Why Didn’t Everyone Play Kingdoms Of Amalur?!

By John Walker on February 26th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

There’s a game you probably didn’t play. It came out last year, it’s a genuine epic, a vast, elaborate RPG with a sprawling story and vast numbers of sidequests. It features superbly in-depth combat, has huge variety in character design and levelling, and lets you instantly wander from the main plot and explore its enormous world to your own entertainment. It’s Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning.

I remember attending a press day in late 2011, looking at a selection of EA games, and Amalur was there. But no one suggested I take a look at. In a quiet moment I snuck onto one of the long row of empty PCs to have a go, found myself intrigued, and then was angrily told to stop by an EA representative. Playing unsupervised, tsk. That was as close as I got.

A week and a half ago I was trying to get onto the SimCity beta weekend, but Origin was falling to pieces, servers down, logins impossible. And I saw Amalur there, downloaded to my PC, on a whim from a while back and never explored. For whatever peculiar reason, the set of EA servers that allowed that game to check in on itself worked, and after some moronic requirement to “authenticate” my PC, two separate EULAs, and yet more logging in, I was able to get to a game menu. I’ve not stopped playing since.

I must have put in a couple of dozen hours in the last week or so. And by the map, I’m maybe just over halfway exploring the world, so halfway through the main story, the three separate faction quests I’ve found so far, and the 60 or so sidequests I’ve completed. I’m so hooked, so completely drawn in to its fantasy world, and I’ve no desire to stop. I’ve little desire to do anything else but keep playing. I want to start to explore why.

It’s also important to note that Amalur is riddled by bugs. Amazingly stupid bugs that in no way should ever have cleared testing. Bugs like the quest screen completely falling to pieces and going blank once you’ve about 20 quests running (something that’s unavoidable). And of course bugs that, now creators 38 Studios and Big Huge Games no longer exist, will never be fixed. Yet despite this, it’s still incredibly robust for a game of its scale, and especially for a game that offers you an extraordinary amount of freedom.

While there’s much to criticise, there’s far more to celebrate. This is a really fantastic game, bursting full of story, combat and exploration, and yet you probably didn’t play it.

Amalur is impressive on a number of levels. The two most important are its distilling of the very best of an action-RPG MMO into a single-player game, and its meta-commentary on the very nature of games. But don’t be put off by either! No, really, don’t! I want to explore those two.

It’s not a surprise that the game should have so many similarities with a game like World Of Warcraft. Of the two teams that made it, 38 Studios and Big Huge Games, the former was already working on an MMO. The doomed developer, with all that money via the deals of baseballist Curt Schilling, had been developing a massive universe along with author R.A. Salvatore, with a 10,000 year history, and all the background needed to create an ongoing, online game. After 38 bought BHG, along with them came not only the Big Huge Engine, but an RPG they’d been working on for THQ. The two, like the studios, were combined. Goodness knows what either might have been, but the combination is a purely single-player RPG with the depth and breadth of an online world.

We’re talking Dragon Age: Origins scale here, but in a far freer, far more open world. While you do eventually navigate its enormous stretches through the map’s quick travel, you could still run anywhere too. It’s all open, all connected, and all packed with so much going on.

The other tempting comparison is Skyrim, and that megalithic RPG having come out just a couple of months before can’t have done sales of Amalur any favours. But it’s definitely an inappropriate comparison. Yes, you can ignore the main plot, yes, you can kill absolutely anyone, anywhere, and still have the game somehow cope, and yes, it has the most stupidly designed inventory menus imaginable. But the atmosphere, the tone, the intangible feel of it all – to compare it feels weirdly wrong. It’s something much brighter, something much more accessible.

That’s hugely helped by its being a third-person action game. Combat is true to that too, relying on some healthy button mashing and frantic dodging. Big fights with giant creatures are chunky, satisfying brawls, as you hammer away at the A button (yes, I picked 360 controls for this, and with the wayward mouse it’s definitely the better option, and the one with which the game was obviously primarily designed to be played), throwing in shield blocks, dodging rolls, and your array of special abilities, spells, and old-school button combo moves.

For me, what’s made this especially special, is it’s the first time I’ve ever bothered to properly engage with a game’s blocking mechanic. Like how most fun action-driving games really never need you to press the brake, most action-combat games never really need you to bother with blocking. There are ways, means, hammering of buttons that generally get around such a faff if you’re as lazy as me. But here it’s so damned rewarding, so absolutely satisfying every time you time it perfectly, that I’m finally converted. I’m actually slowing down for the corners, rather than bumping off the barriers at the side.

