I explain in the review, using straightforward words, how many RPGs give great context to its quests, and why Amalur's are ordinary in comparison. You can read our reviews of games like Skyrim, Mass Effect 2, and go back as far as Planescape: Torment and further to read about games that give great context to standard quests.Also, reviews, by nature, are subjective. If you come to a review not expecting to hear opinion, then you aren't looking for a review. You are looking for a press release. If you didn't want to hear someone's opinion, then what on earth are you reading a review for?
I have been playing this for a week, and even though Skyrim was a bit better this is still a great RPG.
Once again proof of why Gamspot needs to address it's reviews. The reviewer's personal opinions are clearly on show and are what drags both the tone of the review and the score down. Sure okay we've got used to realistic graphics in games but the real question is what's the quality of the graphics? As for generic - which aside from "It looks too cartoony" has been the main objection levelled at this game - please, please give it a rest. I can't help thinking that simply put people have been waiting to level this argument against fantasy RPGs and finally have a new entrant without a huge following they can finally attack without a fanbase backlash. This game has had a HUGE amount of history created for it and distinct versions of genre stalwart enemy types. The questing is well questing, I don't see how anyone can pretend questing in other RPGs is somehow anything other than 'go there and do X then come back to me for your reward'.
I don't really understand the whole "generic" argument. I can't think of many modern games that aren't generic or share ideas with other games. Surely it's all about the amount of fun the game has to offer? I'm not trying to insult the reviewer or anything, just a bit curious as to the reasoning behind this complaint.
can someone PLEASE fire kevin van ord ... he says the same things every time .. Skyrim lovin jackass we really need new blood for the RPG reviiews, I always seem to gravitate to IGN for these types of reviews
Quality > Quantity. Give us half the amount of quests found in Skyrim next time, and go ahead and make the game more balanced, both story-wise and gameplay-wise. What I find irritating about ES and other open world RPGs is that most of them hardly emphasize story at all. Just present us with a shades of gray morality system (a la The Witcher's) and give a much more original story akin to Planescape: Torment, with very developed characters that you care about and meet at least a few times throughout the game, as opposed to having hundreds of NPCs who you just meet one and never see again.
So far, this game is everything I love about the genre. Awesome combat, cool skill tree, and loot. The story may be generic, but it is still engaging (granted I haven't beat the game, so it may be a disappointment in the end). Overall, this is a great start to a new IP. I am wondering if the detail that the review sites are complaining about was due to the fact that this is a new IP, and the budget was granted accordingly, therefor, the time it takes to add details (like skyrim) would have put them over-budget. Either way, I'm having a ton of fun with this game, and even though there are a few shortcomings, it's definitely a 'must buy' in my opinion. As a side note, I don't think it is fair to compare this game with Fable, I didn't like Fable, and found it to be very boring. This game has such amazing fluid combat, that it sets itself apart from any game like it. I'd almost compare it to a god-of-war meets diablo. Darksiders is also a very good comparison...any over-the-top action game describes the combat very well, but the skill tree and loot remind me of Diablo/WoW.
i played this game, and it has everything, a little diablo and skyrim and a lot of darksiders and darksiders was one of the best games ever . i can not believe G gave it such a low score the only thing that is missing is a horse to ride.
the one thing I don't like about skyrim, it s the miriad of books you find everywhere.. as soon as I learnt how to tell skill augmenting ones from the useless, I stopped even opening the latter. That said, if the lack of deepness you mention is connected to this kind of things, I think I'd love KOA: I fancy battles and fighting and action way more then dialogues I easily recall you guys didn't gave a 9,5 to skyrim, which is, on my behalf, the best single player CRPG I've ever played.. you once where completely trustworthy for me, in terms of games reviews: now I come to doubt it, sometimes.. this time being one of those occasions, I think
WOW. this websites reviews are awful. you give a game like skyrim rave reviews knowing its full of bugs and glitches with dated combat. its morrowind or oblivion with a new paint job and bash fresh new colorfull and fun games. i guess KOA didnt pay you for your review. you suck.
@Zukias75 i'm with you. i think dark souls is great game, but its combat is greatly overrated. in fact, i find it pretty bland... thats not to say that the combat in this anything to write home about. kind of weird how you just whip out new weapons in a microsecond. idk, both are good games, but im looking for realistic combat that still has tons of variety and pizazz...