Nobody Wants Poor Old Kingdoms Of Amalur – Sniff

By John Walker on December 16th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

This is too sad. Kingdoms Of Amalur, the basis for one of the best RPGs in years, has failed to sell in 38 Studios’ assets auction. As reported by Polygon, no one was prepared to put up what current owners Heritage Global Partners were willing to take, despite another $320,000 being raised for other sales, including the Rise Of titles. But poor old Amalur remains on the shelf of the money-eating firm, unloved, and undeveloped.

The whole sorry saga of 38 Studios and the hubris that saw it collapse is bigger than my disappointment at not having any more Amalur to play. A lot of people lost jobs, and it was a very sad affair. But let’s not also lose perspective about the bit where I don’t have any more Amalur to play.

Damn, it was such a good game. Seriously. I know there’s this contingent of wrongheaded people who disagree, but they’re all part of some evil cult that brainwashes people into not appreciating a lovely game when they encounter it, and you should ignore them. It was a whole new world, a huge, interesting country, in a mammoth-sized game. A game where a false ending is in fact just the mid-point, at which point it blossoms out farther and wider, stuffed with characters, quests, and choppy-choppy third-person action. It was never dark and gritty, nor was it la-la-la-bubbly-for-kids. It found this space between the two, bursting with nice ideas, or just old ideas done nicely.

I love that this was a game where I accidentally pressed a wrong button and hit a monk with a sword. This made him rather cross with me, and indeed the rest of his monk friends, and I ended up having to kill them all to protect my own life. And there it was, this blight on my past, this blot on my record – a now empty village with unfinished quests, due to my having hideously slaughtered everyone who lived there. And that didn’t break the game. That’s the sort of thing that usually sees a game sealed in the collective memory as Something Special, when you have that degree of freedom and impact. Yet Reckoning still remains far too forgotten, and greatly under-rated.

Enough that no one had enough money/the sense to grab it and its half-finished MMO follow-up. Of course, we don’t know what minimum frightening-sounding science fiction corporation Heritage Global Partners had set for it. It’d certainly be interesting to know what some of the rejected bids might have been.

Successfully sold in the auction were Rise Of Nations and Rise Of Legends, which means hopefully we’ll see some more of them, soon. However, we don’t yet know who actually bought them, so don’t get your hopes too high. The rights to the trademark of Big Huge Games was also sold, which strikes me as odd. I don’t understand trademarks, but what do you do with that? Carry on making games under the name of the once adored, now legendarily bankrupt studio, as you are them? That’s creepy, like wandering around with someone else’s face on, trying to pretend you’re them. You creeps.

So there it is. Amalur, left at the dance with only the also unsold unknown Helios social media thing to go home with. The poor thing.

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117 Comments »

  1. Bull0 says:

    Amalur is like Fable for thinking people. In fact that might be doing it a disservice. Anyway, it’s really good. The appeal is broad enough that I’d probably give it to my kid(s) to play. The central conceit and the way that played with the conventions of the genre was genuinely interesting, to a level that shames a lot of far more successful and well-loved games. It deserves better than this. Shall we have a whip-round?

  2. misterT0AST says:

    I killed the monks as well.
    Unfortunately I saved the game right after a glitch made my hand glow and the screen shake continuously (it happened after one of those “finishing move” QTE sequences) and now my save file is pretty much ruined. Maybe I should just fill the meter up and do another finishing move to see if things fix themselves, but that bar takes forever to load up, and the constant screen shaking and glowing make me dizzy.

    • Ness says:

      Max out your Alchemy to level 10, and you’ll have the skills to make a potion that levels up your Reckoning QTE meter. You can then reset your Alchemy to either 4 or 6, and still keep the recipe, and use those points in other things. Doing another QTE kill should stop the hand glowing.

  3. Shodex says:

    It’s a shame what happened with KoA:R. The game didn’t exactly do anything new. Just added some God of War and a little bit of The Elder Scrolls to World of Warcraft. But the combination worked, and it was well made.

    There are times when I’d prefer a well made generic game than the bordering on unplayable messes of “innovation” we see around. AAA RPGs are in the swamp at the moment and KoA:R was a nice taste of fresh, non-swamp-like air.

  4. aliksy says:

    Played the demo, didn’t grab me. Too much telling, not enough engagement. Gameplay didn’t seem very special. It also didn’t go on sale for a long time, and it has the stink of EA on it.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Morph says:

    I must be a member of this cult of which John speaks because really Amalur was just awful, repetitive and unoriginal.

    • John Walker says:

      Don’t listen to him! He just wants to eat your soul.

      • lautalocos says:

        admit it, you are actually part of the evil cult that makes people think this game was good.

        i mean, it had tons of quests, but when it´s basically the same quest reskinned again, and again, and again, and again……and again and again, it loses it´s charm.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Strange how nobody has problem with Skyrim doing it :P

          And I don’t mean Radiant-quests only…

          • Emeraude says:

            Many people do. It’s just that Skyrim managed to find its audience among those that do not.