But when a game like this has such an emphasis on the combat, invariably that means the RPG side of things is watered down. Action-RPGs, the Diablo-mould creations, tend to have wispy plots, little chats to be had in hub towns, then back to the biffing. But that’s absolutely not the case in Amalur. You could easily spend an entire evening nattering away with the residents of a newly discovered city, exploring the side-streets for those in trouble and needing your help, negotiating with bigwigs, exchanging loot for new equipment, handing in completed quests, discovering secret treasures in dungeons hidden behind a house’s backrooms, stealing all the valuables from everyone’s bedroom drawers, and gathering a new armful of tasks to complete in the surrounding area.

Then off you go, aiming toward quest markers, having spots of combat along the way, until you’re inevitably distracted by an intriguing looking building, or dead body containing some odd clue, or pathway leading to an enclosed area, and so on. That measure by which I test all RPGs for goodnessity – the impossibility of actually going where you intended without getting waylaid – is triumphantly ticked here in a big thick red marker pen.

When I began playing, I realised that I’d started this game once before. I vaguely recognised the opening moments – being dead and wheeled in a cart to a heap of other deads, interwoven with the character creation. Then waking up, alive again, and escaping the odd place you’re in. I recalled the stuff about Fateweaving, about how Fateweavers determine the fixed paths of our futures based on the magical nature of Fate, but that I had no path, that I was different. I remembered the opening village, the dying blue woman on the ground, and then I must have been distracted by a bee in a jaunty hat, because there my recollection ended. But perhaps because I’d seen this village previously, rather than focusing on the stories being set up there, I charged off up a hill toward a pretty looking stone. And from there across some fields, until I discovered another blue character – one the Fae (basically, elves) – who asked me to do a thing that directed me, in stages, toward the Elv- Fae city. I ended up getting embroiled in their story, rather than the main plot, for a long time.

The Fae are immortal. Sort of. They die, sort of routinely, but then come back to life and repeat their cycles. The Cycle, in fact, is the key to Fae culture. Because they are their own history (although that gets complicated too), they retell the same existences as stories, endlessly looping their reality, their lives being the folktales they tell. That’s just brilliant. And it’s the first part of this game’s commentary on the nature of storytelling, and the invasion of a player. Because things aren’t following the correct patterns. The cycles aren’t looping, and baddie Faes are taking advantage of this, manipulating the changes to see themselves come to power. The endless battle between the Winter and Summer courts of the Fae are beginning to change their determined outcomes, the Winter Fae starting to win where they should lose. And it seems to have a lot to do with you, and why you don’t obey the rules of Fate.

It’s not just the Fae this applies to. They have a broader perspective of the other races, especially the humans, nicknamed by Fae as “dustlings”. Their lives too are pre-determined, although they may live in denial of this. Because they’re all NPCs, right? Gettit? And yes, in my just stating it in some words it may seem a little trite, but the game doesn’t spell it out so obviously. There’s no elbow-nudging. Instead it’s just a lovely, underwritten acknowledgement of the nature of the player, the person who comes in and changes the inevitability of the course of all their lives.

Which might usually be something that’s rather undermined by the game’s inevitably being linear. Yet Amalur gets away with this too. Yes, it says, this is a linear path. You are on this route, this is your destiny, and that’s the nature of life. Except as you travel this path, the outcomes of your actions are not fixed. That’s true in the decisions you might make in a minor sidequest, whether to help him, or her, and the small-scale consequences of that. And it’s true in what the game calls Twists Of Fate – key points in which you (not knowing they’re key points, crucially) make a decision that dramatically changes the course of history.

I, for instance, am now ruler of the House Of Ballads, one of the highest positions in Fae kind. And I’m not Fae! What manner of madness! Also, my defiant Atheism (I’m roleyplaying!) has led to my being declared an Unwritten One, further determining my own future. (Although I’ve somewhat undermined that by pretending to become a follower of Lyria because I wanted the XP – elsewhere in the game I’ve been given the conversation option of lying when it comes to such matters, this time it didn’t.)

