One of the more overlooked RPGs from the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era was Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning from EA and developer 38 Studios. The game was quite good but for some reason just never got the attention that it deserved back in 2012. To make matters worse, the game and team were hit by legal trouble and the resulting aftermath made it seem like we may never get to return to the world of Amalur. That Is until THQ Nordic swooped in and somehow got the rights to the game back in 2018 reigniting my hopes that we could see it again. THQ Nordic does have a knack for that after all as they did the same thing for Darksiders which was another franchise I thought at one point that I’d never see return. Now eight years after its initial release, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning brings the original game back with updated graphics and all the previously released DLC included. Does this action-RPG still hold up?
Remasters and remakes are all over the place in the current gaming landscape with some getting more care than others. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning fits more into the category of a traditional remaster. The graphics here have been touched up but not to the extent that you might see in something like Shadow of the Colossus or Crash N.Sane Trilogy. Outside of the graphics there are a couple of other changes that were made to the game, but I’ll get to them in a bit. 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, 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.
As I said earlier the graphics here look better than they did but not by much. The resolution got a bump but a lot of the textures and models still look about the same. The art style does have a charm to it but I do wish that those other things got a bit touched up. The game seemed to hold to the 60 FPS on my PS4 Pro which made the combat that much more enjoyable. I did run into some issues though in that the game crashed on me a couple times and the load times are a bit too long particularly when fast traveling. The soundtrack in the game is full of music that fits this fantasy world well and the voice acting is solid as well. Some of the sound effects aren’t the best but they weren’t that big a deal. Those interested in the trophy list will find 62 of them here. The DLC trophies from the original have been incorporated into the main list so you’ll have to do all of that to earn the Platinum this time.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning isn’t the most impressive remaster out there but for those who missed out on this grand action-RPG the first time I can’t recommend it enough. The graphics and camera system show their age but the rich world, smooth combat system, and huge amount of content within make this trip to save Amalur worth it for any RPG lover out there.
*Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. 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
- Graphics still show their age in places
- Ran into crashes a couple times and load time are a bit too long
- Some side quests are generic and repetitive
- Camera can get a bit wonky in combat