          • lautalocos says:

            i have the exact same problem with skyrim.

            in fact. skyrim is even worse, because not only where the missions incredibly boring, but the main quest was bugged for a long time (i couldn´t finish the main story, great work betheseda), and all of the skills where comletely unbalanced.

            seriously, does betheseda even test their own game?

        • DatonKallandor says:

          Amalur was far too big. It was an MMO sized world and quest types but it was a purely singleplayer game. If it had been half as long, with the twice the speed of progression it would have been a far better game. It’s rare that cutting content without any additions makes a game better, but Amalur is one of those.

        • serioussgtstu says:

          Reply fail.

          • DatonKallandor says:

            Yeah the Fae were actually the least generic elves in any fantasy game. Generations of story-loving weirdos who give up their own names and lives so they can LARP old legends until they die, so the next generation can give up their lives to LARP some more. Their world breaks down when someone gets fed up with the old stories and tries to rewrite them.

            The Fae in Amalur are a great concept.

      • The Random One says:

        It’s true, you know – that guy ate my soul.

        …I got better.

        But I never fully healed. That’s why I have to work as an investment banker.

    • greywolf00 says:

      I too am a member of this cult. I avoided it like the plague forever since I never heard anything good about it. The glowing RPS article about it made me willing to gamble on it on sale. I was hoping for something like Gothic 2, a heavily story driven open world RPG. That’s kind of what KoA is, I just could never get into it. Too combat centric, forgettable characters and story, world never pulled me in or created any interest, and the character progression system was meh imo.

  6. Premium User Badge

    tumbleworld says:

    It was just too WOWlike for me. I’m kinda utterly burnt out on WOWlike.

  7. TooGoodToCheck says:

    Even if someone had bought the rights, they could not have made another Amalur like Reckoning, because the team has been scattered to the winds. The people who made it magic are making other magic now, at Bioware and Blizzard and Zenimax and SecretNewCo, and who knows how many other companies. As much as I’d love to say “Dude, we’re getting the band back together”, it’s two years too late.

    • Shuck says:

      Someone would have been buying the rights to make a sequel with a completely new team, something that happens quite a bit in the industry. (In fact, it’s rare that any series of games have all been made by the same dev team.) The whole point of that is that you’re building on name recognition of and/or love for the original. Apparently no one felt the original had enough of either to buy the rights for it. That somewhat surprises me, but presumably the reserve price was too high.
      I’m completely unsurprised, however, that no one wanted “Project Copernicus,” as even just the expense of finishing the game alone would likely cost more than any revenue you could get from it.

  8. Awesumo says:

    The main problem with the game was that it had far too much content… which is a strange issue. I found the minute to minute gameplay got very repetitive even though I had after many many hours completed *maybe* 10% of the game. I just couldn’t bare the thought of facing 100 more hours of the same combat moves.

    • USER47 says:

      Yeah, I agree. The game gets best when you start ignoring 99% of sidequests and only follow main story + longer sidestories.

  9. CobraLad says:

    Why would someone need it? Make generic fantasy game and name it Knights of Andragor, it would cost many dollars less.

  10. lomaxgnome says:

    Apparently quite a few companies were interested, but none were willing to spend as much as Rhode Island seems to think it is worth. My guess is they had dreams of over $20 million and the more realistic bids were much lower.

    • Shuck says:

      I’m curious as to what they wanted for it. Apparently they netted $320,000 for the Big Huge Games trademark and the IP rights for their two games. Even a million dollars for Amalur was probably at least ten times more than what anyone would have been willing to pay for it.

  11. bit_crusherrr says:

    Still waiting for it to be cheap on a Steam sale. :(

    • thecommoncold says:

      Same here. I’d totally buy the IP if it was 75% off on Steam.

      • killias2 says:

        I feel like I’ve seen KoA cheap a bunch of times. I remember buying it and all the DLC for like 5-6 bucks at GamersGate, and I think I ended up getting a separate copy on Origin. Maybe they’re the same copy, who knows.

        If it’s just that you need it on Steam, I guess I understand.

    • Pich says:

      In my opinion you can pirate it with a free coscience, the devs are dead and your money would go to EA and/or the state of Rode Island.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        The money would go to the publisher either way.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        In my opinion, you can never pirate with a clear conscience, but that’s just me. I’d pick it up if it was really cheap and if I had finished some other RPG’s I’ve have waiting for me. I Amallured, but I Reckon that playing it can wait.

      • Bull0 says:

        Wow, they’re not *dead*. Firing doesn’t mean what you think it means.

        • Emeraude says:

          They’re not ? It doesn’t ?

          Oh lord I need to contact my lawyers !

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          You mean firings aren’t carried out by a firing squad? Sheesh, I need a new HR department.

