Monday, February 27, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur

I picked up Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning last week, a day after release, and I am still in the OMFG stage. Beautiful game, detailed storyline, great gameplay, great combat, great world and level design. In short, I love it.

Now, I'd heard some shockingly lukewarm reviews about it. People said that it was a fine fantasy RPG but it didn't really do anything new or exciting. People said it was beautiful but not innovative in look or design. I don't know what version of Amalur these reviewers played, but I was hooked from the start. The world is beautiful, gorgeous. It's like a moving Hildebrandt painting, only better since I was never really a fan of Hildebrandt!

The opening of the game, set in the Well of Souls, is a little dark. That worried me a little because I hadn't bargained for a dark, shadowy world and I'm usually not a big fan of that experience. But the detail of the gnomes there, and the glowing, vibrant lights of the souls and magical flowers was too much to ignore, and after you get past that initial tutorial, you get out into the world and everything brightens up.

Every character has such detail, it's amazing. Even the wolves (which you sadly have to kill) look perfectly real, and yet like something out of a comic book or fantasy painting. There's so much texture to the game, it felt like my PS3 magically got an upgrade.

Now I just finished Dragons Age (and I do mean all of Dragons Age) and so my comparison is largely based off of my Dragons Age experience. And actually Dragons Age is a lot to live up to. It has one of the best combat systems I've ever used, it has some gorgeous world design, it has a great great story revealed through codex that your character can gather, and it easy to move through the environment.  By contrast, something like Neverwinter Nights, I've always found a little difficult to get the camera under control and I've felt like the combat system is practically not even a combat system.  (Great game though, no disrespect!)

Amalur lives up to Dragons Age in every aspect so far. The combat doesn't feel like RPG combat. You actually fight in realtime, which I'm not used to from both Fallout 3 and New Vegas and Dragons Age, but it's so well done that it took me no time to get used to it. I'm barely into the game but the story is already engrossing.

I'll probably post more about Amalur as i progress through it, and I'll obviously try to avoid any spoilers, but no question about it so far, this is a game to buy and enjoy.  It's big. 4GB of hard drive space required, but it's worth it! 

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