Monday, 5 March 2012

Pondering Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

I’m still playing Skyrim, but recently another RPG has caught my eye. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning seems to be similar to it in a number of ways. It’s a fantasy RPG, (although it seems more standard fare than the Nordic flavour of Skyrim), you can do things like alchemy and smithing, and there are a series of skills split into the old warrior-mage-rogue archetypes.

The graphics are a bit more stylised (or unrealistic, as you prefer), and I’d be surprised if there’s quite the same scale as in Skyrim. Character creation is restricted to four races (two elven, two human) and there seems to be a more limited scope for customising faces.

However, there is also an intriguing approach to classes. Whilst there are the three main archetypes, you can also blend them, to make a rogue-mage, for example, that has specific rogue-mage abilities/bonuses. You can do this by mixing two archetypes or all three.

There’s also a wider range of weaponry than in Skyrim and a bigger range of monsters. There seems to be some lacklustre views regarding the voice acting (which is a shame as I love good acting) but the combat may be better than average.

Oblivion had a bloody awful levelling system which could easily make players weaker as they levelled up. Skyrim’s fixed that, but Kingdoms of Amalur appears to have gone one better, and separated combat skills from non-combat abilities. This means you can’t bugger up levelling and become a skilled alchemist whilst neglecting all combat-related abilities, as is possible in Skyrim.

Reviews of the game seem somewhat polarised, with a few reckoning it to be better than the latest Elder Scrolls instalment but quite a few feeling it gets repetitive and that there’s not much beyond the action. Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to buy.

Mind you, I was unsure of buying Valkyria Chronicles, and that turned out to be strangely delightful.


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