Kingdom Of Amalur Re-Reckoning is a remaster of the cult classic, that was originally developed by Big Huge Games, and published by EA. This time, it’s been remastered by KAIKO, and published by THQ Nordic.
You are dead. Wormfood. You’ve kicked the bucket. Everyone knows there’s no coming back from that. Death is the only definite thing in life. Unless of course, you’re dumped down a hole, with a ton of other dead people, into a place called The Well Of Souls. Through the power of magic and a bit of science, you are brought back to life, with no idea how you got there, and no idea of how you died. It is now up to you, to stop the evils of the land, and bring a halt to the war, that is ravaging the land and destroying people’s lives! There is a ton to do in Amalur. Dungeons to spelunk, people to help, and guilds to make whole again.
The main story of the game is one of the strongest bits of the game. Sure if you speedrun it, and skip the dialogue, it’ll be over by the time you’re done blinking, but it kept me engaged. As you go from a bandit killing nobody, to a war stopping badass, slowly learning more skills as you go along, and becoming more deadly. Unfortunately, aside from the main story, the rest of the storylines in the game are a bit forgettable.
If you’ve ever played an Elder Scrolls games, you’ll know what I mean when I say that there are guild storylines in this. If you’ve never played one, that the best way to explain it, is that there are certain factions of the game, say Mages, or Thieves, that all have their own self contained stories. Not just a one-off quest of “Thanks for helping me!”, but instead, you join the ranks of the faction, and usually end up working your way up. I remember loving these questlines when I had first played the game on PS3, about 6+ years ago. But this time they felt forgettable. When I played them, I got really into them, but when I stopped, I always forgot the details. But it always boiled down to the same thing. Join the guild, help a few low-rank members, figure out who the big bad person is, get promoted, figure out where the big bad person is, kill them, then become the best person in the guild. There was no real deviation in the flow of the storylines. There were some moments where I went “oooohhhhhhh”, but it was never mind-blowing. The same goes for the DLC storylines that seem to be over before they really start. But luckily in the Legend Of Dead Kel, you have Captain Brattigan to keep you company. The silliest character of the whole game!
Of course, you can’t have a big open-world game without having sidequests! Too bad the sidequests are just there. There are no real big deep storylines. There are a few long storylines where you get a house in a swamp town, or take over a mining company because the owner is a corrupt genocidal maniac, but other than that, they’re just one-offs. Find my loved one, gather these items for me, or kill this creature. So they just end up feeling like a time waster and a necessity if you want to level up a bit faster.
This is where the game really shines in my opinion. The combat is so simple and fluid, with so much customizability. The world is large, filled with many treasures and dungeons to explore, that before I knew it, I had spent 50 hours just discovering everything, and finding new gear to equip and completing every dungeon. It helps that there was a simplistic combat system that was fun for most of my playtime.
When it comes to an RPG like this, there are at least a few classes to choose from. You have your three basic ones. Warrior, Thief, or Mage. Luckily this where the game gets good, as you can make a class and be proficient in all three. Or you can be a stealthy little Thief who is proficient in magic. So you can sneak behind enemies, then light them on fire with your magic! Then while they’re running around screaming that they’re on fire, you can hit them from a distance with your bow and arrow! The amount of depth you have when creating the way you want to play, or how you want to specialize is great! If you don’t like the way something feels, or wanna try something different, you can also pay a merchant and have all your skills reset too! So you’re never locked into one style of gameplay if you end up hating it or getting tired of it! You also have a ton of skills to become proficient in. Like lock picking, or getting rid of spells on chests, or persuasion, that let you get special dialogue! My only issue was that some of them felt unnecessary. Especially lockpicking and dispelling to get better at taking spells off chests. You can easily get through the minigames with these, without upgrading the skills. So it felt like a waste to use skill points on them.
There’s also your typical gear system. Pick up loot, hope it’s better than what you have, and if not, you sell it to the vendor. But if you get proficient in Blacksmithing, you can make your own gear. Whether it’s super awesome swords, or a godly pair of boots. It’s all here. The only thing is, you have to find the materials. So some of the best stuff doesn’t come until the end of the game, and you may already be really deadly by then, so it may not benefit you to take the time to make a custom sword or bow. But on the plus side, you get to name everything you make! Want boots that are called “Mah Stompers”? Go for it! A sword called “My Slapping Stick”? Absolutely! Let your imagination guide you!
Graphics / Sound
Unfortunately, the game didn’t improve much in this regard. The game looks like a PS3/Xbox360 game. Although I guess that’s because it is. There was no real overhaul to anything. During some conversations with NPCs, it would switch perspective and show me or them, and most of the time, one of us wasn’t actually being shown. So it looked as if they were talking into the thin air like a crazy person! I even experienced a couple of visual bugs. Only one was really game-breaking, as it completely erased my map for an ENTIRE AREA! Each area is divided into smaller maps, that we’ll call regions. So in this area, by the time I discovered it all, I couldn’t see anything on my map screen for any of the 9 regions of the area. I tried to work around it, but eventually I just got sick of it, and let the game consume it all, until it was just black, with colorful dots scattered around my screen when I entered the map screen.
The sound makes some areas feel ominous and great. Like the drip drip of wet caves, or the open echo of a mine shaft. But my biggest gripe was the combat music, as it got annoying quick. There was pretty much only one real combat beat, and it sounded like a trombone making the exact same tune every few seconds. I really wished I could’ve turned it off by the time I hit 50 hours of game time.
As I said earlier, the game is filled to the brim with things to do. If you were to do every side quest in the game and explore every dungeon, you would be looking at well over 100 hours of content. In the DLCs alone, when you beat the story, you unlock a bunch of extra side quests. This definitely makes up for there being no replay value. But at the same time, with no real solid questlines, this is also a bit questionable. If you like a lot of things to do, you’ll love it. If you want deep, meaningful, thought-provoking sidequests, you’re looking in the wrong place.
I loved this game. It was one of my favourite games on the PS3. But playing it 6+ years later, it felt like something was lost. So replaying it didn’t hit as much as I wanted it too. If you’ve never played before, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a great world to explore, with a thrilling main story, and was really a stepping stone for the open world games we have today. But if you’ve played before, there’s no real reason to come back. Unless you bought the “Fate Edition”, which comes with bonus content, that contains a new storyline I guess. It would’ve been great had some of it been built from the ground up. Or some models were redone to look sleeker. But I understand why it wasn’t, because that would’ve cost a pretty penny. Needless to say I’m glad I came back to revisit something I loved, but I don’t think I’d ever do it again on PlayStation 5. Unless of course it was a true to form Remake, and some storylines were rewritten! But at the end of the day, I do recommend it!