I don’t yet know how far this commentary will reach, or whether it will fade aside to let the more generic fantasy tropes that permeate all come fully to the front. Because in honesty, for most of the time, for the ten thousandth time you’re looking for the ten thousandth person reported missing after they wandered off into Deadlytraps Dungeon or the like. Most of the time it’s political machinations between pretend clans of people you didn’t know existed last week, and so are hard-pushed to care too much about now. In fact, and perhaps super-meta-archly-appositely, I more often find myself siding with whomever I think will lead to a more interesting outcome. Were they planning that? I don’t think they were planning that. But still, it’s happening.

Also, I SO love the woodpecker-like sound it makes when your magically restoring quiver of arrows refills.

I have so much to say about this game. I’m very aware that this is madness, extensively writing about a game that came out a year ago that everyone ignored, from a studio that no longer exists. But dammit, if I can convince a handful of people to pick up a copy, then I’ll be happy. I want to talk about how it embodies everything that’s great about the RPG, as well as how it embodies everything that’s completely ridiculous. So next time, how I accidentally killed the entire population of a monastery.

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361 Comments »

  1. bigjig says:

    Hmm… nah.. Imma stick with Dark Souls instead

  2. Eschatos says:

    The game is too damn easy, even on Hard difficulty. If the difficulty were to be fixed via mod or path it would become a lot more fun.

  3. PenGunn says:

    It’s 3rd person. I can’t and won’t play like that. How hard could it be to give me first person?

  4. Xytal says:

    I own this on 360 (friend bought it for my for my birthday last year). I played it some (enjoying the hell out of it) but then stopped for some reason. I’ve been meaning to pick it back up, but just haven’t had the time.

  5. poohbear says:

    why is the game STILL $59.99 over a year after release? its not like there’s such a huge demand for it that they refuse to drop the price! Get a clue EA!

  6. gravity_spoon says:

    Well John, you have a Amalur fan right here. I’ve played it to the end with 3 characters, finished all story and side quests and is still the only EA game I play. I loved it. Probably is the most beautiful (without mods) rpg out there IMO. Also, story while linear never surprises to amaze you. Sad for the demise of 38 Studios but it is a good thing that some devs/artists have been hired by Crate Entertainment (Grim Dawn) and other studios as well

  7. Jenks says:

    Incredibly easy, boring game. I got about 10 hours in, but the second 5 hours was me dragging myself on to justify the first 5 hours. It’s constructed a lot like modern MMOs, which is to say it’s built from the ground up to “entertain” without making you think, at all.

  8. TsunamiWombat says:

    Because it’s still 60 on steam. Likely because of EA

  9. mmalove says:

    It looked interesting, but as others have mentioned here, it refuses to go on sale on steam to match the discounts offered on other sites, and I’d prefer not to dump money into EA/Origin.

  10. Rapzid says:

    “sprawling story and vast numbers of sidequests. It features superbly in-depth combat”
    Well it seems like I’m not crazy. Reading the comments it appears a majority don’t see what you’re seeing in the game. Sprawling with vast numbers of sidequests? It sure sprawls all right and I think there are TOO many sides quests. I was SO burned out by these samey side quests that involved so much walking around I would have like 1M frequent flyer miles if I were traveling Delta that I blitzed through the last 1/4-1/3 of the game just to see the end. The last section felt like slog more than anything. The pacing and combat, which I would not call “superbly in-depth”, just fell apart right after half-way.

  11. fooga44 says:

    The problem was the combat was a bit on the slow side and it really should have been an action oriented RPG instead of an MMO /w action oriented combat. The MMO elements killed it because the structure of the quests and the huge landscape without adequately fast travel time made the game tedious.

    It should have been a more on rails experience for that kind of game. The open world quest bits kind of fucked up the games pacing and story elements big time. They couldn’t make the story coherent because they had too much going on with the whole MMO element.

    The guys behind it just had a bad design from the getgo. They shouldn’t have tried to make an MMO and then make a retrofit single player MMO. They should have just made a single player game from the getgo.

    Lets not forget Kurt schilling is an inexperienced dick who totally was behind the fucked up development of Amalur.

    RPS should stop sucking Amalurs dick, Amalur was a clusterfuck no matter which way you slice it. The guys behind it made bad design decisions – there’s lots in amalur that could have been fixed in a sequel but they shouldn’t have tried to make an MMO to begin with. Especially with the whole action oriented RPG combat system they had going on. Amalur really wants to be more of an action game /w loot elements rather then a boring as fuck with slow travelling and shit quests everywhere MMO.