      • jalf says:

        You mean to the ones who invested money into getting the game made?

        Yeah, god forbid *they* see any kind of return on their investment. Who know what could happen then. They might *gasp* make another game! As if one wasn’t bad enough!

    • Moraven says:

      It was in a EA humble bundle wasn’t it? Or some bundle. Only reason I have it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bitter says:

      Keep an eye on Gamersgate, it’s gone on sale there a few times.

  12. dsch says:

    KoA successfully distilled the worst kind of self-flagellation found in MMOs, so you can savour them in private.

    And when JW calls people who disagree with him an evil cult, doesn’t even feel like a joke.

    • John Walker says:

      That’s because it isn’t. I’m on to you people, and I know you’re the one who keeps stealing things in my dreams.

      • dsch says:

        You’re never getting them back!

      • Emeraude says:

        That’s me actually, while on a romp with Jonas Kyratzes’ spiders…

        Edit… OK, so there may be several of us… all seemingly uncoordinated… Hmmm… who could be the mastermind behind this ?

        I’ll blame EA ! (If they’re not guilty of that they’re always guilty of something !)

  13. kevinspell says:

    That game tried to be all the RPG subgenres at once. The narrative RPG, the sandbox RPG and the dungeon crawler. And it failed to impress (me) on all three fronts. So meh, I don’t care.

    I feel the same thing could happen to Witcher 3. Trying to mix narrative experience and sandbox gameplay smells of noting good. But kudos to CD PR if their fans don’t end up disappointed.

  14. Tinotoin says:

    That’s a real shame, I had so much fun with it but, ultimately, turned my back on it perhaps before I should have.

  15. Iceman346 says:

    While Amalur certainly didn’t do much wrong in my opinion it also didn’t do much to stand out. It was a generic game with a generic fantasy setting, generic graphics design, generic quest design, generic combat. All well polished, all working very well, but throughout the game I had the impression that I was playing a very calculated product.
    At the beginning of the development somebody set out to design an RPG with all the nasty stuff polished off so that it could offend no one and to appeal to the biggest possible audience. A game without blemish but at the same time without distinctive features. All the checkbox stuff was there, everything “any good RPG needs” but the end product just had no soul of it’s own.

    Additionally the difficulty level just took an absolute nosedive after about a third of the game if you did many sidequests. I was badly overleveled for much of the game which just made the combat tedious as none of the enemies could harm me.

  16. Agnol117 says:

    Disappointing as this is, it doesn’t really surprise me. Amalur wasn’t by any means a bad game, but it was hindered by being over-hyped, mis-marketed, and having a frankly disappointing demo. And that’s not even touching on the content (which was overly ambitious and tried to be everything at once). Over all, given how badly the game did, I’m not surprised that no one wants it.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Foosnark says:

    I never once thought Amalur was “WoWlike”. And I still don’t. And I think anyone who thinks it is, must be using different criteria than I would ever think of.

    Is it the swords? They both have swords in them. (Though I prefer bow and faeblades.) I suppose if the hero in Amalur was armed with a pair of MP5Ks it might not be “WoWlike.”

    Whatever. It’s a good game, which I should someday go back to playing again.

    • AJLeuer says:

      The art style, world design, character design, and especially color palette are all very WoW-like. The similarities are most noticeable when you compare vanilla areas like Elwynn Forest. Also the way that Amulur partitions its world into distinct zones, each with its own theme to set it apart, is very reminiscent of WoW. Outside of art and world design though there still is plenty to differentiate the two games.

      • SKapsniak says:

        Yes, saturated colour palette, third-person, high fantasy tropes, deliberately non-realistic big chunky art design, lots of bloom.

        All pretty superficial, but also in your face visible right from the word go. I can imagine if you’ve gone through WoW burn-out, the reaction to the resulting mental associations ranges somewhere from immediate turn-off to a big fat Shatneriffic ‘Noooooooooooo!’

        Its one WoW ‘feature’, that is an actual design error — rather than everyone being shell-shocked veterans for whom on a particular set of surface design choices produces ugly flashbacks — is the utterly broken XP curve for anyone who wants explore, do side-quests, kill random monsters, or play with crafting even a little, instead of rush rush rushing to the end.ignoring most of the actual stuff in the game.

        Really the “I am rushing to the end to meet my publication deadline/because I can’t play long games/because that’s where I assume the only interesting stuff happens” thing needs to be an entirely separate game mode when wandering off the narrow straight path is even a small thing in your game design, rather than a fundamental assumption about how your audience wants to play regardless of what difficulty level they’ve selected.

        Amalur has that one bad.

        Way too many MMOs (including modern WoW the last time I touched it) have that one super-duper-bad.

        They probably have metrics. Lots of metrics.

