Guilty Pleasure Gaming: Kingdom Of Amalur Reckoning

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This is a guilty pleasure for me because this is a fantasy RPG that is boiled down to its base form, the classes are basic, the combat system is basic, the graphics are basic, everything! Is incredibly basic and “Safely” designed. So in a sense this is an incredibly average by the numbers RPG that doesn’t deserve any special attention right?

Well you’re not completely wrong, but I keep asking myself why the hell do i keep coming back to it and playing it every so often? Perhaps im just a huge sucker for fantasy and RPG’s that ill play anything it puts in front of my face. If you don’t think about it too much while you play the game it’s not actually that bad, not too good but not bad either.

To break it down somewhat to show you what i mean, lets start with the combat, I played as a warrior (Melee type character) and…. Yeah it was alright but it does get tedious really fast. My typical fights consist of get hit, wait for them to stop and then wail on them repeatedly until they stop moving, that’s about it. No advanced mechanics or anything remotely complex, that’s it. Yeah it gets the job done for the absolute bare minimum you might expect in an RPG but come on guys try to push the boat out a little.

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Although to be fair though do have a system where you can change your “Destiny” which basically is another name for skill points, which are split up into three categories, namely Might, Finesse and Sorcery which, after using skill points, allow you to unlock destiny cards that essentially give you a title like conquerer or Archmage etc and a few little stat buffs and again that’s about it, the game makes out that it gives you this new revolutionary way of moulding and shaping your character and it fails to get off the ground, its like the game got bored half way through and decided to go for a nap. Oh a quick tip from me, stock up on health potions as gold is so easy to get from selling the truck loads of loot you get, you can buy bazillion health potions and tank your way through any fight. That is until you run out of potions, but by then you’ve restocked on absolutely useless, but nonetheless valuable loot which in turns gives you tons of gold when sold to restock it all over again.

That’s got me through the majority of the game! So essentially removing any sort of challenge and strategy (what there was of it anyway), do I come back to it for the story? In a word NO. I have to give the developers credit though, they actually put in a ton of effort to give the kingdoms of amalur all their own background stories and lore with which to flesh out the world and to make it believable. Only problem is, it’s so incredibly dull, it does not capture your imagination at all, and you want to try so hard to listen and to read it all but in the end you get reduced to skipping all the dialogue just to get on with the game. Also you can’t help getting the feeling that, with all the lore and story they try to put into the game, it’s not been put in there in the pure pursuit of telling a good story but more in a way of setting up an IP (Intellectual Property) that they can milk the shit out of at a later date (Presuming that this game sold well…. It didn’t) and I cant help but feel validated in that assumption because EA were the publishers…..

As for the graphics, there not much to look at either, the comparison I like to make is that its like looking at W.O.W (World Of Warcraft) on the lowest graphical setting, im not even kidding you. Sure its bright and colourful but it really hinders the story there trying to tell, (which im still confused as to whats going on in the game, that or I havent been paying attention, like at all.) because the style just doesn’t match the game in my opinion, it throws you off, making an already kind of awkward game to play that much more awkward.

So from the confusing story, awkward graphics, boring combat and everything else, why do I still come back to it? I still don’t know! I think sometimes it reminds me of a simpler time in RPG’s where they couldn’t be too complex because the machines they ran on didn’t have the power to do it so you essentially had to fill in the blanks yourself. So I guess you can say its a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, although that can only last you a 30 minute playing session tops before you get burnt out and pissed off with it and wanting to play another game.

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Another reason could simply be that im a massive achievement whore, and that I’ll put myself through any old shit to earn GamerScore. Which is plausible, although I have to say the achievements are un-inspired and are no fun at all to “Achieve”. If you ever want to see what are good, fun, achievements to get look at the Left 4 Dead games, they were so much fun and you had to actually “Achieve” things to earn them, rather than take your first few steps in the game or kill your first goblin etc.

So, what have we learned today? That im stupid for playing this game and also am a huge achievement whore? Well yes but, this game did have quite a lot of potential but it didn’t get utilised, so instead they plumped with committee driven “Safe” choices in mechanics and gameplay etc. In the class of Guilty Gaming Pleasures, this is the one even im too ashamed to admit to people that ive played it, granted im telling everyone now but still! It’s that game you’re not really too proud of to have played (at least im not), its not that class of guilty pleasure like Catherine where at least you can laugh at it, and share in its utter insanity. But not with KOA:Reckoning as its so stodgy and boring it just needs to get put in the dark corner of your memory and let it stay there….

(Although I am sad to say the studio who made the game eventually went bust, so unfairly or not im blaming EA on this one since they were the publishers and have a history of fucking their studios over.)

Anyway!

Thanks for reading hope you enjoyed it

Dave

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