Last fall I got to review Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning which was a remaster of the original game that publisher THQ Nordic and developer Kaiko had now brought out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners to enjoy. It was a franchise that I had always hoped to see come back and while Re-Reckoning didn’t have as many improvements as I would’ve liked to avoid the action RPG from showing its age, it was still enjoyable for the dozens of hours that it lasted. Seven months have passed and now the team has released the Nintendo Switch version letting players explore the land of Amalur on the go or on the big screen.
For those who never played this game back when it originally released, the story was written by R. A. Salvatore and he did a great job with it. The world of Amalur is under attack by the King of the Winter Court Gadflow. You get to create your own character and then in the story find yourself waking up in a pile of dead bodies having been brought back to life. Your fate doesn’t appear to have been predetermined like everyone else in this world, meaning you get to decide your fate and future. Not only that but you can change the fate of others making your existence a very dangerous thing for Gadflow.
Much like any good RPG you have different classes at the start of the game you can pick from. You can be a warrior, a mage, or a rogue and all of them feel different enough to make them each fun to play as. I went with mage as who doesn’t love to be able to cast powerful magic. What’s cool though is that despite the class you choose you’ll still be able to use some of the abilities of the others by unlocking them through the skill trees which plays back into that whole not being locked into a fate theme of the game. That means even if you choose to play as a warrior you can still gain the ability to use magic. There is a variety of weapon types you can use and switch between as well like daggers, Faeblades, bows, hammers, etc. You can equip two at a time and easily switch back and forth between them during combat allowing you to pull off some nice-looking combos. Combat isn’t that hard in this game as you can just mash the attack buttons to take out your enemies while using the dodge or block buttons to evade theirs. Even though it isn’t deep I still had a lot of fun with it and there are a lot of flashy and cool combat animations to enjoy.
Regarding fighting in this world, there have been two new changes to this remaster. One is the addition of a higher difficulty for those who would like a greater challenge. The other is the removal of the level lock that was present in the original game. This meant that when you entered an area all the enemy’s levels were capped at yours at that moment. Now they will change to match yours every time you go back to that area meaning you’ll always have a challenge. Both of these are some welcome changes and it was nice to see something new outside of some touched up graphics. What didn’t get improved when it comes to the combat is the camera which can be annoying at times. The game doesn’t have a lock-on button so when you get into fights with a group of enemies it can be difficult to focus on any particular one of them.
Over the course of the game you’ll take on many main quests along with plenty of side missions for other characters. This is a game with a ton of content just in the base version and that isn’t even talking about all the DLC that has been included here as well. Many of these side missions are a bit repetitive like just finding an item and bringing to someone but there are some pretty good ones here too. It can be a bit daunting as your available quests will quickly pile up and some of them take some time to finish. The world itself is huge and fun to explore with plenty of different biomes to see. There are forests, deserts, and much more full of enemies, animals, loot and treasure. If you find yourself needing to backtrack you can make use of the fast travel option to quickly get where you need to go. The loot system has also been changed in this version to make it so that anything you find will now more closely match your class.
The graphics and performance on the Nintendo Switch are naturally going to be the two areas where this port may be different from the other console versions that released last year. Playing the game docked on my TV I was surprised that it didn’t look a lot different from the version I played on my PlayStation 4 Pro. The art style still has that charm to it but as I said last year it wasn’t as big of a jump as I would’ve liked for this rather old game. I did notice some framerate issues at times though while playing docked which was unfortunate and what’s more, I didn’t seem to have these issues when playing it in portable mode. Of course, if you play like that the graphics aren’t quite as good and I also ran into issues with the text being a bit hard to read and with keeping up with everything on screen when I got into more intense fights. Load times are also a bit bothersome as they pop up when you go inside places in the game and they are quite long on the Switch. On the audio side of things, the game is a bit mixed as the soundtrack is awesome and really gets you in the mood during battles but the voice acting when talking to most characters in the game is rather average for the most part.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning makes the jump to the Nintendo Switch and does so without feeling like much of a downgrade at all from the other versions that released last year. It doesn’t look or perform quite as well on the Switch as it does on the other platforms but you gain the ability to jump into this world portably to knock out a few quests here and there or level up your character. Several areas of the game show their age but Kingdoms of Amalur still offers up plenty of content for those who enjoy a good action RPG.
*Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning$39.99
- Rich fantasy world full of dozens of hours of content
- Smooth, satisfying combat
- Freedom to build your class the way you want
- New balancing changes make it more enjoyable
- Switch version holds up visually when compared to the other console versions
- Graphics still show their age in places
- Load times are too long
- Some side quests are generic and repetitive
- Text and on-screen action can be hard to see in portable mode