Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning : E3 2011 Impressions

Script written by R.A. Salvatore, the acclaimed creator of the Drizzt Do'Urden series, a open world rpg with many many hours of gameplay and a intriguing combat system; sounds like a great combo yeah? Well we thought so. We got to check out this game at a demonstration at the EA area of E3. They showed us a quick run through of the basic aspects of the game and also showed us a 10 minute gameplay segment that piqued our interest.

Basic Info
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: 38 Studios
Type: Open World Action RPG
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: 2012

They are indeed trying to make the combat in this game more action based than traditional rpgs, but much of the other aspects of the game are staples of a hardcore rpg. For instance they still have things like, looting, crafting, leveling, but it is all mixed with a fast paced combat. If you are wondering what kind of RPG combat I am referring to, think of Fable or Two Worlds II, both of which have a combat system in which you are not locked into combat and have many options. It is a third person perspective of the character and so far the character, armor and weapons graphics are really well done, this is not a low quality game. The environment of the area we were shown was impressive. It started out as a natural looking cave with crystals and ore around, but as we got closer to the boss of the level, which was a big demon, it begin to look corrupted by its presence and by the lesser demons that roamed the place.

Let's delve into some other aspects of the game we were shown. We got to see the conversation system a little bit and while it is no Mass Effect, The Witcher 2 or Dragon Age 2 conversation system, it is pretty decent looking. It does have the option to skip all extra information and it has plenty of extra information available for those who want it, but we did not see anything regarding any choices; as in no good , neutral, or evil specific choices in conversations. Then again, they weren't really showing that off at all, mainly just combat and the level they were in. I do hope that in the later builds they will add some choices to conversations.
There is also a stealth skill which seems useful in many ways. Not only can you assassinate enemies with a really sweet looking finishing move, but you can pickpocket and disarm/detect traps with it. It looks to be an important skill to have even if you don't plan on pickpocketing or murdering your enemies stealthily. We also saw a skill that specifically helped you find hidden areas, something that also looked very important to have. They showed that some chests will be warded and they have a minigame for that in order to remove the ward, which looked pretty solid and not annoying. It involved a bunch of magic symbols on a circular ring and you seemed to have to hit them at the right times, for the right symbols, as the cursor moved around the ring at an increasingly fast rate. I really like that they have warding instead of just normal traps, it's a nice touch that really makes me think of R.A. Salvatore and Dungeons and Dragons.

We also got to see some combos that they have in combat, which looked well done and fluid. For instance, the character has a short teleport ability and also a earthquake attack in which the ground jutted up and struck the enemy with stalagmites. He used that to teleport to the other side of a enemy hit him with a couple quick successive strikes with his dual wielding blades, then teleport back the front and end him with a couple uses of the earthquake attack, which built up into a stronger attack after three uses. One of the most interesting parts of combat was the reckoning ability. It is a ability that builds up from fate orbs that you get from defeating enemies and when you use it the ability you turn into a overpowered badass. The world shifts for you and your attacks become stronger and faster. The coolest part of the ability is what it does for bosses. They used it on the boss at the end and they were able to do a finisher that tore the demon to pieces. I'm not sure if there are still finishers of other kinds if you are not in reckoning mode, but the one they showed off in reckoning was pretty impressive. It reminded me of a Infinity Blade when you finish off a enemy and he jumps up to the top and jams his weapon through their skull...that kind of thing.
We only got a taste of this game but it looks really promising and I can't wait to get some hands on time with it, or even just to see more of their world. They promise multiple factions, tons of classes, lots of character creation choices, impressive action based combat, hardcore rpg aspects, epic bosses and a massive world with many many hours of gameplay. Lets hope it turns out to be the best RPG of 2012, Skyrim is 2011 don't freak out, and that it lives up to the many promises and aspirations they have for it. Thanks for reading.

-Written By Sean Cargle


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