Last night, I finished up Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning. Amalur is a third-person, action-RPG hybrid in a fantasy setting.

As the game begins, the player’s character’s corpse is being wheeled through an unknown dungeon to be disposed of. After a bit of character creation goodness, said character wakes up in the center of a pile of corpses and then has to fight her way out of the collapsing “Well of Souls”– a magitech device which is apparently responsible for her recent resurrection.  During the escape, bits of the backstory are dropped in–a great war between the elves and the mortal races, etc. Once free of the well, the main character is largely set free into a large open world to explore.

Relatively early into the game, I began to draw comparisons between Amalur and Fable. Both are 3rd person, action-RPG hybrids in fantasy settings. Furthermore, both games have a three-treed ability system of magicy-ness, fightery-ness, and thievy. It has been long enough since I played the original Fable that I would have difficulty making a reasonable comparison, but compared to the latter two Fable games, Amalur is far better. The world in Amalur is bigger; the enemies are more diverse; and the NPCs are less like setpieces and more like legitimate characters in their own right.

My main complaint about the game is that it seems poorly balanced. I pursued a “balanced” approach through the game–evenly splitting my abilities between the three ability types. Although my “fighter” type abilities scaled well over most of the game (due primarily to the continual, ready access to newer and better equipment), the “mage” and “thief” abilities didn’t scale nearly as well. In a sense, though, that doesn’t really matter. Aside from the period of time while I was running around the map with no armor and all my abilities disabled (I was farming for skill trainers), I was never in any particular fear of losing fights. The game itself was surprisingly easy.

Summed up: Amalur is the game that I wish the later Fable games had been. It managed to be both wide-open with lots of options and yet still managed to feel connected and consistent.

Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning: 1

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