Published on September 27th, 2020 | by Zorbz
REVIEW – Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning
Thanks to THQ Nordic picking up the licence for Kingdoms of Amalur, we have been graced with a remaster of the Xbox 360/PS3/PC cult classic. How does this last gen hit that not a lot of people played fair in this modern age of gaming?
Story/Concept: Set in a high fantasy setting, your journey takes you through the Faeland, one of the Kingdoms of Amular. Your journey begins after you are killed in battle and revived in the well of souls, which is an experimental chamber that revives the dead, however it has never worked, until now.
Your character winds up in the midst of a battle in the facility between a race known as the Tuatha Deohn who are out to destroy all the mortal races of the world (think some X-men mutant vs humans crap). After escaping you meet a Fateweaver, someone who can see your destiny and ultimately knows where your life will take you and eventually end up, however you seem to have no destiny. This is something unheard of and so you set out to discover what this could mean all whilst a war is being waged that you eventually take part in.
I won’t spoil anything but this game is very lore heavy, so if that is your thing there is so much text and dialogue to dive into. If you’re not interested in that the main overarching story is enough to get you through to give you some purpose as to what you’re trying to accomplish without bombarding you. I love that the lore is there if you want it but it’s not crammed into your eyeballs and eardrums.
Graphics: The original last gen version of Amalur was already pretty impressive with it’s character designs, environments and strong use of colour. Everything in the game was so vibrant and that is still true in the remaster but it is wayyyy too saturated to the point i had to reduce the contrast on my TV which is a first for me in any videogame. The dark areas are pitch black and the colours can be so strong it’s hard to distinguish things.
Aside from the crazy use of colour which to be fair isn’t a major complaint, the resolution bump has smoothed everything over and was something I really wanted as this game running on backwards compat on xbox one on a 4k display just wasn’t cutting it. The framerate is smooth and seems to run better then the original which is a plus, but as this is a remaster, don’t expect the game to look like something made from the ground up for PS4 or Xbox one. I will say though that the character diversity, enemies and armour sets all have enough charm to still stand out from the bunch but the character animations definitely show their age.
Gameplay: This is where KOA is at its best. This is an action RPG with 4 distinct race options to choose from, 3 main skill classes that can be solely focused on or crossed over, upgrade trees, crafting, looting (where stealing is actually frowned upon and penalized, dialogue options, basically everything you would expect from a Deep RPG.
The combat is exceptional, i love the feeling of hacking away at enemies and casting magic on the fly. You can alternate between two weapons during fights which is so fast and fluid and just a joy to be able to pull off. Weapon variety ranges from spell casting staffs, duel handed swords, single handed blades, twin daggers, heavy hitting hammers and a few other weapons choices that will have you going through to find the right combination for you.
As you take on missions and side quests there will be tonnes of loot to rack up but you still have to manage the amount of stuff you are carrying so unfortunately you can’t just horde everything you find. I do like the amount of armour upgrades and weapons to find that always have some sort of stat perks and like most deep RPG’s, finding armour sets will reward you with specific attributes.
Speaking of side quests, there is a lot of them which have their own interesting little stories as well as rewards for completing them. A great update to the game is as you progress, the older side quests you may have taken up will adjust to the level you’re at so going back and doing earlier missions won’t net you with measly experience and instead will adjust to where you’re at accordingly.
Apart from side quests there’s specific factions you can join by doing missions for their cause. So add those in with side missions as well as campaign missions and the total play time can take you anywhere from 60 hours to probably over 100 hours for a full deep dive into everything the game has to offer. Now this is pretty standard these days but back last gen, apart from skyrim, this was pretty unheard of. This can stand up to games like the Witcher 3 in terms of length and lore to dive into and to be fair if a modern game ever felt like Amalur it would closest resemble the Witcher 3. Oh and did i also mention this remaster comes with all the DLC included which in itself was quite substantial chunks of added gameplay.
Sound: Kingdoms of Amalur spouts an impressive and epic soundtrack with full orchestral music and some impressive horn sections, only held back by the fact that a lot of the tracks sound very similar. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering they all sound great, but a bit more variety would have spiced things up in the audio department.
Voice acting is really impressive as well considering some of these big RPGS can have some pretty horrific NPC’s and sure some characters are very over the top but considering the high fantasy setting it really fits. The one thing holding this back is the audio doesn’t sound like it has been touched up and some of the recordings sound a bit hollow, almost like they were ripped at a lower bit rate and then put into this version. It’s not overly noticeable but it’s still there, but hey why waste all the money re-recording hours upon hours of dialogue when that’s here does the job.
Awesomeness: I think the thing that always stood out to me about KOA was the fast paced action gameplay that mixed so well with the RPG mechanics. It mixed stuff like the original god of war hack and slash 3rd person action with the systems of say an Elder scrolls game. This wasn’t the first game to do this but it does it really well.
For it’s time you were really getting a lot of bang for your buck in terms of sheer content and even still compared to modern contemporaries it still offers a lot more then the majority of open world games out there today.
Final Word: I have to say if you’re a fan of big open world action RPGS and you haven’t played Kingdoms of Amalur then do yourself a favour and go buy this game immediately. If you’ve played the original and all it had to offer then this remaster isn’t really going to bring anything new to the table. For me having never finished the original and wanting it looking crisp on my modern display, this remaster gave me what I wanted, with a few nice additions thrown in.
Out of 5 Bugs!