Game Reviews Playstation Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3)
 
Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3)

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3) Hot

Editor rating
 
5.4
User rating
 
0.0 (0)


Accessibility At A Glance Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3)

5.4

   
Precision > No You will need precision to play
One-Handed > No Avoid this game
Deaf Gamers > Yes You should have no issues with this game
Subtitles > Yes Character text is present but not ambiant
Colorblind > Yes Colorblind gamers should be okay

About the Game

Class
Commercial
Genre
Maker
EA
Release Date
February 07, 2012
Multi-player
No
Licence Category
commercial

 Kingdoms-of-Amalur

An open-world action RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is set in Amalur, a rich and deeply immersive world underpinned by 10,000 years history, created by 22 time New York Times bestselling author, R.A. Salvatore. Immersing players in a rich, living, breathing open-world dripping with magic and rife with danger, underpinned by strong storytelling, Reckoning lets players define their destiny as they engage in intense action combat while exploring the huge, vibrant and varied world of Amalur as envisioned by the visionary creator of Spawn and acclaimed artist, Todd McFarlane.

Image Gallery

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3)
Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3)
Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3)

Editor review

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning (PS3) 2013-01-28 12:15:58 Elizabeth Martin
Overall rating 
 
5.4
Mobility 
 
4.0
Visual 
 
5.5
Hearing 
 
8.0
Elizabeth Martin Reviewed by Elizabeth Martin    January 28, 2013
Last updated: January 28, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Kingdoms of Amalur

If you were a successful sportsman worth millions of dollars what would you do with your retirement? Buy a yacht perhaps? Take up golf? Or would you set up your very own development studio, hire the best in the business and make your own ideal fantasy role playing game? If you chose the last option then you have something in common with Curt Schilling as that's exactly what he did on his retirement from baseball.

Schilling's labour of love may be far from a perfect video game, but it makes for an enjoyable experience in a beautiful landscape. Much of it feels very familiar, with the world populated by races of barely disguised elves and dwarfs, and enemies shamelessly taken straight from LOTR, but, in a way, this is where some of its strength lies. Its familiarity is comforting, like a warm blanket and a cup of cocoa.

Its main step away from its brother and sister RPGs is, instead, in its combat mechanics. If Fallout 3 could be called a first person shooter RPG then KoA is a third person hack and slash RPG. The studio's aim was to combine The Elder Scrolls with combat from God of War and they've gone a long way towards realising that goal. The combat is extremely responsive and allows for both special moves and magic attacks; there is no waiting turns or menu fiddling, everything you need to smite your foes is there at your finger tips. A huge variety of weapons caters for all manner of combat styles: from wading in with a huge hammer, to sneaking around with daggers, to ranged attacks with magic or longbows for those who prefer to keep their distance.

These three different styles go hand in hand with the way in which your character levels up. Points can be awarded into either Might, Finesse or Magic abilities to increase your prowess with certain weapons or access special attacks. The other feature that sets the game apart is that none of this is set in stone. The plot of the story hinges on the fact that you are the one character in the world with no fate, allowing you to be whatever you want to be. If you decide half way through the game that you don't want to be a magician any more then you can simply reset your abilities by visiting a fateweaver (and handing over some cash) and reassign your points however you wish.

Whoever you choose to be there's plenty to keep you busy in Amalur. It's impossible to reach your intended destination without stumbling across someone who wants you to sort out the local pest problem, retrieve a valuable treasure from a nearby cave or deliver an urgent letter. No-one seems to be able to do anything themselves. It's also easy to get distracted by the pretty scenery. Wandering down a path might reveal a stunning waterfall or a tantalising group of buildings in the distance, begging to be investigated.

The Kingdom may be pretty, but it has to be admitted that it does have a rather fake air to it. It's all very garish and sort of obvious. The world is split up into individual areas, each joined together by twisting paths in deep canyons to (rather unconvincingly) disguise the loading times. Each area is distinctive in its own way. Forests, rolling plains and dusty deserts all make an appearance, but the world as a whole doesn't quite hang together right. The jigsaw of different parts means that you never see one area from another and this gives the Kingdom a rather schizophrenic personality.

Like its own Kingdom, the game itself suffers somewhat when you try to take a step back and consider the whole rather than the individual parts. When taken on their own, each element of the game is more than adequate enough: the combat is excellent, the story's engaging, the world is interesting and the quests many and varied, but, when looked at as a whole, the game has very little that marks it out as anything particularly special. Like an over-long TV boxset, it's easy to spend a lot of time in KoA and really enjoy it, but in the end you might be left wondering where all that time went and whether it was really worth it.

Accessibility Issues

1. Visibility

Most of the time the world is very bright and contains a good deal of contrasting colours, but during the night the game world is much darker and it can be difficult to see what's what. Dungeons and caves also suffer from the same problem, but the game does have a brightness option which helps a little. Important objects are highlighted with a white outline to make them stand out from their surroundings and this is pretty clear to see.