  12. Tjermnon says:

    I don’t get it. I’ve played through the whole game twice (including dlc) and never ever encountered a single bug. (200+ hours)
    If the game weren’t too easy (even on hard only the first 7-8 levels are somewhat more challenging) I would be tempted to install it again for a third time to see how a full scale magic user works.

  13. Jocuri says:

    Fascinating Sandbox World to Uncover – The five areas within Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are loaded with breathtaking landscapes, mysterious towns and cities, amazing animals, grotesque foes in addition to colourful individuals in which to talk to. Jocuri carti

    • Rapzid says:

      While the art was, in my opinion, a bit uninspired and generic at times VERY competent and one of the strongest assets the game had to offer. I just felt like the game was getting in the way of the art and story by the end:/

  14. Yosharian says:

    So it’s an MMO… that’s competing with Skyrim?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Are you being facetious? No, it’s not an MMO. It’s an single player RPG with some MMO trappings, an open world (although some parts need to be opened up due to developments in the story) and ‘actiony’ combat.

      • Yosharian says:

        Oh, no I just skimmed the article and obviously misread something, I literally thought it was an MMO

  15. Prime says:

    Tempting…I’ve been bingeing on RPGs lately. After Skyrim I did Divinity 2 (interesting), have just ploughed my way through Two Worlds (Better than average), and am now trying to get through Gothic 3 (good, once I turned the alternative balancing off). Next I was considering Two worlds II…and Amalur.

    The thing that turns me off Amalur is the Origin tie-in. I’ve successfully avoided Origin so far, even denying myself Mass Effect 3. I’m not a fan of game clients and definitely not a fan of EA. So…I might yet be tempted one day, but I fear today is not that day. Looks good, though. I think I’d enjoy it.

    • Rapzid says:

      So I’m not the only one! I’ve also not played mass effect 3(and may not after the whole ending debacle) and looks like Dead Space 3 is going on the back burner as well because of Origin:/ Even though word is out that they “JJ’d(Abram)” Deadspace 3 even more than 2, I’m still keen to co-op it with my mate. But Origin… :/

      • Prime says:

        Yeah, I’ll have to play my girlfriend’s Xbox copy, I reckon. But that does require getting the girlfriend away from the Xbox, and Dragon’s Dogma…

  16. Zenicetus says:

    …Because I tried the demo, and after 2.5 years of WoW before bailing out, I didn’t want a “WoW Lite” with no other players.

    Honestly, I think it was mostly the art style. It reminded me too much of WoW, without any compelling reason to buy the game at full price after playing the demo. I played Skyrim up to level 30 on one character before quitting, because even though it wasn’t any better than what I saw in the Amalur demo in terms of the game mechanics, at least it didn’t constantly remind me of the WoW art style.

  17. jrodman says:

    I found it passable but dull from the demo, which I played after they fixed it a bit. Stories of “it gets better” got me through to the cutoff, but it didn’t get all that much better.

    Mostly I didn’t really have much interest in the combat style, which didn’t leave much left.

  18. Bassem says:

    Because the demo didn’t impress me. The controls were floaty, the combat was… yeah, floaty. It was all floaty. The inventory management was a bit annoying as well. I honestly don’t remember much other than I really disliked the controls, and once my character made it out of the starting area and the game world became available to me (for 45 minutes, because demo) I didn’t feel like playing on, and exited and uninstalled.

    I’ve recently reinstalled the demo to have another go and actually check out the world. Controls and combat are a major deal breaker, though, so I may very well not last this time either.

  19. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I quite liked it and ended up putting a lot of hours into it. But it’s hardly perfect and I kind of struggle to find what it is that made me spend so much time with it. It’s probably the combat and the atmosphere of the world. The fact that you can generally go where you wish. And the storyline is decent enough for me.

  20. F3ck says:

    Here’s what went wrong for Amalur:

    This game was too vast (there is a shit-load of content, especially with the DLCs) for those not accustomed/inclined to play RPGs…

    …however it seems to be designed with precisely those casual gamers in mind; very simple (but satisfying) combat, easy crafting, straightforward missions – so there goes the hard-core RPG crowd, too much hand-holding for them…

    …so Wow already got the money of the ones this game might appeal to, the rest went to Skyrim…

    …shame too. I liked this game as much as Walker does – but he too will almost certainly hit the wall eventually…

    …I’m guessing about 3/4 – 4/5 through when the armor and weapons are as good as they’re going to get and he’s become an unstoppable death-machine.

