Kingdoms Of Amalur’s Non-Combat Bits

By Adam Smith on January 12th, 2012 at 9:37 am.

Smell the glove

It’s yet another Kingdoms of Amalur video. There have been so many that I almost skipped straight past this one, continuing on my way through the internets in search of something more succulent. An unfathomable urge caused me to linger, however, and to watch. I’m glad I did because it’s the first time any footage of the game has managed to convince me there’ll be more to do than stabbing, skewering and spellocide. Sneaking, robbing, persuading, charming and exploring. Those are the kinds of things heroes get up to when they’re not committing murders. Take a look-see and then stick around for news of an imminent demo.

I’ve moved through total disinterest about the game into a mild but persistent conviction that it will be thoroughly undemanding and almost entirely enjoyable. This last video is tipping me toward actually looking forward to it with no small amount of eagerness. I’m hoping it’ll be a good example of a game that has calibrated its goals early in development and won’t overreach or fall flat on its face. I tend to love the overreachers and the broken-nosed stumblers very much indeed but there’s room in my life for a simple and polished fantasy romp.

The demo is due January 17th and this is the word:

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo features the introduction to the game, allowing players to experience the game’s Tutorial Mode and a portion of its large, open world. Players will create and customize their hero and drop right into the action. Once players master the basics, they will have 45 minutes to explore the vast world of Amalur and begin to embark upon a quest that could redefine their character’s destiny forever.

Cor. Destiny changing forever, within a demo? I think they’re referring to the fact that it’s possible to unlock items for the full game in the demo. That’s some destiny-altering stuff right there. They’re also doing that silly cross-world stuff again, with the Amalur demo unlocking fantasy-type equipment for Mass Effect 3 and the Mass Effect 3 demo unlocking sci-fi styled gear for Amalur. As soon as I’ve finished typing I shall fold my arms and slowly shake my head.

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36 Comments »

  1. Syra says:

    There is no video for me ;<

    • Adam Smith says:

      erk. Give me a minute.

      edit: should be fixed. note to self. do not post before coffee.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      In general I find it best to never do anything before coffee.

      I can’t wait for this game, I also can’t shake the feeling that I’m probably setting myself up for disappointment, but if they deliver on all that they’ve promised, this is going to be one hell of an RPG.

  2. mondomau says:

    Still conflicted by this – it seems to be a blend of several different RPG styles, which could either be terrible or awesome. So far I’m most impressed with the combat, which has a Fable II feel to it. The crafting/conversation/exploration elements seem to be more Bethesda / Bioware influenced. Still not a fan of the art style though, palette is too cartoony and all that blur? Yuck.

    • sneetch says:

      I’m hoping switching off blur is an option, really looking forward to this either way though, I can’t quite say why. I do love the style though.

  3. ulix says:

    While I may sound like a graphics whore:

    I’m really bothered by the apparent lack of “real shadows” in this game.
    There seem to be only character shadows and (only in some cases) pre-rendered object-shadows.

    But especially the interior scenes seem to lack shadows of any kind. What the hell? Is it 2005 again?

    • Syra says:

      Yeah that’s my problem wit the aesthetic too. It reminds me of WoW and not in a good way.

  4. skyturnedred says:

    The art style isn’t particularly appealing, but the combat seems to have some nice depth and variation to it. I never really liked crafting myself, as it often feels a bit sloppily implemented. I much prefer finding cool items in chests that actually have a bit of a story to go with them (I miss BG2). Stealth elements are nice, but I sure hope it’s not the default MMO implementation of “Press x for invisibility” type of things.

    If the world is nice and the story interesting, the game might turn out to be a pleasant surprise, but to be honest though, I’m guessing this will be one of those games that at first seem super fun, but at the halfway mark you kinda just stop playing as things get tedious and repetitive.

  5. The Hammer says:

    Hmm, I dunno. The running animations put me off during that trailer – aren’t they very MMO-like? I can accept that in Guild Wars 2, but this is meant to be a big-budget single-player MMO. It seems to be plagued with Dragon Age style stiffly animated conversations, too.

    As it stands though, there’s no defining factor of this game, that I can tell. Though I suppose a mish-mash of Fable and Skyrim sounds nice.

  6. drakkenson says:

    No liquid is coming out of the bottle when he tries to pour some potion at 0:26. I didn’t like that.

    • razgon says:

      Yeah, and his chest and stomach doesnt move like it should if he was breathing- What are they, zombies?

    • drakkenson says:

      @razgon
      Well, since the camera was focussing on the man pouring the potion, they could have animated the potion,but they did not, which left me with the impresson of sloppy work. Hence my comment. If the engine does not animate fluids, then a different shot would have been better.
      As for the breathing, if they would have tried to show something where the breathing action was expected, such as the man sleeping peacefully, it would have been equally jarring if absent.

