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Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

7.0 out of 10

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Well, you had to go and die, didn't you? Thankfully, there's an app for that. It's called the Well of Souls, and it just saved your butt. That's a good thing, because a horrible race of creatures is ravaging the world, and your character—male or female—must stop them. Why? Isn't it obvious? You came back from the dead. You have no fate, Oh Fateless One! You are capable of anything!

So goes the storyline of Reckoning, which just so happens to be penned by famed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore. What does this mean for you? For starters, expect a front-loaded back story explaining every little thing about this new fantasy world you're living in. This gets tedious and downright annoying, especially since the beginning scenes carry a certain level of tension to them. Thankfully, you can skip whatever dialogue you want—you're free to delve as deep into this fantasy world as you want.

One of the things Reckoning has received accolades for so far is its combat, and to be honest the combat does work on a pretty decent level, in a God-of-War sort of way (only clumsier). What does get a little annoying are the “cinema kills,” which don't really have any pizzazz whatsoever because the graphics are so awful. More than once, my “mutilated” enemy (and here I use “mutilated” in a very Nintendo-64-ish sort of way) ended up bouncing around on the ground after he'd been “run through.” Here, “run through” means a sword went through him, cartoonish blood spurted out, and then he disappeared.

OK, so what, you say? So what if the graphics are dated and cartoonish? So what if the story's only mildly decent and incredibly dense? Well, then have at it. You'll be right at home with Reckoning, and you'll relish the combat. You'll get to level up your hero in fun ways and you'll get to mix potions and you'll find lots of cool weapons.

Kind of like Skyrim. If Skyrim was a cartoon on the Cartoon Network. I'm not going to lie: the graphics turned me off. The “OK” dialogue and side-quests knicked the final score. If you can get past these things, or if you're an RPG fan who really wants a good combat system, then you're going to enjoy this game more than I did.

Gnomes are back:
gotta love em!

Confused: your hero's favorite facial expression

Voice acting: above-average, most of the time

Arrows: replenish … like magic!