Demo Impressions - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms of Alamur This is one game that I didn't even know existed. It's coming out on February 7 and I only noticed it because the release is a week away. Thankfully, 38 Studios released a lengthy demo. The demo is pretty much the start of the game, and not only was I impressed by the game, I spent two hours on it.

Not only is it a fresh title, this is one of the first project's of 38 Studio as game developers.

What interested me in getting the demo? Well you get some freebies for Mass Effect 3 if you download and play the demo of Kingdoms of Amalur. Like i said, I spent two hours on the game and it really showed me what this game will bring.

It's a hack and slash action RPG with a surprisingly deep character customization. When you start the game, your character is pretty much a blank slate. You are presumed dead and get dumped in a pile of corpses. When your character gets out of the pile you get to control your him/her for the first time. As you progress in the starting area, the game teaches you different ways to dispose your enemies in the game. You learn how to equip and fire a bow, silently kill an enemy, and even cast your first spell which is some lightning bolt. You come out as like a jack of all trades kind of hero at the start but with three skill trees to invest points in. Might Finesse and Sorcery are the skill trees, so it was obvious you can either go the warrior, rogue, or mage route.

This game has pretty decent controls but a targeting system that would bring problems to players. Its auto targeting so it takes a lot of effort to target the enemy you actually want to attack, especially when you want to cast a spell on them or shoot them with your bow. The camera is also a pain since it can sometimes zoom in too much into the fight making you also worry about adjusting your view during the battle.

It's a story driven game. Your hero is the typical silent hero but everybody around you have decent voice acting which is a plus. You engage them in a conversation wheel somewhat seen in games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age. After learning the basics, find out about the main story, and looting some items, I found myself outside the starting area and introduced to a huge open world.

You find out the main plot of the game as you leave the starting area. Just when I thought it was going to end soon, the demo informs me that I have 40 minutes to roam around the world and just do whatever I want really. Going to the menu screen or engaging in a conversation will pause the timer. With that in mind, I explored and saw myself doing a couple of side quests and leveling up during my 40 minutes. it was an hour of open world freedom and I saw myself hooked into the world 38 Studios created. I was able to hit level 3 before the demo ended and I invested points in finesse, to become more of a rogue type.

Deep RPG elements is always a win for me

There's 22 skills per tree, and each skill had a couple of levels in each of them in order to max it. There's a lot of variety on how you want to level your character and what's so interesting with the character progression is you can further make your character unique by these destiny cards. it's sort of the class system in the game. Certain cards will unlock depending on how much points were invested in a certain tree. Invest 6 skills in finesse and you can equip a destiny card that gives you bonuses as a rogue. There are some destinies that require points on different trees. Add 8 points in Might and Sorcery and you get a destiny that gives you interesting bonuses like replacing your roll with a teleport. Thanks to these destinies, becoming more of a hybrid character is possible.

When you level, you earn higher life and mana plus 1 skill points and 3 points to be added in either of the three skill trees. That one skill point is for improving your skill on either blacksmithing, alchemy, persuasion, lock picking, those kinds of skills. Yes, crafting is also present in this game and I noticed somewhat like gem slots on some green items I found during the demo.  The RPG elements really feel deep.

The world map of Kingdoms of Amalur is huge. It gave be the impression that this is no 20 hour action RPG but more like a 50+ or more kind of game. There seems to be factions, tons of side quests and what looks to be five regions in the map. Todd Mcfarlane(Spawn) is doing the art of the game and they also have a lead designer that worked on Elder Scrolls III & IV. Which makes sense seeing how broad the game is.

During my 5 minutes left in the demo. I was sold to what Kingdoms of Alamur : Reckoning has to offer. So I stopped with the questing(avoid further spoilers) and decided to give hell to the first village in the game. Pressing the up directional enables you to attack friendly NPC's and at level 3, the whole town and guards were wiped out.

What does it feel like? - Open world RPG games like Elder Scrolls or Fallout. Only difference is combat is very fast paced. It looks like a huge world filled with dungeons and quests, and a story worth telling. A very unique character customization and a really face paced combat that have a bi of problems because of the camera and targeting but loads of fun. Western RPG fans, this one looks like a winner.

This game is definitely up my alley and I'm seriously considering on getting it when it comes out.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is out on February 7 for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.


Migoy's Impression:

I have to admit that I have never really played a fantasy RPG before. I played a bit of the first Diablo as a kid but didn't get far, missed out on Diablo 2 and basically the whole MMORPG scene when it boomed so I was going into this completely fresh not knowing what to expect.

Let me set things straight, I enjoyed this demo. The world looks gorgeous and I found it fun to run around the fields and killing monsters. Equipping different armor and leveling up spells and abilities are standard fare in games like this but what set this apart, in my opinion, was the combat. It plays more like an action game when it comes to hacking down enemies, shooting your arrows and casting your spells. All of this happens in real time as opposed to clicking your enemy, doing a slash then waiting for the cool down time to run out. I like combat that is more involved and after the demo ends, the trailer played shows off some more combat where the characters are doing combos and juggling their opponents which made me even more excited about this game.

Now I know that I should get Skyrim first and I set Battlefield 3 to be my February purchase but I might cave and pick this game up once released.