Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Good production values, especially for a new RPG franchise.
- Plenty of visionaries at work here – on a technical basis this is one of the most creative games out there.
- Way too easy for the seasoned gamer.
It’s rare to see a new RPG franchise hit the market with this level of production values. It’s worth checking out for that reason alone
Price$ 109.99 (AUD)
Kingdoms of Amalur really is the product of a dream team of visionaries; pulp fantasy master writer, R.A Salvatore, comic book art legend, Todd McFarlane, and visionary game designer, Ken Rolston. While Amalur doesn’t quite live up to the expectations you might have for the product of these legends, it does a great job of being entertaining pulp fantasy.
The game kicks off with the standard tutorial dungeon that introduces you to your main enemy (a riff on the traditional fantasy evil Dark Elf type called the “Tuatha”), and the various methods in which you’ll take down those enemies. There’s a spot of stealth, some brutal and fast combat, and a bit of archery. By the end of the tutorial you’ll likely have an idea of what kind of character you want to play – which is just as well because after that tutorial the game largely leaves you to your own devices.
Amalur has a quest structure a bit like the Elder Scrolls games. There’s a “main” quest, sure, but it’s about the least interesting of the game’s plot lines. Every village, town and city is brimming with people that need help, and in keeping with the MMO tradition (which this game borrows heavily from) those people have big “!” marks above their head. It’s compelling to go up to these people and hear their stories, though a clunky quest logbook will mean the more OCD people will be driven mad by the constant bouncing around between objectives that they’ll be doing.
The quests themselves do a fairly poor job of breaking away from the traditional assassination missions and fetch quests, but they’re presented in a way that feels, if not fresh, interesting. Dialogue is well written, though decidedly pulp in execution.
The kingdom of Amalur
It helps that the setting backs up the writing perfectly. This is a world of high magic and real wonder, and McFarlane’s art direction suits it brilliantly. Every new location, and every new hulking monstrocity you encounter walks a perfect line between being original, and sticking to popular conventions.
If there’s one thing Amalur doesn’t want to do, it’s to be unpopular. This is a game that has been crafted to appeal to just about everyone. The combat is accessible and visceral, even if you just want to button mash through the easy difficulty levels. At the same time, there’s nuance to it, so the skilled players should be somewhat tested on the high difficulty levels. That’s not to say the game is ever really challenging – Dragon Age Origins this is not – but it’s enough to keep the attention of the hardcore RPG fans.
The downsides, such that they are, are really minor. Owing to the MMO roots of the game, there’s an awful lot of loot to be found, and only a limited number of inventory slots. The inventory, too, is a clunky menu to wade through, and inventory management is a real chore.
Though there’s a robust skill tree in place, it’s a little hard to get too invested in your avatar when she/ he has no in-game personality (in cut scenes, they just stand mute while being talked to), and little challenge in-game to make you think about skill allocation carefully. Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls games get away with it better because by default they are played out in the first person, which is a more personal window to the game world. Amalur’s third person camera works well for the combat, but is a depersonalising way to experience the world.
It’s great to see another fledgling western RPG franchise with real potential and talent behind it. Kingdoms of Amalur is a good foundation for the series. Hopefully future games can develop the world further, as it’s currently lacking the same sense of history of Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls games, and bring a little more challenge to make the whole journey feel even more worthwhile next time.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
- Dungeons and Dragons ditches pen and paper with D&D Beyond
- Exclusive no more: PlayStation 4 games are coming to the PC via PlayStation Now
- Adding video apps like Netflix to the Nintendo Switch is a waste of Nintendo's energy
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSystem Engineer - Level 2NSW
- FTApplication Services Administrator (Linux)NSW
- TPBusiness Implementation ManagerNSW
- TPAnalyst Programmer (.Net)SA
- CCFull-stack Software EngineerNSW
- TPSenior Drupal Developer / ArchitectQLD
- FTTest AdvertSA
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- TPSenior Performance TesterQLD
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTHelpdesk TechnicianVIC
- CCInfrastructure Test Lead - Contract 6-8 wks initially - IT Services - North RydeNSW
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- CCSenior Developer - Oracle - TelcoVIC
- FTSenior IT Business AnalystNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTDeployment Manager | ContractVIC
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - Microsoft / VMWareVIC
- FTFull stack Developer | 3 mth ContractVIC
- FTL&D Manager, Transformation Program in Finance ServicesNSW
- TPProject Support Officer - Data and Information ManagementVIC
- TPGIS Developer - 6 month ContractQLD
- FTQA LeadNSW
- FTDocumentation AnalystNSW