Do you have any games that you genuinely want to play, but just never get around to for whatever reason? I know I sure do. Be it lack of time or even something as simple as just not being in the mood for a certain kind of game, sometimes I just can’t bring myself to sit down and try something. This has been the case for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I was genuinely interested in it when it initially launched in 2012, but just never got around to it.
So, when Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning launched last year, I was ready to give it a try. However…I once again just wasn’t able to get around to it. Well, now the game is free on PS Plus, so there was absolutely no reason not to get it. I finally downloaded it last weekend, booted it up and gave it that long overdue try. And, well…perhaps it would’ve been better if I hadn’t waited so long.
On paper, Kingdoms of Amalur sounds pretty good. It’s an adventure RPG set in a new fantasy world featuring a high-level of character customization and deeper-than-average combat. I thought that sounded pretty good, and I really thought I’d get into it pretty quickly, but somehow that just wasn’t how my initial few hours played out. Instead of invested, I found myself feeling a bit bored. Rather than enjoying “deep” combat, I was just mashing the same couple of buttons, and I haven’t yet found a quest I felt was interesting.
Considering what Kingdoms of Amalur actually is, perhaps my expectations were too high. You see, I’d already played this game’s main competitors years ago, those being Fable II and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Neither of those is a good game to be measured up to. Amalur certainly has more going on storywise than Fable II, but it lacks its rival’s charm. There’s more to find in the world, but I’m not nearly as interested in finding it as I would be in Skyrim.
Amalur has the advantage over both when it comes to combat, or at least it should. However, I’ve so far just found myself being annoyed with it. It’s certainly more involved than either of the other games’ systems, but that quality somehow winds up feeling more like a detriment. Somehow, Skyrim’s combat is more fun to engage with since you have a lot of control over how effective things like magic and your weapons are. It feels more like it’s your own. As for Fable II, well…it was just faster. The system wasn’t good, so enemies were all weak for the most part. It was just good enough to break up the boredom of running from place to place.
In Kingdoms of Amalur though, combat feels overly scripted and showy in the way that many adventure games were in the 2009 – 2012 period. It all felt fine, fresh even, at the time, but now its kind of obnoxious. The same goes for the setting, story and quests. I feel like I really could have gotten into all of it at the time, but now that it’s nearly 10 years later, I wonder if I still can. I’ve seen each element implemented better in many other games by now, so it’s not very interesting to play what feels like a lesser version.
I’m still planning on putting a few more hours into it before I call it either way, but I’m really feeling like I missed the boat for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It’s absolutely a competent game, I’d even call it a decent fantasy RPG. All that said though, the fact remains that just about all of this game’s major features have been done better in multiple games by now. It’s really too bad, but I guess that’s just how it goes.
Have you played Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning? How does it stack up against other RPGs you’ve played?
Image from Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Steam page