        Thing is, a sequel could have easily adjusted things in a good direction. Toned the art style down a bit, used an XP curve designed for people who actually like to dick about in the world, swapped in some slightly less O’Irish voice acting, signed distribution with someone who wasn’t EA Partners — It never works, people think you’re actual EA and hate you for it, but nobody seems to get any much marketing support from them — and you’d have something with an actual shot.

        • Widthwood says:

          I was dicking about in Amalur like there’s no tomorrow, doing main quests only when i HAD to – and don’t remember any problems with XP progression… Quite the opposite, slaying several high-XP monsters like trolls in one slow-mo period gave such a ridiculous amount of XP that it felt like cheating… What I do remember is game was encouraging using combos and constantly changing different styles of combat, and punished using one move for everything.

          Sidequests gave pittance, but I thought it was a deliberate choice – to encourage players to take them not to just click through dialogue and monsters for rewards at the end, but only when you really want a story for story’s sake.

  18. Premium User Badge

    welverin says:

    The rights to the trademark of Big Huge Games was also sold, which strikes me as odd. I don’t understand trademarks, but what do you do with that? Carry on making games under the name of the once adored, now legendarily bankrupt studio, as you are them? That’s creepy, like wandering around with someone else’s face on, trying to pretend you’re them. You creeps.

    Pretty much how I felt when Interplay pretended Black Isle was back. It’s not the same stop trying to fool people.

    • MaXimillion says:

      Or how Infogrames bought the Atari name and renamed itself Atari.

  19. Starayo says:

    The world, the writing… I loved it. The whole setting enveloped me, engrossed me… for 12 hours.

    Then, when the gameplay itself hadn’t really evolved much, and I was being shuffled around doing repetitive and boring quests, and I realised I was being made to play a single-player MMO without the community, the thing that makes an MMO worth playing… I stopped and never felt a single urge to play again.

    Fantastic, beautifully crafted world. Lacklustre execution of gameplay.

  20. jealouspirate says:

    Sorry, but Amalur wasn’t that good.

    All hail Zorp.

  21. Fullforce says:

    I don’t quite understand the headlines about Amalur, when my headline would be ‘Someone might make another Rise of Nations game!’ but that’s just me.

    I’m hoping GOG bought the rights…

  22. geldonyetich says:

    I agree, Amalur was quite good, it was just a little too big for many people to be willing to slog their way through. Myself included – but I nonetheless appreciated the great attention to detail, side-activities, and combo-based combat that was a touch short of Devil May Cry and a tad prone to leaning on one move to get everything done but was nonetheless light years ahead of something like Gothic or Risen.

    I’m not surprised not too many people want to buy the IP, though. The math doesn’t look good on a game that is considered to be generally commercially disappointing. A sequel might be a good idea, though, as known IPs have the hard work of becoming noticed behind them.

  23. jonahcutter says:

    KoA one of the best RPGs in years? Really?

    The combat was decent, but pretty easy and button-mashy. And the writing was about as bland and generic as it gets.

    As flawed as the Fable games were, I thought they were superior to KoA. And the comparisons to even vanilla Skyrim were laughable.

    • Jumwa says:

      John and Jim Sterling are my two favourite games journalists, and I love reading their opinions on games (or most anything for that matter!). Though this is one case I can’t agree, for much the same reasons you listed.

      I got some fun out of Amalur, well… fun might be a bit generous of a term. I got some distraction out of it for a bit. But ultimately it failed to leave any impression or compel me to even finish the game. I gave up at some point after reaching a big city along a coast I think.

      Whereas Fable 1 and 3 (never played 2 as it didn’t come to PC) left an impression on me that lingers now even, Amalur just sort of faded away from memory, only ever dredged up again because of the whole financial fiasco hitting the news periodically.

      I wanted to like the game, and ignore the people who compare it to Skyrim (it’s not very comparable to Skyrim at all, for good or ill, take your pick), but my desire to want to like it vastly outweighed my actual enjoyment of it. The thin veneer of meaning in the games progression eroded quickly and left me feeling like I was grinding out quest zones in WoW before I then decided to just push ahead as fast as I could and lost interest.

      Incidentally, Jim Sterling also posted about his love for Bioshock today. It’s like my two video game fantasy friends are trying to remind me how no two people share all the same tastes in video games even. I still adore you both howeer.

  24. sandineyes says:

    I would really like to see Rise of Nations released on Steam/GoG. I missed out on it back when it was new, and I kind of don’t want to deal with physical copies of games ever again.

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  26. GoliathBro says:

    The thing that killed the game for me was that odd split second pause after breaking an object in combat or killing something. Did they ever fix that?

    • USER47 says:

      It’s not a bug:).

      • GoliathBro says:

        ???

        The entire game freezes for a split second after every time you destroy an object. Got hella mad annoying. It was in the demo, I thought it was just optimization issues, but then it was still there when I finally bought the edition with the DLC/expac.

        Seemed like a nice game otherwise, but couldn’t play it for more than a few hours because of that.