  21. naetharu says:

    Personally I was really not impressed by this game. I picked it up last summer and was looking forward to playing it. However it really failed to keep my attention.

    I found the quests were very generic – they never drew me in and I found myself being given busy work for no reason. I would describe it as the offspring of the worst bits of a Fable game mixed in with Vanilla WoW.

    Skyrim on the other hand has kept me going for over 400 hours so far, and I forsee many hundreds more before I finally tire of that world.

  22. LuNatic says:

    The combat was good. The crafting was good. I liked the aesthetic.

    The story was unimmersive, uninspiring and uninteresting. The lack of consequences for choices and actions killed my suspension of disbelief(Hey, you completed that quest and now you are the Grand High Whatsit of (insert faction here). In order to honour this grand achievement, a few NPCs will have a slightly different greeting voiceover, and… absolutely nothing. Those sworn enemies of our faction will treat you just the same as if you never joined us, and you will not gain any reward beyond the standard quest shinies.). Any sense of choice or risk was utterly removed by the instant character respecs.

    Basically, give me this engine, graphics, even this same basic setting but have story written by whoever wrote Mask of the Betrayer, and it would’ve been my game of the year. As it was, I played 40 hours and will likely never touch it again.

  23. Sesskie says:

    I actually played Amalur, for a few hours. The combat was fun, the setting and lore was interesting, but you know where they lost me? When they started giving me quests to go kill 5 deer and gather 7 herbs. If I wanted to play an MMO I’d go chose any of the other ten alternatives out there.

  24. Xantonze says:

    For people eager to try the game but afraid of the lack of challenge:
    “youngneil” created a mod increasing the difficulty (it also slightly increases game speed).

    You can find the mod, along with explanations, here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fmftcephsxvn83e/-mRiTE9kgV

  25. Morte66 says:

    Not sure if there’s much point replying to a 12 hour old thread around here, but…

    * Watches the advert video linked by RPS and replies based on that *

    I read the words “action RPG” rather than “RPG” and that pretty much ended it.

    Also, I remember when Black Isle closed down there was a retrospective on GameSpy. It mentioned Fallout and noted one of its strengths as “it finished before you got bored with it”. It seems to me this is a lost art in the world of exploration/sandbox RPGs. I’m very leery of any RPG that uses “huge” and “exploration” as selling points these days.

    One thing about Amalur-per-the-advert that does intrigue me is the suggestion that it might have sidequests with some real susbstance, beyond the “clear this dungeon” you normally get in MMOs or sandboxes. Sidequests as Bioware would define them, not Bethesda. {edit} But, reading a few comments inthis thread, it seems the advert is a pack of lies and it’s just filler.

  26. TheMopeSquad says:

    Man its disappointing hearing so much negativity about this game. I really loved it. It felt like a casual Elder Scrolls game, and for me it was much much more enjoyable than Skyrim (and Oblivion for that matter).

    Part of why I enjoyed it was because you could really see they wanted it to be the start of a solid franchise. I respected a lot of the design choices and the amount of sheer lore and content they had put into the game and felt that, fleshed out, this could be something really great. Of course we all know how that turned out.

    • F3ck says:

      No question the game was fun (for the 25 or so hours I played, anyway) especially the combat; the chakrams alone made mid-ranged scraps particularly enjoyable.

      Personally [not to disagree, but] I find comparisons to games like Skyrim impertinent, as there are really only similarities on paper. Yes, they both have an inventory/upgrade mechanic, save the world quest, and elves – but I found the two games very dissimilar.

      In fact, the only way they were exactly alike (for me) is both were immensely enjoyable for a period, but lost my interest prior to completion.

  27. Deadite says:

    I quite enjoyed the demo and bought the game, but it felt too much like grindy MMO in singleplayer and some terrible voice acting put me right off it. Just could not get into it.

    Grand total time played: 5 hours.

  28. Cunning Linguist says:

    These words must be banned from video games:
    -Chronicles
    -Kingdom
    -Reckoning
    -Scrolls
    -Guild
    -WAR, and any word containing this word, such as “warfighter” “warwhore” , and even “warts” or “warthog”.