On screen information is also quite clear. Your health, power and mana bars are red, purple and blue respectively. The mini-map can get quite cluttered, but is presented in white on a see through background. Treasures are shown in brown and enemies in red. Whilst exploring the countryside the red triangles that indicate enemies can appear on a green background so may not stand out so much for colour blind people.

The menus are all very clear to read and are written in white on black.

2. Hearing

There are no important audio cues, everything has a clear visual cue. Even the usual problem of knowing when an enemy is attacking is lessened by the fact that red marks appear on your mini map when there is an enemy near by and when they are attacking a red circle around the map begins to flash. I don't think the hearing impaired would have any trouble finishing the game and would have no disadvantage.

Information detailing quests is always available in text in the pause menus.

3. Subtitles

The game is subtitled, but the subtitles must be switched on manually before the game begins as it is impossible to switch them on during the opening cinematic. The subtitles are unboxed, in white serif script and are quite small. They can also sometimes be slightly glitchy with the game getting confused about who you are speaking to or with the final sentence getting stuck on your screen until you find somebody else to talk to.

When involved in conversations the name of the speaker appears on the screen. Incidental speech during action and dialogue during cut scenes, however, do not have any indication of who is speaking.

4. Precision

The basic game play requires little in the way of precision. There is no precise aiming and there is an auto-lock when firing arrows or magic. You simply need to be facing in roughly the right direction and the game will do the rest.

There is, however, a fair amount of button mashing. Some boss battles require God of War like QTEs to finish them off and when in your powered-up state button mashing increases your final EXP reward. Timing can be important during combat as careful timing of button presses can activate different special moves. It's perfectly possible to manage without using these moves, however.

The main precision problems occur during the mini games. These unlock chests, by either lock picking or dispelling wards. Lock picking requires you to push the analogue stick gently to the right until you feel a vibration in the controller. Push too far and the pick will break so you need to stop, adjust the angle of your pick and try pushing again until you get all the way across. The picks can be very sensitive and break easily if you do not have fast enough reactions to stop.

The dispelling mini game, on the other hand, involves precise timing. A marker moves around a large circle over small circles and you must press x when it is over each of the circles. Failure results in your character being harmed making it a dangerous game to partake in. On the plus side, both of these mini games can be entirely bypassed, if you wish, by simply ignoring these chests.

5. Controls

The controls are complicated and involve pretty much all of the buttons available on the controller. Sometimes buttons must be held down to change the function of others.

Both analogue sticks are used to move and look. You can sprint by holding down x, but there is an option in the menu to make this toggle instead.

Combat uses square for primary weapon, triangle for secondary and circle for dodge. Holding down or delaying button presses activates special moves. Holding down R1 brings up the spell menu which can be chosen from with the face buttons. R2 toggles stealth mode on and off. L1 brings up your shield and L2 brings up your item quick select which can be selected from with the left analogue stick. The directional keys give you quick select mana and health potions. Holding down both L1 and R1 for a few seconds activates reckoning mode (this game's version of slow motion).

The keys are not customisable, but there is an option to change the camera sensitivity in the options menu. Needless to say, it would not be possible to play one handed with a standard controller.

6. Difficulty

The game has three different difficulties on starting the game: easy, normal and hard. The difficulty can be changed at any time during play and it will prompt you to do so if it feels you are struggling. This is useful, but can feel faintly patronising.

The difficulty curve is shallow and the game teaches you the basics of what you need to know early in the game. Special moves that you learn can be seen in the pause menu with instructions of how to activate them.

The game teaches you little about crafting in the world, however. You are left to experiment for yourself and work out recipes for potions and making weaponry.

Combat is not particularly difficult, but coming up against the larger foes can be pretty challenging. Levelling up and carrying around a lot of health potions can get you through the harder areas.

Summary

Kingdoms of Amalur is accessible to many people, including the deaf and colour blind, but it does have a large variety of issues. The controls are quite complicated and there are many timing and precision issues. Some of these problems can be avoided, but that means missing out on parts of the game and it seems rather unfair that people should be forced to do so.

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About the Author
Elizabeth Martin
When I'm not busy at work (helping scientists do whatever it is they do), or at college studying sign language, I'm at home playing video games, reading about video games or writing about video games.

People in this conversation

  • Just a word of warning if you're thinking of playing this on the PC, it has some of the worst FOV (field of view) issues of any game, so if you have problems with motion sickness you may not be able to play for more than 10 minutes at a time, rendering the game pretty useless.

    There is a third party mod available, but it isn't compatible with all version of the game. If you have any FOV/motion sickness issues at all I'd recommend avoiding it.

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