Currently Playing: Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning Demo

This is we get when we combine the talents of R.A. Salvatore (writer of such books for the Forgotten Realms, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter), Todd McFarlane (creator of Spawn) and Ken Rolston (lead designer of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and IV: Oblivion). The game is currently developed by 38 Studios and Big Huge Games. It should be released sometime by the second week of February this year.

The demo just came out a few days ago, it took me a while to get it running since it’s a pretty large demo, almost 2gb (both PS3 and the X360). I was able to install it already on the Xbox360, while the PS3 is still downloading (currently at 5% as of writing). I didn’t know what to expect from it, but I needed to play it because of the free Mass Effect 3 armor. Also, my friend was looking forward to it and he seemed very excited which made me more curious about it.

Personally, hearing the 3 people involved alone got me interested. These are top players in their field. To see these kinds of minds working together seems like it’s going to be mind blowing. Although it’s hard to tell if they will be the American version of Chrono Trigger, which was made by an amazing group of developers and which they called themselves the “Dream Team”.

Anyway, we start the game by seeing a cutscene. Your character is currently dead, and just before your face is revealed, this is where you create your looks. You are being brought to be thrown out with the other corpses. After a while, you wake up on a pile of rotting bodies, and this is where the demo starts. You start in a cave which has a fixed path, this gives you the training skills through out the current quest. It will give you all the things you need to do while you are in it. It gives you all the skills and you get to understand the main story.

From here, you’ll understand that the game plays like an action/stealth game. It depends on how you play. All options are available to you, it just depends on how you use it. The weapons will be presented to you one by one. You’ll use melee weapons, daggers for silent kills, bow and arrows for long range attacks and magic with the accommodating armor. After which, it’s up to you on how to take advantage of your skills. The controls are pretty easy to understand. You can be very responsive within the game, as quick as action games. Before you leave the cave, you should be able to get more weapons, but this is just a backup just in case you missed the ones in the training. The initial quest can take about 15-20 minutes.

Once you leave the cave, you are given 45 minutes to explore (not including the pause screen and the conversations). The conversations have 2 types, one is the radial type (similar to Mass Effect) and another is just a list (this is only when there is a ton of questions). But the interesting part is, if you want the main story or the best option, it’s already highlighted for you. So, all other options are just there for you, but not necessarily important. What I like about choosing the other options is that it gives you an idea on what the world is, a lot of backstory. It gives you an understanding of where you are in this fantasy world.

Fighting is like playing an action game. Generally it’s pretty quick, but not as quick as I expected. Well, maybe it’s just the weapon I’m using, possibly a low class. Using the secondary weapon is just pressing another button (you can only use 2 weapons at a time). There is no jumping, except on specific areas, the button functions as “run” when exploring. Using potions is pretty quick, you only need to use the LB (X360) or L1 (Ps3), and the game pauses to give you time to figure out what potion to use. Potion effect are also instantaneous.

Using stealth gives you slightly different effect. Once you activate stealth, you’ll see an eye indicator on all your enemies. It will highlight once they are aware about you. I suppose this will interest a lot of stealth gamers out there. Although we don’t get to see the same accuracy as with games like Metal Gear Solid, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Leveling up has the usual standards of upgrading your character. Although there is the addition of fate cards. You can choose a card and it will give you upgrades on your skills. Based on my experience, you can change this each time you level up. Cards will be activated depending on what level you are and you can change what cards you want to use if needed.

You have 45 minutes and, even though that is a lot of time. I doubt that you’ll be able to finish all the quests in the specified time. There is so many things to do and so many people to talk to. I think it took me almost 2 hours before it all ended. I think this is one of the best demos I’ve played in years.

The game reminds me a lot of Fable, but the major difference is the less load times in between locations. In Fable, locations feels very small and the loading screen is a very common sight and it can get very tiring. Here, it seems a lot less, but it’s still there. Based on the visual style that they went for, it seems that they are highly inspired with World of Warcraft. This might be the case for making the world look bigger while reducing the amount of details in the environments and because of this, it still makes the game still look good.

The game is promising based on my experience. I enjoyed most of it, since it’s trying to merge the feeling of Fable while using the conversations system in Mass Effect, RPG elements and an action game. Although I’m not sure how the world will open up later on, but the time I spent on the game, it seems like it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to try the game when it comes out for the full release.

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