Sometimes in life you stumble upon something and think “Drat! (*or maybe something even stronger*) Why didn’t I think of that!”. Well Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning definitely sits firmly in that realm. There will be many a developer thinking… well… rude things when this game comes out, because… well… it’s going to be a biggie.
“Really?” I hear you say… “You sound confident Mr. Person Man”. And you’d be right. I am confident, and with good reason. Let me lay it on ya…
Firstly, KoA:R (Seriously you know which game we’re discussing by now…) is being put together by some very fine people, including; Ken Rolston (Lead Designer of Morrowind and Oblivion), R.A. Salvatore (22-time New York Times bestselling fantasy author), and Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn no less!) in addition to two whole studios of very well versed developers, namely 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. This team is a seriously talented bunch of individuals, leaders in their fields.
Secondly, KoA:R has, at it’s heart, a killer concept, namely; to nail the combination of Role Playing and Action games. Now that is all well and good, but can they actually deliver on this? Good question, but from what we’ve seen, even at this fairly early stage, that very much looks like it’s going to be a yes. Appearances are that they have managed to take much of the best from the RPG genre and the Action genre and intertwine them with the sort of deftness of touch that one would expect from a design team led by Ken Rolston. It really does feel like a cunning blend of Fable meets God of War… seriously!
So what can we expect when we finally get our hands on this hybrid of hybrids? Well what we now know roughly breaks down as follows;
Combat: Nine different melee weapon classes and dozens of spells. These can combine, chain and scale based on your player skill and how you develop your character.
Scale: 60+ hours of storyline, many a side quests, and open-world exploration by Ken Rolston (as above), Mark Nelson (Oblivion & Fallout 3), and Ian Frazier (Titan Quest).
Storyline: 10,000 years of back history created by 22-time New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore.
Look and Feel: Todd McFarlane’s distinctive style brought to combat, enemies, and landscapes.
Customisation: Dozens of skills and abilities, across three skill areas, and further customization through “Destinies” which become available based on how you choose to play. Oh and millions of combinations of weapons and armor (think of a swords and sorcery Borderlands or Torchlight type item system) and you definitely have some serious choice of how to go about your questing!
So, pretty interesting sounding, non?
So, based on the gameplay we’ve seen it certainly seems that the skill / magic system certainly affects combat tangibly and that combat requires thought and skill to fully enjoy, with parrying, combos, magics and movement combining into skill-chains aplenty. All very good signs.
It’s also refreshing to see that the “loot” / item system seems well fleshed out with multiple avenues to pursue in choosing to equip your character, with no such thing as “the best” set of equipment, but rather giving you the option of mixing-and-matching “sets” (which have escalating bonuses as you complete them) and “approaches” which define when you use which bits / sets of equipment, against which foes, to buff which skills etc. All in all a very welcome prospect, adding some much needed variety, depth and player choice to the action experience.
With the contributors involved it seems very likely that the quest system and storyline will also both be top draw, to be fair we didn’t get a detailed look at either but hopefully we can bring you more soon on that, and other KoAR news, soon!
Finally, without getting too carried away, this may be one of the few games where the acronym may actually make sense… wait for it… easy now… KoAR, Blimey!
- Richard “Rax” Burley