    • F3ck says:

      Kingdoms War Guild: Reckoning of the Chronicle Scrolls

      • Cunning Linguist says:

        Then there’s the wRPG/jRPG crossover :

        The Last Final Remnant of a Story: Chronicles of Fantasy WarSword 13: Shallow Depths Awakening

  29. terry says:

    I’ve been playing this on and off since it went on sale over November and finding it painfully hard to like. The writing isn’t awful but boy oh boy is it wordy and unengaging most of the time. The environments are beautiful but feel very empty and streamlined to funnel you around like a pinball between dungeons. It’s like an MMO with a low server population, which makes sense given its development process.

  30. ratache says:

    Went into a building. Ran about, went upstairs, the geometry on the second floor didn’t correspond with the geometry of the first floor. One of many reason I got terribly disappointed by this game.

    • Kadayi says:

      Pretty much true of every building in Skyrim tbh. Also the Witcher 2 is full of two storey buildings with seemingly no staircases half the time.

  31. Jericho One says:

    I downloaded the Demo on Xbox around the time it was released and enjoyed it, though it did have a few issues. I had sooo many other games to complete I figured I would purchase it once these were out of the way (I know right? what kind of gamer am I??). So I actually went hunting for this in store last week – no sign of it anywhere for the Xbox Grrrr. Order online? I live in Dubai – that rarely works. The hunt goes on.

    Matt
    Tabletop news :) http://www.clashofechoes.com

  32. innokenti says:

    Picked it up on release, never regretted it. Brilliant little gem. Flawed, but fantastic.

  33. dawnmane says:

    Lovedlovedloved it. Played all the DLC. The game’s art style was really deceiving in being so similar to WoW, because the writing was actually on par with Bioware og CD Projekt RED.

    • Jericho One says:

      Considering Todd McFarlane was involved in the design/art direction, I was surprised it wasn’t a whole lot darker in it’s style. I’m looking forward to picking it up, especially after reading this.

  34. MerseyMal says:

    I picked it up with the DLC for about £27 last April and rather enjoyed it. According to Raptr I’ve put about 65 hours into it so far.

  35. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I found Amalur to be a lot like Dungeon Siege III, but without the multiplayer.
    Amalur just feels generic and a huge let down after all the hype surrounding it’s story.

  36. JackShandy says:

    Well, in part because the RPS review said stuff like

    “…an abyss of trad fantasy wibbling. The immutable weight of that stuff soon smothers any clever intention that the story might have held.”

  37. distantlurker says:

    Bloody opinion pieces, making me buy stuff *mumble* *mumble* well I hope you’re proud of yourself Walker! I picked it up at lunchtime for the telly-box dust gatherer, just to spite you. Ha!

  38. Walf says:

    THQ seemed to be cursed with a lot of games people overlooked. I think Titanquest suffered the same fate also.

    That said, this was a pretty great game. My only complaint is that it did at times feel like it was meant to be an MMO, so you had these vast, unpopulated areas that were just empty as hell. The combat was fun though and the plot was rather fascinating too. Though I must admit I was tired of elfy elf elves at this point, and the game really hits you over the head with Amalur’s elf story. I guess it’s just a thing tha R.A. Salvatore does though. Elfy elves being elfy

  39. UnlovedAlien says:

    I have to admit all the people on here stating that the combat, skill trees and writing were what put them off and then saying that they preferred Skyrim makes me chuckle

    • jrodman says:

      To be fair, in Amalur I was moderately intrested until i got to the demo timer and started getting a sense of the mmo-quest type feel, while in Skyrim I didn’t even finish the tutorial.

  40. Jad says:

    For me the answer is simple: incredibly poor timing following Skyrim.

    I know that a number of people in the gaming press were saying that this should not be an issues, as Amalur was released a couple of months later, but they play games for a living, and were more able to put in the 100+ hours required to enjoy that game in a few weeks.

    I played Skyrim for 120+ hours. At the end of last year I was thinking about my games of the year and I went into my saved game folder to see what I had played in 2012. According to the timestamps, it took me from November 2011 to May 2012 to get those 120 hours. I did take breaks in there to play short indie games and action games (I think I played through MW3 one weekend afternoon), but Skyrim was my primary game for the first third of the year. I had no time for another long-form, multi-week RPG for a long time following Skyrim.

    In fact, I have been finding myself more and more avoiding any long games, I actually welcome how short modern games have become, because I now have a chance of finishing them. I will still play a long game, but the bar for me has to be exceptionally higher, and from reviews Amalur did not seem to reach the necessary level of quality for me to devote my energy towards playing it.

