The game has some real pedigree behind it with R.A. Salvatore writing the story and lore, and Ken Rolston and Todd McFarlane doing the artwork. Salvatore being known for his astounding fantasy writing, McFarlane for his work on Spawn through Image Comics amongst many others, while Rolston is the lead designer on Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. There is a whole story about the company that created this amazing world going bankrupt and is worth reading if you are interested.
The original suffered, unfortunately, as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out in November 2011 and many folk received it for the Christmas period that year and were still playing it, come the KoA release.
So now all, but 8 years later and Kingdoms Of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is here on modern consoles, from THQ Nordic and with a new added part to the name “Re-Reckoning” (which I find a bit strange). Heading up the re-release are Kaiko who have previously done work on Red Faction: Guerilla Re–Mars–tered Edition and Legend of Kay Anniversary.
With this release, we have the full package which includes The Legend of Dead Kel DLC – containing a great Pirate theme, plus Teeth of Naross which takes you to a floating landscape. Note also, that if you purchase the FATE Edition, you’ll also receive the Fatesworn DLC when it comes out.
The game, itself, is the same as the 2012 release. It has beautiful storied visuals, which kind of remind me of early World of Warcraft (but sharper more fluent visuals), excellent combat, a HUGE open world to explore and plenty voice acting to go round.
The story for Kingdoms Of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is about an evil Fae and his army, where that keeps resurrecting when killed making things look bleak. So the local scientists (Crymbil, I believe, are a cross between Hobbits and Goblins) are working on trying to resurrect dead soldiers to attempt to combat this army. This is where you come in, starting out being wheeled on a bed with a cover ready for the furnace. Here is where you will pick your character (male or female) and then the region from where they come.
The different regions offer different bonuses depending on how you may want to play, but you can do your own thing regardless of the selection here whilst levelling up. After customising and naming your character, you’ll wake to find yourself dumped with a load of rotting corpses, and escaping the area which acts as a tutorial, teaching you about Mage, Warrior and Rogue play-styles. Once you get out and about and meet the Fate Weaver, you are free to head off and do as you wish.
The quests in Kingdoms Of Amalur: Re-Reckoning very much have an MMO feel to them, where they’ll take you to new areas further out from a start point, in order to get you exploring the entire area. Once you do, the objective is to head back to the local town and turn it in, or get the next phase. I did encounter a bug with a quest – having to kill an enemy and collect their dagger in order to join the mercenary group. This happened due to doing another quest that went into the area, and I had already killed and looted the enemy I was due to kill, hence, I couldn’t loot him again to get the needed dagger… go figure. Thankfully, however, that was the only issue I have encountered. The character levelling allows you to add points into the three different skill trees so you can customise your character any way you want. Personally, I like to add into Warrior and Rogue, mainly for the head-on battles and occasionally sneaking and lock picking etc, which come in handy.
Visually, the game hasn’t had much done to it in all honesty. Yes, it is running in 4K on my Xbox One X and it looks sharp and crisp, but other than that, it looks almost identical to the previous generation when it first came out. I do own it on both Xbox 360 and also PS3, and was playing the 360 version a few weeks back on my Xbox One X, and I cannot see much difference at all. I am wondering if this re-release is to test the water to see if folk are wanting more from this series?
I have always had a soft spot for the original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I absolutely love the visuals and the world is brimming with life. The enemies are nicely varied and different in the various locations round the game map. It took me over 10 hours to get round and search the starting area alone, before finding the next town with shop and tavern etc. The game is absolutely HUGE and equally on par with the size of Skyrim.
The gripes I have are minimal, such as the lack of being able to lock onto targets, whereas many third-person RPGs allow you to do this, whilst flicking between enemies with the right stick (the Dark Souls series, as an example) and you have to travel on foot as there are no horses or mounts. You can fast-travel back to towns and other locations, but you have to zoom out to the world map. The design decisions are literally dated now, and I was hoping so see some of the gameplay mechanics tweaked to bring it a bit more up to date.
Overall, Kingdoms Of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a strange one, really, as it is still the awesome game with amazing world and lore that it always has been, but there has been so little work put in to bring it into the current gen consoles, making the end result a bit deflating.
I feel we have been spoilt with RPGs since this was first released with The Witcher series of games and many others. If you have an Xbox One you can buy the 360 game digitally or pick up the disc version for a few pounds now, it makes this purchase a bit moot on the Microsoft console as it still looks and plays really well. If you have never played this previously, then you have missed out on a superb RPG and should buy this immediately!
- Developer: 38 Studios/Kaiko
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
- Players: Single-player only
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!