        • fish99 says:

          It’s a deliberate animation style. It’s aping 2D fighting games I think, or maybe anime, where there’s dramatic pauses because of limited animation frames. Personally I got used to it quickly.

        • Joof says:

          Zelda’s been doing the freeze on hit thing for a long time. I’m guessing it was a conscious design choice here too.

  27. fish99 says:

    I loved and finished Amalur, including all the side quests. I even liked the world and story. It’s a great piece of colourful fantasy escapism, in contrast to the grim reality of Skyrim (which I also loved and finished btw). It also has fun combat and a brilliant Grant Kirkhope score.

    It does have quite a dip in the middle you have to force through but once you do it picks up (the middle being from where you leave the forest to where you cross the sea).

  28. ExpendablePanda says:

    It’s not very helpful to the dev’s at this point but you’ve made me want to go and give this another genuine try. I played the demo on 360 way back but wasn’t that keen. Have since changed in taste a fair whack and am solely PC based. I doubt the platform difference will affect it too much but hey, I’ll check if I have any more fun this time around.

  29. Stardreamer says:

    I sank about 50-60 hours into this game. For a few happy weeks it became a little world I could live in. I spent time doing lots of the quests. They did get a bit repetitive after the 20 hour mark but that just meant I could relax a bit and have fun with the game; the perfect, de-stress tonic after a long day at work. What might have been more engaging for those who complained it got too repetitive was more variation to the monster AI, not the cheap trick of slowly piling on greater numbers of the same monsters (which itself plateau’d out by a certain level, meaning I started spamming battlefields with meteor attacks just to speed my passage through certain areas).

    Nitpicking aside, I really enjoyed my time with Amalur and am saddened both by the fact it doesn’t get more love from the gaming community and that no-one has snapped up the rights to make another one. If it wasn’t going to get a great future then at least it still should have had one.

    And hey, there were Irish women reading poetry throughout. That pretty much justified my entry fee by itself!

    • aepervius says:

      ” These people clearly never gave the game more than a few hours before they dismissed it and moved on”

      If a game does not hook you within a few hours, then it is a bad game. period. The first few hours, when you start to do exposition, is the one where you have to give an incensitive. If it is a slog, and your game starts being good 10 or 20 hours in, then you missed the point, and probably confused MMO with single player game.

      I don’t know how many hours I played, I reached the end of a swampy area, so it msut have been early. But by then I was already always using the same skills, and the environment made me slightly dizzy, nauseus (probably due to low FOV). Nonetheless with a good game , I simply play in small playthrough , and the nausea does not appear. But the problem is, in this case I had no incencictive.

      • Widthwood says:

        Fov can be fixed by Widescreen fixer, as for using the same skills – Amalur was very actively encouraging you to use as many different skills during combat as possible with slow-mo bar rewards, and with fateweathers in every corner of the world you could transform from mage to ranger to palladin to thief etc in minutes.
        I’m sorry, but lack of variety is just not a valid criticism against it…

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        FWIW, the word you’re looking for is “incentive”.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Reply fail there, aepervius. :) I think you were aiming at serioussgtstu below, but I’ll pick up on your main point:

      If a game does not hook you within a few hours, then it is a bad game. period.

      I’d disagree with that statement because it doesn’t take into account personal preference/subjective experience. There are many great games out there that I just don’t get hooked by – the original X-com being one – but that doesn’t make it a bad game, just one that doesn’t work it’s magic on me. It’s also possible to bounce off a game a few times before it ‘clicks’ with you. Not common, admittedly, but certainly possible.

  30. quarpec says:

    Forgive me if i don’t throw my money at the game made by the Oblivion guy, featuring art by the Spawn guy and writing by the Drizzt Dourden guy.

    Laughed for days when I heard about that STELLAR lineup.

    • Arglebargle says:

      That probably cost them a big huge chunk of change too.

    • Damien Stark says:

      Well to be fair, “the Oblivion guy” was also “the Morrowind guy” :
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Rolston

      Since most of the hatred of Oblivion is focused on the ways in which it isn’t Morrowind, it’s pretty silly to think a game being made by Oblivion’s designer will be a bad game…

  31. Keyrock says:

    It’s a decent game. The highlight is the combat system, one of the best for a 3rd person action RPG that I’ve ever seen. Where the game falls flat for me, oddly enough, is the writing (oddly enough because they hired a professional fantasy author to write the lore for the game). I just didn’t find the setting or lore or any of the characters the least bit compelling. It probably didn’t help that the quests were fairly boring. Still, the combat was good enough that there was still plenty of enjoyment in slicing through enemies.

  32. serioussgtstu says:

    The problem with Kingdoms of Amalur is that it was incredibly long and that no one was bothered to actually listen to what the game had to say. Dialogue was so frequent that most people just assumed that it was all fluff before they were given a quest, but that really wasn’t the case; all of the characters were worth listening to because they each had an individual story to tell.

