Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning – It’s not Skyrim, but that’s a good thing

Having finally completed the incredibly detailed The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim game, I was feeling a little empty. You see, I’ve been playing Skyrim almost non-stop since it came out over six months ago. How could I ever game again after having completed that epic journey? So I turned back to my Gamefly membership and got my first pick, which was The Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning.

I expected Amalur to fail in every possible way. Because, you see, I thought it was a rip-off of Skyrim, a poor imitation of greatness. And then I started playing. And playing. And playing. And ended up believing that there was still a life left for me in gaming. Amalur was sort of like Skyrim in that it was an RPG, but in every other way, it is completely different.

I have not yet come to the end of Amalur yet, and I suspect that I am only about 25% of the way through the game (maybe less), but my initial thoughts are that it’s good: quite good. And it even excels in certain places, even over my beloved Skyrim.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the story of a mortal who has died and has been brought back to life by a gnome scientist. This mortal has arrived to the world with no fate, a situation unbeknownst to the world. Fate guides every creature in the world of Amalur, but now that this mortal has been re-born, fate is beginning to unravel at the seams. The mortal begins a quest to uncover how he/she died in the first place and to determine what exactly has happened to fate and the world. Meanwhile, there are forces who would capture the mortal and use him/her to change their own fates and that of the worlds. It is also a tale of the fae, as well, the oldest creatures who exist in the Amalur universe, a group of beings who depend on fate to create their own personal stories.

In this respect, I would compare Amalur more to Fable than Skyrim. Graphically, the game is also more reminiscent of Fable, with more vibrant colors, with lots of forests and trees and magic. Even combat feels a little like Fable, although much more complex. The RPG elements, however, remind me a great deal of the Dragon Age series, although the story doesn’t seem as affected by dialogue choices. There is also a lack of romance in the game, but it hardly needs it.

What makes Amalur unique, though, is that you can create and re-create your character constantly throughout the game. Don’t like the fate you’ve chosen? Change it when you level up. You could be a bow-and-arrow equipped warrior or a sword-wielding hunter or an assassin who likes to use magic. There aren’t limitations when it comes to class and type of character – you decide how the game will be played.

I like rogues, so I’ve obviously sculpted my character to indulge more in stealth and using these wonderful weapons called faeblades. But she is also great with a bow and arrow and long-range attacks with magic.

Gameplay is easy to figure out and well-structured, as is the leveling up process. This is a very user-friendly game.

Amalur also offers up to 100 hours of gameplay. And while I got tired of all the extra quests in Skyrim (which started to get repetitive), Amalur seems to change things up enough that each quest, including the minor side quests, all feel important to the game itself. You’re not just running errands, each quest you complete brings you closer to the actual heart of the story.

The voice acting, too, is top-notch. In Skyrim, I got frustrated that many of the voices sounded identical. I have not yet come across that in Amalur. Amalur is, in fact, the better voice-acted game.

So all in all, I’m giving Amalur my highest blessing. If you’re looking for a change, but still want a great long RPG, this might be a great game for you to try out.

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