Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning - Game Infinite Review
I think Kingdoms of Amalur is my personal record for the amount of time between when I first started playing and finishing a game. Sure, like everyone, I have games I started many years ago and never finished. With Game Infinite being a current events focused gaming platform with news and trends, it is rare for me to have the ability to go back and play previous year games. I am typically trying to play enough of the current year games for GI's various end of year lists and for current year game reviews, that typically I only get to replay or revisit older games if they are remastered. Even still KOA is a unique one for me. Many many many of you have never played this game, and that is because while myself and the three other people who played the original, you and everyone else in gaming was playing SKYRIM. That's right, way back in 2011 and 2012 KOA had the misfortune of releasing just a few short months after one of the biggest fantasy RPG's of all time. KOA is a phenomenal fantasy RPG's but it just got vastly overshadowed by the popularity of Skyrim. In fact it is bit of a sad story, as the developer studio that made it actually went under and failed due to the financial failure this game was despite its critical success. It simply got beat financially by a competitor.
It remains to this day in my opinion one of the most underrated fantasy RPG's, and I wish more people had played it at launch. However, it is not too late. It had been given out free multiple times and is regularly available for cheap now a bout a year past remaster launch. Being a vast open world fantasy RPG, I never even finished the original story way back when I played it as the game is very large and long. I played the original on my xbox 360! I never finished it though despite how great it was, and eventually I got rid of my 360 for the newer Xbox One. So years later when backwards compatibility was announced for the Xbox One, and the game eventually was updated for it, I was excited. I tried to pick up where I had left off, but it had been years, and I had forgotten much of the story and where I was. This is a pretty lore rich and a world filled with detailed story. It's a hard game to pick up years later in the middle. So I started the game all over. Once again due to it's length I didn't finish the game. Plus the games graphics really had aged poorly and the art style clashed with HD/4k era. The world looked hazy and grainy. Years later again, when the remaster was announced I was ecstatic. It was a decade later, and finally the world was going to get the fresh coat of paint it needed. With proper upscaling and better textures the worlds beautiful art style and colors would looks much better in the modern era of gaming. However, the remaster didn't allow for old saves so once again I was forced to start all over. What is funny is both restarts I hit about the same point in the game when I was pretty satisfied with the experience, but this time I pushed through to the end, wanting to know finally after a decade how the story ends. I had to because remarkably the game actually was slated to get a post remaster launch DLC, titled Fatesworn.
Usually I struggle with games that are this length. They takes countless hours to reach the end of the story, but this is a world that worth reaching to the end. Not just because the end boss battle is cinematic and good, but because there is just so much to this world. For people who are used to tackling year long or multi year long massive open world games, this won't be hard. However, if you are used to smaller, linear, <20 hour games this will feel overwhelming. That being said, I would say it is worth the exception as even a decade later and having played countless massive open world games through to completion, I still reference back to the quality of this game.
I love the variety of the combat, as you are not locked into a combat style early on in the game. The entire premise of the game is you are known as the Fateless One. The protagonist is brought back to life by a draw scientist, and doing so, you are no longer bound by fate. In this fantasy world, everything that is supposed to happen is written in Fate and cannot be changed. Wars, factions, character deaths are fated and sometimes known to the people. However, the Fateless One has the unique ability to break fate, kill characters destined to live or save characters destined to die. You can change the tide of a war that was fated to go one way. It is a neat mechanics that is more than just fancy story telling. This is written into gameplay, where you can kill important characters, or make allegiances with various factions, or during combat there is a fate meter where you essentially wield fate and get extra XP.
Being fateless, means that you are not bound to typical RPG "classes". You can be a magic wielding Mage, a stealth focus blade wielding assassin, or a sword and shield wielding knight. It is not hard to bounce back and forth from those various archetypes. The game doesn't punish you for focusing on one or going for a more melded approach. In my playthroughs I mostly stuck with Mage and mage weapons, and the game never punished me for not experimenting, but it also let me experiment when I wanted. It was a very flexible, "play how you want whenever you want" back when that was less common in gaming.
I really have little complaint about the game, other that I wish that the remaster had included a photomode. The world is very pretty, and they did a great job remastering such an old game that I wish it was easier to take pictures. I will say that even with the remaster, the game is still a 10 year old game, so if you have trouble with remasters of old games than it may not be for you. 10 years is about the upper limit I think for Remasters before they start to get to old for remasters, and KOA is right on that line. I have a lot of found memories of the game, and it still plays very well, that the remastered visuals is enough for me to look past some of it's age. KOA is a 10/10 All Time Favorite List game for me, and the fresh paint was a great excuse for me to finally reach the end of its long journey.
(Game Infinite Screenshots)
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