Kingdoms of Amalur is a cult classic that many loved, but felt it didn't get quite the recognition it deserved. You see, 2012 was a different point in time, a time filled with the likes of Mass Effect 3, Dishonored, Assassins Creed 3, Diablo 3, Borderlands 2, Sleeping Dogs, Max Payne 3, Far Cry 3, and the list goes on and on. As a result, you can imagine why the game wasn't the financial hit 38 Studios expected, they then went bankrupt and the rest is history. However, Re-Reckoning sets off to bring Amalur back into the minds of gamers, but is it a graceful reemergence? Lets discuss.

    Starting off with presentation, the game of course looks a bit dated despite the remaster. Quite honestly, if you told someone it was released in 2022, wasn't a remaster and they had no prior knowledge of Kingdoms of Amalur, they'd probably say it's a mobile game. The reason being, it's graphics give off that vibe, along with its large interface. Granted, some of the interface can be scaled, but certain elements still remain quite large. Graphics may have been a wow factor at one point for the game, but now it's just another piece of a mixed puzzle. 

    Another aspect of the presentation that's a mixed bag is the sound. The game doesn't have a master volume slider and some effects aren't controllable by it's sliders. On top of that, even with the dialogue slider lowered, cinematics still blast at 100% because there's no actual cinematic slider. Also, some audio is periodically louder than it should be and I experienced a tiny bit of clipping as well. Additionally, the voice acting of the game is just ok and nothing special when compared to today's standards.The one good thing I'll say about the sound is the soundtrack, it was pretty great throughout the entire game. 

    Taking a journey to gameplay brings us to another key issue with Kingdoms of Amalur in 2022, it's world. While giving the appearance of being large, it feels quite empty as exploration is punished by walls only unlockable by side quests and treasure chests with nothing useful in them. That last point was one of the more obnoxious aspects of the game, there's not enough loot upgrades to support the amount of loot you get on a regular basis. This makes you feel like chests are not special and are just a more advanced gold drop. All of that is a shame because the world oozes intrigue, but you're not rewarded for feeling that intrigue, you're made to feel like a fool for it. 

    Something that doesn't make you feel like a fool though and one of the strongest parts of Kingdoms of Amalur is how deep it's RPG mechanics are. You have traits that increase your ability to lockpick, break spells, gem craft, find hidden things, etc. On top of that you have fates, which are essentially classes that unlock over time and multiple skill trees to dive into. This, along with the stats you find on gear, allow you to make interesting builds. 

    While the builds you may create are interesting, the combat is somewhat of a mixed bag. Obviously more advanced for it's time and still enjoyable today, it falls short in numerous areas. It's difficulty primarily relies on stagger locking and overwhelming the player in all sorts of directions, especially once you reach the half way mark of the main story. Where Amalur shines best are more focused fights and while there are some of those throughout the game, there's also a lot of uninteresting stagger fests as well. The last bosses of the Teeth of Naros DLC and the main story are prime examples on how to create a good, but still challenging boss. Unfortunately, it felt like half of the bosses and enemies encountered didn't follow that philosophy. The reliance on stagger locking made the combat feel clunky, unresponsive, and sticky. The more focused fights allowed the combat to breath, while still allowing for challenging but fair mechanics, similar to what you'd see in Elden Ring. For more on Elden Ring, read my review of it by clicking here.

    Narratively speaking, the story kept me intrigued throughout. Featuring well written dialogue and solid execution of that dialogue, you become attached to multiple characters throughout the journey. The game focuses on you being a fateless individual, someone immune to the future-sight of fate weavers, a person ultimately free of a predictable fate. Due to being able to change destiny, you're given the task to help stop the Tuatha Deohn who are aiming to summon their god, Tirnoch. While the premise is somewhat standard, the characters, specifically Alyn Shir are quite fun to interact with and get to know. Some can be a bit over the top, like Agarth who constantly tells you he's a hopeless drunk, but all of them are charming in their own ways. The important part of narrative, is grounding it within the world and making it feel believable and Kingdoms of Amalur does just that. Even the Teeth of Naros DLC has a well written story with strong characters as well. Speaking of DLC, Re-Reckoning comes with the Teeth of Naros and Legend of Dead Kel DLCs. However, unless you buy the FATE edition for an extra $15, you'll have to pay the full $20 for the new Fatesworn DLC. 

    Overall, Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning would have been an impressive game in 2012, but is just a bit below average in numerous areas when compared to the 2022 landscape. This ultimately hurts the purpose of the remaster, as remasters are typically used to bring in new customers who may have not played the original release. As someone who played very little of the original game in 2012, I was not that impressed with the game as a whole and even skipped 2 pieces of DLC content. I can recommend this game only to those who want to delve into a bit of gaming history or were prior fans of Kingdoms of Amalur. For all others, skip this. 

Rating: 6.8/10




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