Sunday Review: Kingdoms of Amalur

This post is more than 2 years old.

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.

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About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Nick posted on 4/30/2012 at 11:48 PM

Question: Did you chose Might/Sorcery over Finesse because the gameplay was more fitting with that style? I've found in Skyrim that playing a near-silent Bow Weilding Super Assassin is the way to go. Avoiding all direct fighting etc.


Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 4/30/2012 at 11:55 PM

I think I chose that style because it worked so well in Skyrim. I use magic to soften them up and for small heals, and then just swing like crazy.

One thing I didn't like is that you could only have 4 abilities mapped at once. At the level I'm at now I've got a few abilities I can't use just because you are limited to 4 slots.

Comment 3 by David Ostrander posted on 5/1/2012 at 7:07 PM

I'm with you Ray, Kingdoms of Amalur is one of my new favorite things. The Legend of Dead Kel, downloadable content, was probably the most fun I've had in an RPG in the last decade.

The developers didn't stop developing at the end of the story arch either. They have a ton of post-victory quests that kept me coming back for more.

As for play style, I really like the dodge aspect of combat. I started off with martial and ended up going all finesse. The sneak attack/back-stab slow-motion movies are so much fun.

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 5/1/2012 at 7:21 PM

David - good point on the combat. I didn't talk that up enough. I like how - even though I'm an incredible bad ass - I can still be overwhelmed. It's both frustrating and cool at the same time. I'll have some creature quickly attack, knock me back, and make me mad as hell. :)