    There were also very few quest which involved kill X number of baddies and the vast majority require that you meet an interesting character with loads of dialogue options, and then help them out. There were so many sub narratives going on in Amalur, every town had it’s own distinct aesthetic and there were also five factions, each of which provided a distinct perspective on the world you were in.

    The criticisms people so often use against Amalur are that the world was generic (the Fae? Seriously?) and that the quests were repetitive. These people clearly never gave the game more than a few hours before they dismissed it and moved on, which is a shame because it really is a cracker.

    That said the FOV was too low and the second continent was entirely unnecessary.

    • Grygus says:

      I have come to suspect that a non-significant percentage of Amalur’s detractors haven’t actually played the game, or played the game for a very short time and quit, having made negative assumptions. There are legitimate criticisms of the game and of course those are made, but they are alongside some absolute nonsense, and it doesn’t seem like most people are able to distinguish the two.

      • fish99 says:

        Agree, I suspect most people either only played the demo, or an hour or two of the full game. It is a slow starting game, with a fairly dull tutorial, and it takes a while for the story to get going. I also think as serioussgtstu says it helps to listen to the characters and read some of the in-game lore, because there’s an interesting world in there.

      • Emeraude says:

        I played a fair bit. Like others here I had a strong immediate epidermic reaction to it. Nothing about the artistic direction sat well with me. But still I soldiered on trying to see if the gameplay or the world would click (it happens sometimes) and no, really. No.

        I’d say 3-4 hours is more than enough time sacrificed if I don’t find anything of worth to me in a game.

  33. noodlecake says:

    All I remember was the cold staring dead eyes of all the characters in cutscenes. It was very creepoy, to the point where I couldn’t enjoy the game.

  34. Ranger33 says:

    I’ve only played through the first few areas of the game but I think it’s quite great. The storytelling is nothing brilliant but it’s done as well as anything else out there, the graphics/art are good throughout, the combat is fun. Like others said, the sheer volume of content may hurt the game as much as it helps. If you try to do every single side quest (something my brain requires me to do) you will never finish it.

  35. Pow pow LAZERS! says:

    A wild guess, but could it be because Kingdoms Of Amalur is a uninspired, generic fantasy ip?

    • Moraven says:

      But they paid millions to R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane to make it…not generic fantasy?

    • HadToLogin says:

      Not sure how “forever LARPing elves” are generic…

      • Wulf says:

        Urgh. I can’t take this any more.

        How are forever LARPing fae not generic? That’s all they ever do! Calling them out on it doesn’t actually make them any less so. It’s what they did in Tolkien’s works, in D&D, and in Everquest, it’s what they did in most of mythology, and it’s even what the Children of Oberon did in Gargoyles (Owen Burnett, anyone?)!

        Honestly, on the topic of Gargoyles, I much preferred Xanatos. He was a simple mortal who was on par with the Avalonians by the merit of pure intellect and his Machiavellian state of mind. He was a skeevy schemer who played roles for more than just playing the roles, it was always wheels within wheels for Xanatos. But elves? Elves are just bad, overwrought thespians with Aryan ideals of human life — the people who play them are often that, too.

        Give me a portly old miser of a sod with an interesting life’s story to tell any day, than a bad thespian playing out a poorly written fanfic. I mean, good grief, I could pick anything off of fanfic.net, put on a pair of Spock ears, overplay my role and be an elf from just about anything ever. And calling me out on doing it wouldn’t make me seem very clever, either. The last time I checked, being a snobby hipster in any society doesn’t make you clever.

        I think this is why I preferred New Vegas, because the people were genuinely interesting and not generic, and they were this in a completely unironic sort of way.

        So, no, the LARPing elves didn’t make Amalur any less boring, it was just being a hipster and calling out how fantasy is so very boring, because it does the same thing over and over again. That’s not clever, that’s painfully obvious! This is the kind of thing that makes me bitter, when people don’t realise this. And, of course, genuinely good RPGs like New Vega tend to get spat on in favour of utterly generic rot.

        It just makes me think that the vast majority of people are completely incapable of imagination or actual cleverness.

        I just don’t want to live in a world where obsessively bad actors are a good thing.

        (And I realise I’ll likely get deleted for being honest, again. Honesty and insight aren’t ever valued around these parts.)

        • Widthwood says:

          Storytelling was always about using familiar “building blocks” to build another story, kind of new, but kind of already known to your listeners. Otherwise there would be no folk tales as we know them, just an infinite number of completely random stories.
          The same can be said about music, art and any kind of creative process. For example, for some time western people honestly thought that chinese and japanese music was inherently “bad” – simply because those building blocks were different and unfamiliar. Or the usual story of an artist dying in poverty, with his works gaining mass appeal years or even centuries later.
          Just because your preference about the balance between originality and familiarity differs somebody else’s doesn’t mean that those people are stupid.. And imagination doesn’t even begin to come into this – it’s not like this is YOU creating games or books, you are just being a consumer.

