Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning starts with your character’s death. How exactly you fell is unknown, as you wake up without any memories of your past life. As the first success of a new resurrection technology meant to help turn the tide in a decade-long war against the evil fae of the Winter Court, you’re reborn outside the weave of fate that has predetermined the destinies of every other mortal. Your path is yours to choose, but it should probably involve doing tons of quests and covering yourself in the best gear.
The amnesiac hero is a well-worn trope, and just a sign of the overall lack of originality in Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning. R.A. Salvatore, the New York Times-bestselling author of the Forgotten Realms novels, created the rich game universe and lore, but your journey through it doesn’t offer many surprises. The Western RPG is the brainchild of Morrowind and Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston, and it borrows many elements from those games, including similar gathering, crafting, and lock-picking systems.
Rather than choosing a class, you can freely take skills from the warrior, mage, and rogue trees. While you can devote all your focus to one path, dabbling is just as effective. Bringing some MMO sensibilities to the genre, Reckoning lets you pay gold to reset your skills if you want a change of pace.
You can freely pause to change weapons in combat, so you can start a fight by entering the elegantly executed stealth mode to sneak up to an unsuspecting foe and eviscerate him with your daggers, then whip out a giant hammer to deal with his friends. If they keep dodging your mêlée attacks, you can start unleashing spells. The variety makes combat entertaining, though rarely challenging. When pressed, you can use your connection to fate to turn a tricky fight into a cakewalk: As you defeat foes, you collect fate, which can be used to activate a special mode where you can slow down time to beat up your enemies, then kill them all at once with a lovely animation and a significant XP bonus.
The brightly colored world of the Faelands is full of dangers and people who need your help, and there’s an enormous amount of content taking you through quest hubs around the map. There’s nothing groundbreaking about Reckoning, but fans of The Elder Scrolls will still find a lot to love.