First play session impressions of Reckoning
I have a problem… there are only 24 hours in a day and that is just not enough to do the essential things like eat, sleep, work and destroy mobs of Brownies with flaming combos!
Thus far I have spent about 5 hours in Amalur and must say my journey is already one that I am loving and cherishing. Game play mechanics to me are the strongest and most important aspect of a title, a game can be the prettiest in the world but if it is not fun there is little reason or desire for me to keep playing. Thankfully, this so far has been the most outstanding part of KOA:R. The combat handles so smooth and combinations just flow from one attack to another without a hitch. I love being able to blast a target from afar with a lightning strike leaving them stunned, then pulling them in close with a special attack and hitting them with a quick freezing blast from a sceptre and closing with a fast series of knife thrusts. Ah freedom! Gone are the notions that if I want to use magic I MUST wear cloth and stand in place and cast bolt after bolt, or if I want to use that big ass hammer I have to wear the heaviest armor and do my best Hulk impersonation. Of course wearing certain armor gives bonuses that make sense for certain playstyles, but the CHOICE is there if I want to pursue a different way of doing things… and I never get tired of new ways to butcher Brownies.
Ah Brownies…. and not the kind grandma use to make. These are the oddly shaped little ones chilling in the woods in circles humming songs and participating in some sort of unnatural hedonistic ritual… of course they must perish! I joke about the hedonism of course, who am I to judge, but they truly are hanging in the woods ‘doing something’. You can hear the brownies as you approach if you listen carefully, their humming getting louder as you enter the area. Just like so many other inhabitants of KOA:R they are not just standing there in place waiting for their death. Bears roam an area and then lay down and roll around and take naps, bandits can be seen doing push ups. These are not new things in an RPG, but they are nice details that make a world feel more alive.
When playing the demo I was not initially pleased with their choice in art syles, but that was on the PS3. Now I am playing the full title on my PC maxed out and boy is it impressive. I think the max settings and the smaller screen help considerably as before I was limited to what the PS3 could do and on a much bigger screen, once again, PC wins for me. I have read and heard the comparisons to WOW style art and Fable and it is a valid comparison, but not one that detracts from KOA:R.
Of course this is an RPG and what would an RPG be without the hero and his/her story. KOA:R naturally, like so many other RPGS, places your character in the middle of ‘the great conflict’. The usual RPG story points exist, there is a war, you are central somehow to the war, you must journey to discover why and how you are involved. Is the story very original… to early to say. I believe a true RPG story takes time to unfold and since I have only done the first two steps in the main quest line that will be determined.
Up in the next post, a closer look at another RPG staple… good or evil decisions!