  36. Moraven says:

    Those Project Copernicus screenshots… looks like Elder Scrolls online or every other fantasy MMO after WoW.

  37. Moraven says:

    38 Studios had Salvatore make this lore and universe with no game yet.

    BHG games were developing a RPG for THQ before being bought by 38, which was then retooled using said lore and universe.

    I wonder what the original lore and universe was by BHG’s staff. Or how the game could have ended.

  38. Frank says:

    I don’t know about that game, but

    > “no one was prepared to put up what current owners Heritage Global Partners were willing to take”

    is not the worst possible news. Probably folks would’ve paid *something* for it. $320k is surprisingly low for the Rise of Nations/Legends series, though…

  39. Lucid Spleen says:

    Though not without it’s problems I found this game a blast, technically solid, sometimes quite beautiful and with some of the best combat I’ve come across in the RPG genre.
    I almost gave up the first time I met wolves but I persevered. As some others here have commented I, also, found the game to be moving towards the trivially easy for the latter half. My propensity for making my own weapons and armour and putting gems in them (and also taking on quite a few side quests) made me quite the combat-god, or in my last run-through, dokkalfar goddess – Gadflow didn’t know what hit him. Even when overpowered the combat was very fun, trying to get through entire bunches of bad guys without even being hit once was one thing I amused myself with – NB there should be a better collective noun for baddies/enemies.
    Wasn’t so much of a fan of the art style, claims of it being a tad too generic definitely have some merit. Music was excellent though and also, the fae were fascinating. Sad and slightly pathetic, but fascinating.

  40. Tuco says:

    The game was terrible, performed terribly and costed a truckload of money.
    Not really surprising the IP is generally perceived as worthless right now.

  41. Premium User Badge

    Ham Solo says:

    I quite liked the game. And other than the last 4 “Elder Scrolls ” it was very playable and not a goddamn beta version that’s broken on so many parts.

  42. Neurotic says:

    Damn you all, reading this piece and some of the glowing praise in the comments, I was compelled to find a good price for it online, and I now have the bugger coming down the pipe to my computer for imminent enjoyment.

  43. Megakoresh says:

    Personally I don’t think Amaleur is a good game… Because it’s the best Open World game of all time.

    Seriously, what other Open World game has a world that’s as dense with content as an Elder Scrolls game, yet has both good combat AND good characters and an incredible depth to every, even incredibly minor, tiny storyline in that huge world?

    What other game will have you venture in some forgotten village in the middle of nowhere and find out that it has it’s set of issues and characters, which are all believable and reactive? And characters will all be actual characters and not just some NPCs with quest marks. They have personalities, they respond to your actions and the world really feels alive, despite being anything but (it’s much more static in fact than Elder Scrolls).

    Once I found a village in the middle of the forest with trees covered in some weird web. Turned out the village was plagued by giant spiders and they were cut off from the world by that. They barely knew about world’s issues as a result, but had issues of their own instead. There were some characters who believed the leader of the town to save them, some characters who didn’t, and they all could justify their opinions and it all fell in with their personalities well.

    And when I helped the village and made a choice, they all reacted to that choice in exactly the way that I would expect from their personas. This village HAS to be found. You would normally never even run past it, even when doing any of the faction quests. It’s a complete auxiliary, yet there is so much depth and attention put into the story and characters in it. And every location, every NPC, every little quest and story in the game has that charm, that believability and that responsiveness. There’s nothing like that in any other game.

    There is not any other game like that and unfortunately probably never will be. This is really sad. And both the DLCs for it were so good as well. They had the spirit of the main game yet brought in some lovely main characters. Amaleur was like Elder Scrolls done right to me. Too bad it did not have full modding support.

    • Widthwood says:

      But the sad thing is, like with any open world RPG – once you “complete” an area it becomes a ghost town frozen in time. There were couple of quests popping up here and there, few replies changed, but otherwise all that life and interactivity was completely sucked out and it became just a static decoration – it really broke the immersion, especially since with quick travel it was easy to constantly travel all over old towns to use merchants, trainers, etc.
      They had an awful lot of content, and I’d rather they didn’t just dump it on player all at once, but created a slower pace, so that when you revisit an area – there’s always a new quest or two waiting for you, based on other quests you recently completed.

      • Megakoresh says:

        Hmm yeah that’s true, I would also like some sort of time flow with quests appearing in some places based on what you did in other places, but the game still went further than all others in it’s field in making the world believable. If they had a chance to make a next Amaleur game, they could maybe improve even on that. Sadly no possibility for that it seems.

