I've played two really good RPGs over the past few months. Late in 2011, I was immersed in Skyrim. Skyrim is an incredible game. It has a great story. It has great mechanics. And the graphics are - in my opinion - the best you will see on a console today. Heck, even the last Elder Scroll game (Oblivion) has better graphics than most games released today. That being said - as much as I think Skyrim is a better game, I think I had a lot more fun playing Kingdoms of Amalur (KoA). In some ways, I'm reminded of Grand Theft Auto versus Saints Row. GTA was an incredibly good looking game with amazing gameplay and artistic direction. It's also a game I never finished. Saints Row - which was certainly not as pretty or dramatic, was just fun, and relatively simple to finish.
While I did finish Skyrim (I've got 110+ hours in it), I found KoA to be a heck of a lot of fun and just a pleasure to finish. The graphics are fine (not great, not bad) and the sound is forgettable. The RPG elements though work real well. Like most modern RPGs you aren't exactly locked into a class and you can even reset all your character decisions during the game. While game play is pretty much divided between stealth (finesse), fighting (might) and magic (sorcery), you can create many different combinations of these to fit your particular style. (I chose might/sorcery.)
One thing the game does very well is providing you with a sense of continuous improvement. I'm not talking about just advancing levels but an overall sense of growth into a kick-ass adventurer. Even though I've finished the main game, I'm planning on getting the DLC just as an excuse so I can see how far my character can progress.
Anyway - if you are looking for a fun RPG and are a bit worried about a Skyrim-level commitment, consider picking up KoA.
p.s. It has been a while since I posted a review. Sorry - going to try to get back into the habit.