    A few days ago I finally forced myself to play Thirty Flights of Loving, and it’s true, it really only took 45 minutes for me to play through it twice (second time with commentary). Of course, that was the only game playing I was able to do that night, but in that time I was able to complete a whole game, a whole interesting, different experience. I’m sure there are single fetch quests in Amalur that take longer.

  41. Snargelfargen says:

    7 pages of comments and running, wow. My takeaway from this is

    -Generic fantasy storylines are becoming less palatable. Either gamers are simply weary of them or there are marginally better options available.

    -There’s a disconnect between how people judge MMOs and solo RPGs despite the genres sharing similiar mechanics. Amalur wore that comparison on it’s sleeve and the result was a condemnation of MMO gameplay rather than a critique of rpgs in general.

    -Skyrim is uncool now.

  42. gingerbill says:

    The game is massive , it’s very open , has good combat and i enjoyed it at the start . The problem is the world is dull , the quests are dull , it’s just dull and generic . They got Salvatore to do the writing and the writing and story are the weakest part of the game by a mile . It’s a shame as a lot of work must have gone into the game . Salvatore hasnt written a good book for a long long long time , just generic childish stuff , this game is no different.

    Of course it didnt help i had just sunk 150 hours into skyrim , skyrim is just simply better , though alamur has better combat. This game feels like an MMO world , everything is to generic.

    I would still say its worth getting for cheap as there’s some fun to be had.

  43. Megakoresh says:

    This is one of my favourite videogames ever.
    It has the best open world ever created in videogames, which is why I loved it so much. It’s downside what the main quest and characters which were remedied in both of it’s amazing DLC.

    It has the most believable, the most charming Open World, with every tiniest side-character, every settlement having a reactive, unique and interactive story than has never been seen in any other game before. The combat was more of an icing on the cake. It is really great, but can get frustrating because of it’s less-than-ideal (to say the least) dodging.

    Reckoning is a game to model others from. Especially when creating an Open World. I NEVER have been so taken by the game’s world itself, by sidequests, by settlements and secondary characters, as I have in Reckoning. It is the only EA game I would recommend buying right now. This game is a true masterpiece, it is truly unique and sadly I doubt that anything like it will be done in the near future.

  44. Num1d1um says:

    Skyrim didn’t even have a demo as far as I recall.

  45. simulant says:

    I played it when it came out and really enjoyed it. I did not notice many bugs.
    Combat is way more fun than Skyrim.

  46. Devilturnip says:

    At the risk of the arbiters of what constitutes a good game here in the comments jumping all over me… I agree with John. It’s a good game.

  47. Tuco says:

    Actually, I did.
    it sucked.

  48. xao says:

    I picked it up at release, enjoyed it for a few days, but ultimately the combat drove me away from it. KoA wants to be a role-playing game with action-game combat, but it doesn’t do either aspect particularly well. The combat looks pretty, but the system doesn’t hold up on higher difficulty levels. Lengthy combat animations combined with an inability to cancel rendered a great deal of the possibilities moot. Combat turned into a “farm for fate, instakill boss” affair.

    Not being a Salvatore fan, I didn’t expect much from the writing, so I wasn’t terribly disappointed. The quests felt largely like standard MMO fare, though at least a few had lasting repercussions on your world. Neither the questing nor the writing was enough to overcome the mediocrity and eventual boredom of the combat system.

    On the upside, it lead me to look into RPGs with good combat, which lead to Dark Souls. Hurrah!

  49. derella says:

    I played the demo on PC, and wasn’t overly impressed. I also played it at a friends house on 360, and after a few hours lost interest. It just never grabbed me in any way.

    The world and characters seemed generic, and the art direction was… weird. I dunno, I love stylized art, but it felt like it was trying, but ended up looking garish. The quests were felt like they were ripped from a MMO(kill 3 bandit leaders! collect 6 crates of goods!).

    Despite that, I felt like I was on the verge of getting passed the blah parts… but it never happened. If it ever goes on sale for like $14.99, I’ll probably try again.

  50. TheGameSquid says:

    Basically what all the others have said: the graphics are very mediocre with a supergeneric art style, the story is incredibly weak from the get-go, combat feels like a beat-em-up and not particularly deep or interesting, the game is structured like an MMO and its quests feel very much like they were taken from one. I really don’t think the game has a SINGLE standout feature…

    If you can get it for 15$, it can be a pretty fun game, but all in all it’s very expensive while not really scratching the itches of a person interested in deep RPGs.