Our review of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning was put on hold when the embargo was lifted, as you may recall. A game-breaking error that we experienced on three distinct character saves stopped us from viewing the majority of the remaster’s content. As of this writing, the glitch has been fixed in the game’s most recent update, so we can now give Re-Reckoning a comprehensive review.
Kingdoms of Amalur was one of our favorite action role-playing games of the previous generation, so let’s start there. Despite its shortcomings, it was a lot of fun to play. Combat was the backbone of the entire experience, and the good news is that it still holds up today.
Kingdoms of Amalur is all about performing combinations with numerous weapons, unleashing devastating magic attacks, and executing flawless parries. This game’s battle system is still one of the greatest in the genre, even after over a decade. Having learned the fundamentals, it’s heavy, punchy, and extremely gratifying.
Even so, slamming monsters around is still fun, but the rest of this high-fantasy adventure isn’t so enjoyable. Kingdoms of Amalur, in terms of plot, organization, and presentation, hasn’t aged well. Even with the PS4’s graphical enhancements, Re-Reckoning still has a lot of room for improvement. Ugly character representations, complicated user interfaces, and bad voice acting make this game unplayable.
Amalur, despite its bulk, has a certain allure to it that makes it worth exploring. It’s fun to explore the game’s semi-open world, which features beautiful forests, rolling plains, and ominous bogs. Every overgrown road seems to conceal a mystery or two, and missions often bring you to new and interesting places. Some of Amalur’s more intriguing features are missed if you merely follow the main plot.
There have always been interesting ideas at the heart of the main plot. Nothing about your unique persona is predetermined or foreseen in a world like this. Because only you can change the course of history, your actions have far-reaching consequences. As you may imagine, your hero has a significant role to play in the continuing war that has engulfed the world.
There is an intriguing plot, but it is largely told through a dull speech from characters you don’t really care about. In the same vein, side quests can be tedious and time-consuming. You’ve seen it all before: killing a specified monster, gathering a set quantity of stuff. If you’re searching for busywork, you’ll find plenty of it, but the promise of more battle is what keeps you interested.
Another consideration is the development of the character. Creating your fateless hero is a fascinating experience since you can combine talents from the Might, Finesse, and Sorcery skill trees. Even though you can spend all of your points on a single tree, it’s also possible to take a variety of approaches. It’s possible that your play style will differ substantially depending on which weapons and skills you choose to focus on. Amalur still has a lot of potential for innovation, and it’s another area in which they shine.
Re-Reckoning, on the other hand, might be hit or miss when it comes to remastering. The addition of camera distance settings and a very challenging difficulty setting are good additions, but the visual upgrade is not significant. In terms of visuals, only a noticeable increase in resolution can be seen; nevertheless, the remaster has also included some new bugs that weren’t present in the original version.
Fortunately, Re-Reckoning makes some much-needed updates to the game’s fundamental mechanisms if you can get past the visuals. Even if you’ve never heard of Amalur before, these changes make a tremendous difference in how everything operates. Zones, for example, are no longer restricted to the level of the player entering them. Instead, they increase in difficulty as you progress through the game, ensuring a more constant level of difficulty and treasure for you. In addition, the random treasure is now tailored to your character’s type.
No matter how bad Re-Reckoning is, Kingdoms of Amalur remains a terrific game to play. Playing around in the game’s often-fanciful landscape is a blast, as is the game’s classic action fighting. Despite the clumsy interface and a slew of problems, there is plenty of high fantasy action to be found here.