  44. silentdan says:

    KoA:R had an odd effect on me that I don’t recall happening with any other game: instant hate. Three seconds into the intro, I’d made up my mind definitively: I hate this game. I’m not sure where it came from, but each passing second made me loathe KoA more and more until finally the intro ended, and I started playing. After about a minute, I quit out and uninstalled. To this day, I can’t tell you why I hated KoA:R so much. I never even played it, but I think it’s the worst piece of shit ever released. So, maybe there is a cult. Maybe I just happened to pick up something from their bake sale that day.

  45. Shieldmaiden says:

    I spent over thirty hours playing the game and just stopped. I can’t remember why, I can’t even remember much about the game. Apart from the fae. The fae were cool.

  46. laddyman says:

    Kingdoms of Amalur was a fine game and appealing to me in a way that feels mildly hard to pin down. The warmness and the pleasing vividness of its aesthetics went well with the combat and the writing that allowed just the right amount of personal head canon and speculation while still providing interesting ideas and concepts of its own. It felt gentle while still being engaging: the kind of thing that didn’t attempt to pave new ground but was still pleased to present the more or less barn-standard fantasy elements that comprised it in a fresh way. The detractors are all correct, of course, but Amalur is a lovely game despite its warts.

  47. RegisteredUser says:

    Since people have repeatedly mentioned this game’s FOV as an issue: Widescreenfixer allows you to adjust it.
    It fights it a bit, but there’s a thread for it and you get a measure of what roughly it needs to be set at for 90 FOV.

    Otherwise, I would agree with those that have pointed out that it is just too darn huge. I kinda panicked when I read that “leaving the forest” is the MIDDLE?
    I spent maybe 50 hours on it already and I am still doing the court of the summer/winter elves thingie and replaying their story thingie where I pretend to be part of it and challenge the weird other guys trying to ruin it or something or other..

    Thing with this game is? Despite everyone calling it all generic, _everything_ was too ambitious. EVERYTHING is voiced out, even the most unimportant character. Every sidequest storyline IS an actual storyline(there were like at least 3-4 ongoing parallel, your fateweaver stuff, the elves and then others still) and for all that length, sadly you end up fairly quickly at the point where you have unlocked the majority of weapon combos, settled into your preferred 3-4 things and aren’t really “getting much” anymore.

    And that kind of kills it, because then you either survive the grind because you enjoy the gameplay mechanics(and they are fun for an action RPG third person slasher, this was actually a rather nice plus for me, though coulda been a bit more bloody and crowd-controlly) or you enjoy the actual storyline.
    Sadly, I am now at an age where the actual “doing of stuff”(shooting in a shooter, brawling in a brawler, platforming in a platformer, etc) needs to give me the jollies and stories don’t really do much for me anymore.

    And Amalur really is SO.MUCH.STORY. Its insanely much. Spoken text, endless text. So much of it.

    Shame. It feels like had they just taken 60% of the time, money and energy they put into this game, compacted it into a 30-50 hour total experience and polished and expanded the CORE features more(though sadly I couldn’t even put up suggestions for that), it would have been a lot more mainstream compatible and not just “offline WOW” for many(though that’s mean – I hate WOW, but I sunk double digit hours into KOA as it wasn’t just mashing 1-0 number rows, but actual combo gamepad fighting style).

  48. malkav11 says:

    “I love that this was a game where I accidentally pressed a wrong button and hit a monk with a sword. This made him rather cross with me, and indeed the rest of his monk friends, and I ended up having to kill them all to protect my own life. And there it was, this blight on my past, this blot on my record – a now empty village with unfinished quests, due to my having hideously slaughtered everyone who lived there. And that didn’t break the game. That’s the sort of thing that usually sees a game sealed in the collective memory as Something Special, when you have that degree of freedom and impact. Yet Reckoning still remains far too forgotten, and greatly under-rated.”

    That sounds like the opposite of impact to me. You kill an entire village and nothing changes except you’ve broken the quests that the villagers gave. I’m not going to pretend that there are a lot of games out there that would actually respond to doing that in a meaningful, dynamic way, but failing to do so isn’t impactful or special.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      It is certainly more freedom than being told “Enzio didn’t kill any innocents!!!!” though, isn’t it?

      Games that let YOU do things are becoming increasingly rare in the modern day of agency stripping cutscenes, quicktime events, prescripted everything and path-locking because god forbid you have actual choice.

      • Emeraude says:

        To be fair, I find AC to be basically an experiment in reaching the minimal level of gameplay possible to attain, so that may not be the best comparison…

        There used to be a too-short lived time when we dared to expect not only that we’d be able to kill most anyone we wanted in game, but that we could hope to judge a game on how it reacted to it, not on the fact that it allowed it without breaking.
        If anything, I find it disappointing that not only we scaled back our hopes and expectations, we kinda regressed.

  49. MithrilWomble says:

    I made my character look like Anne Hathaway, which may be one of the reasons I loved this game.

  50. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    It’s not so much bad as just utterly bland. Like a great big bowl of bechamel sauce.