The story behind 38 Studios and Curt Schilling seemingly got more press than Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning did on release in 2012. Which was such a shame as the game was an excellent RPG.
With the immediate bankruptcy of 38 Studios, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning disappeared into the ether. Sitting at the bottom of bargain bins, loved by those who found it but overlooked by most. That was until 2018 when THQ Nordic bought the rights and assets of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Now they have re-released it with a snazzy new remastering and the new title of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning.
Are you ready to step into the world of Amalur, either for the first time or as a returning player?
THQ Nordic boasts that Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning comes with stunning visuals, refined gameplay and extended content. They’re not wrong as this is the most complete version of the game you can possibly play. It doesn’t just include the base game but comes with all the previous DLC too. Which includes Teeth of Naros and Legend of Dead Kel. To say that you can sink 50 hours into this game easily, is an understatement.
An action RPG, you take on the role of the ‘Fateless One’. Having died at the beginning of the game, you are revived at the Well of Souls. Before you can work out what happened and why you’re not dead, the place comes under attack and you have to escape. The first portion of the game is essentially training. It is when you leave the Well of Souls that you’re thrust fully into the story and the world.
Your death and subsequent resurrection has left you fateless and able to alter the fates of others. The world of Amalur is gripped in a war between mortals and the Fae and it’s up to you to put a stop to it. All while finding out the purpose of your resurrection and detachment from fate’s grand plan.
It’s an epic fantasy-based story and one that holds the attention. Even when you’ve spent hours and hours wandering the massive world completing side-quests for the many characters that exist in it. Amalur is a living and breathing world and the wealth of side-quests aren’t just there to help you enhance your abilities or gain new equipment. A lot of them add more plot points, Building on the overall narrative and growing the world.
Of course, it’s not all wandering around and talking to people. There’s combat too with the first decision you make being what kind of warrior you are. This decision relates to what kind of play-style your character will employ. Are you going to be a sneaky rouge or a brutish fighter? Maybe magic is what you’re planning to rely on? Here’s the cool thing though. Regardless of what you choose, you can utilise elements and skills from the other choices as you play. Combining sword and shield combat with fireballs and lightning strikes.
The combat system is very well done and with a wealth of weapons to find, whatever you choose to wield always feels epic. The simple way in which the game shows you what your latest loot’s stats are compared to what you have equipped makes seeking items out, always worthwhile. Your character feels completely customisable and levelling up adds to that.
Gain enough experience and you’ll be able to attribute points to skill trees and abilities making you all the more powerful. Power is needed too as Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning has a lot of enemies for you to take down. A wide range of grotesque creatures ranging from giant spiders to packs of wolves to hammer wielding ogres and magically powered Faes.
Where Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning’s charm really comes from though is the beautiful world of Amalur. Vibrant, colourful and dripping in fantastical atmosphere, it’s a lovey looking game enhanced by wonderfully themed music and sound effects. Except it was in 2012 too and it doesn’t feel like a massive step-forward. Especially when you compare it to other massive RPG’s that came out afterwards (The Witcher 3).
That’s an easy to overlook negative. What isn’t so easy to overlook are the loading screens. Which can take ages and appear upon entry to most dungeons, towns and new areas. It’s never more frustrating when you’re having to fast travel to talk to one character, only to have to fast travel to another straight afterwards. Each trip brings a lengthy loading screen and a sharp reminder that this game came out in 2012.
The thing is, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is such a great game that if you’ve never played it before, you have to check it out now. This is the best and most complete version of an excellent RPG. The question is if you’ve been in Amalur before, is there enough to call you back? Probably not as this remaster is not as spectacular as many other remasters have been. Truth be told, THQ Nordic didn’t really have to do too much and it shows.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning
The Final Score - 9/10