By Enigma777 33 Comments
That's how long it took me to finish Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
That's a long time. I haven't put in that much time in a single game since my playthrough of the DA:O Ultimate Edition. And by no means am I finished with it. I still have over 45 unfinished quests, 3 unexplored areas (along with at least 10-15 dungeons) and 5 sets of lorestones left to find. But still, I beat the last boss and that's all that matters.
As a first effort from Big Huge Games, Reckoning is solid. It does some things right and it does some things wrong, but on the whole I don't feel bad for spending so much time with it. I do have two major issues with it though: performance and presentation. Neither is very good...
Playing on the 360, I experienced frequent framerate drops (particularly in the "corridors" between the larger areas) and some severe drops during custcenes (we're talking 5-10fps here). There's also a lot of clipping and general jankiness you can expect from open-world games like AI acting weird and stuff glitching out. None of it is game-breaking but it did happen often enough for me to make a note of it. Also I ran into an issue at least a dozen times where my A button became non-responsive when running around the world and trying to interact with objects (like when harvesting reagents) that would persist until I loaded up a new area.
There's also some vestigial things from Oblivion/Skyrim that I found very annoying, like the day/night cycle. Why does it even exist? It's completely pointless! All it does is make me run around trying to figure out which bed the NPC I'm looking for is sleeping in. It's just dumb. Same for resting. I think I only rested once during my playthrough.
Another little thing that bugged me is the "supply chest." You know, the chest you find in your house where you can put in items you don't want to sell. Why the hell is the item limit on that thing 155? Why is there a limit at all? All I kept inside it was unique armor and weapon sets and it still filled up so fast that I had to start selling them. It just boggles my mind...
But my biggest complaint is the presentation. The cutscenes, dialogues, and the voice acting just aren't very good. When you talk to another character they just stand there. Sometimes they move their hands up or down, but not often. Their lips don't match the words being spoken and the voice acting can be atrocious sometimes. A prime example is your female "love interest" Alyn Shir. In the span of 2 consecutive lines of dialogue, she'll be whispering softly and then screaming at me. It's like when your dude would snap at a witness in LA Noire but 100% worse. It just reeks of bad editing. And since all the NPC's were made using the character creator, they all look so similar! Old or young, you couldn't tell except for the white hair. Also I hate, HATE it when they have a bunch of VAs record the same goddamn line. Walking around and hearing the same fucking line being repeated by 5 different people is just.. ugh!
Reckoning is a big game. I'll even go as far as say that it's too big. I'd happily give up half of all that content if that meant that the presentation was just 10% more polished.
But it's not all bad. There's also a lot of good in the game. I think the combat system is really fun. You have 9 unique weapons and a nice amount of interesting skills and abilities. This means that each combat scenario can be completed in a variety of ways. Also it all looks really cool. For example, when rushing into a group of enemies I'd tag all of them with Mark of Flame, then activate my Relentless Assault ability (which means I couldn't be knocked down and 25% of attacks were reflected) and jump in the fray with my great sword. Once I soften them up, I'd use my Elemental Assault to gather all the enemies towards me and activate my Mark of Flame, making every tagged enemy explode. If there were any stragglers left I'd finish them off with my long-range chakrams. That's just a taste. Then there's shield parries and shield bashing and teleporting and dash-attacking and even sneaking and backstabbing. My only complaint is that the game is too easy. I finished it on Hard and even then I only died twice.
I also think that the world is very interesting and unique. It's high fantasy, but with it's own flavor. There are some stunning locations that you visit and overall, there's a nice variety of locales and themes. One place I liked in particular was the Great Talking Tree thing. It reminded me a lot of a nicer version of the tree Kvothe talks to in The Wise Man's Fear. At least that's how I imagined it might look when I was reading the book...
Speaking of books, don't do the Brother Til's Books Quest. It's completely useless and it takes 10 slots of your inventory. Just don't bother.