  7. caddyB says:

    Hmm. Well, I guess I’ll pick it up then. I enjoyed Divinity II, I hope this is similar.

    • johnpeat says:

      I hope it’s IMMESURABLY better than the technical disaster and generally anodyne and generic mess which was Divinity II in any of it’s many releases…

  8. Drake Sigar says:

    Claudia Black?

  9. Khemm says:

    I don’t know… Everything about this game puts me off. The art style, the mashy-flashy style of combat, the actiony style of gameplay. I mean, it looks like an action game with some irrelevant RPG elements. Something like Mass Effect.
    I might be mistaken of course, but right now I’m not at all interested in this game and there was a time when I thought it could be something worth looking forward to.

  10. Lobotomist says:

    Man…this + Skyrim + Fallout NW (hard mod)

    Enough gaming for whole year …

    • Blackcompany says:

      Fallout Hard mod? Is this the developer-made mod you speak of? Or another? Just curious to know more about this, as after Skyrim, I find myself hungry for a real RPG again.
      .
      Thanks.

  11. TormDK says:

    This game has been completely off my radar, even though I buy single player rpg’s like there is no tomorrow.

    I wonder what that is? Hmm.

    In any case, will we be seeing it on Steam? (Not that I mind the Origin platform mind you)

    • Commisar says:

      Not sure, but I and MANY, MANY other people have had no problems whatsoever with origin. A good game is a good game, no matter how it gets to you.

  12. westyfield says:

    I have no idea what this game is. When someone mentions it, my thoughts are: 1) Silly Mass Effect 3 crossover promotion. 2) CITIZENS OF EARTH. That’s it.

  13. djim says:

    The narrator is Claudia Black! She voiced Morrigan in Dragon Age :P She also played in the TV series Farscape which was one of my favourites.

  14. kael13 says:

    Urgh, flash video. You realise you’re making me get out of my nice warm bed to watch this, right? :p
    It’s meant to be my day off.
    Still, I didn’t even know about this game until about a month ago. Seems interesting.

  15. vodka and cookies says:

    It was originally an MMO then turned into a single player game so that’s why it feels very Warcraft-ish.

    That video was slightly better, visually it looks like Fable with bloom set to overkill, at least this video showed women wearing something other than the misogynistic stuff they were shown donning in the screenshots.

    • theflyingbuddha says:

      This is incorrect. 38 studios is working on an MMO using the same setting but this game was always being developed as a single player title.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Okami says:

    These are some of the ugliest in game menus I’ve ever seen in a game.

    • akidderz says:

      Really? Have you seen the doors in the game? They are awesome.

      Plus — making a UI that is fast, easily accessible, and works in an action oriented game with hundreds of different options – AND that will work equally well with a console joystick in hand — that is a significant challenge.

      I’ve been very impressed by this game.

    • ExplosiveCoot says:

      I’m quite excited for this game, but I agree 100% on the poor UI layout. Hopefully it’ll be easily mod-able to something better.

  17. Commisar says:

    it is looking good, and I advise looking around on Youtube for a hour long demo they did at PAX

  18. dogsolitude_uk says:

    “And there was this one time? At Moon Camp? When I stuck the Staff of Vibration+1 up my…”

    The art style looks pretty dire and cartoony, but dammit I’m going to download the demo and fiddle around with it. I agree with what Adam and many others here are saying: it looks like a standard fantasy romp, an simple Action RPG with a number of influences, and to me it just looks like a bit of fun.

    The menu systems looks a bit more useable than Skyrim’s, and it’s not brown-and-blood like Dragon Age. I was hoping for loads of numbers and stats and turn-based combat, but, like Peter Greenaway films and a decent return on our savings, I don’t think we’ll be getting many of those any time soon.

    But if it tells a great story and allows me to make swords I think I’ll be happy having a technicolor unicorn-and-fairies game on my HD, next to STALKER, Amnesia etc.

  19. Solrax says:

    I especially enjoyed the headcrab toupe at 1:38.

  20. lorddon says:

    What is it about stylized graphics that polarizes people so?

    • ulix says:

      I have absolutely nothing against stylized graphics. I absolutely adore the art-design of Wind Waker, Okami, Team Fortress 2, and many others.

      The graphics of this game just look off. They look flat.

      Not completely sure why, but I think its the (at least that what it looks like for me) lack of real (object) shadows in many scenes.

  21. adonf says:

    @Adam; If you liked Spinal Tap you should watch The Beach Boys: An American Band because it’s exactly the same except it’s for real, thus funnier.

    (No I’m not a spambot, look at the alt-text)

  22. Jezebeau says:

    I really like their idea of the tutorial giving you a chance/encouraging you to try different gameplay styles before choosing how to build your character.

    What’s sad is that even if the gameplay is twice as engaging as Skyrim’s, it’s unlikely to exceed a tenth of the praise.