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Archive for the tag “Reckoning”

KOA:R … combat is king

Another night of questing and thrashing in Amalur has concluded and I can say with great certainty that combat is the feature that is defining this game for me.  While the art style and setting has been enjoyable and the story line created by the developers has been interesting, nothing has been more pleasing and refreshing then the action.  I am really starting to appreciate the fast travel system as well as I find myself hopping between caves to just try out different techniques and fighting styles to find what fits me best.

One thing that has also been extremely helpful and refreshing is the Fateweaver reset.  Nothing annoys me more in RPGs then getting a portion of the way into a game and deciding I want to experience a different playstyle and having to burn thru the same content all over again just to try something different.  I started KOA:R with the decision to go all in with Might as my ability focus but discovered last night that I really enjoy the fast striking of daggers over the slow strikes of the swords.  Of course I have already sunk 30 points into Might and 0 into Finesse, but by paying the fee at a Fateweaver I can reset those points and dump them into Finesse to try my hand at that style for a while.

My mind is now racing with possible skills combinations, weapons combinations and spell combinations.  I love the Quake ability in the Might tree that sees rocks shoot up from the ground damaging and stunning enemies, but now prefer the speed of the daggers… I can easily drop a few points into Might to obtain the lowest form of that ability then dump more points into Finesse to maximize my dagger damage and unlock the multiple strike dash attach.  Now I can roll into combat and hit my target with a fast series of strikes inflicting the DOT effect from bleeding, launch a Quake strike to put them off balance then flow right into a 5 strike dash attack to finish them off.. and it all flows flawlessly.

This is what combat should feel like.

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!

Reckoning is here!

Last night saw the midnite release of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, an RPG I have been following and anticipating for some time now.  Since the game is made by Big Huge Games based right here in the Baltimore area, there was a local release event put on by Gamestop and Big Huge Games.  The turnout was quite significant, though to be honest I think the crowd was 2 to 1 developers over costumers.  The devs treated those of us waiting in line to pick up copies to a good amount of swag, and of course were nice enough to sign our copies.   I was able to score myself a Troll themed t-shirt and also got my PC edition signed by several of the devs including the man Ken Rolston.

I have to say that the general attitude of these people was pretty impressive.  They were having their own cook out in the parking lot, almost as a sort of casual release party for themselves and they were all very friendly and willing to discuss what they did on the project.  What was interesting most of all was to see Rolston interact with members of the team.  Apparently holding hands with Ken and jumping up and down to see how high you can jump is some sort of BHGs inner office tradition as I was witness to this event several times.

Typically I do not attend midnite releases as I am now in my mid 30s and usually prefer a solid nights rest over getting a game just a few hours early, but BHG made this a fun evening.. and now hopefully KOA:R will be just as much fun.

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