It’s the year 2012 and you’ve just bought the open world action RPG game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for your Xbox 360, PC or Playstation 3. You thoroughly enjoy it but then only months later the studio goes bankrupt, it’s revealed that there won’t be a sequel and you’re left wondering what could’ve been. Fast forward to the year 2020, widely acknowledged to be the year from hell, and you read some amazing news. The team at THQ Nordic are rereleasing the game on the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. You’re devastated that the Nintendo Switch is missing out but swallow your sadness because at least you’ll be able to enjoy Amalur again. Finally, on January 19th, 2021, you hear the news: it’s coming to the switch - and now it’s finally here!

Gameplay

This is probably where the remaster of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning varies the most from its original release back in 2012. It is, at its most basic, a typical action-RPG with combat that is more akin to a 3D brawler. This can be a double-edged sword though as it is more forgiving to newcomers and yet, it lacks the complexities of other open world RPGs that are available on the Nintendo Switch (e.g. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, etc.). The game itself runs at a consistent 30 frames per second and during my time with it, I didn’t notice any dips which is a credit to Re-Reckoning.

Holy side quests, Batman! My oh my are there lots of side quests. In total, there are apparently 200 side quests in Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. You could pick up a Boggart in the game and throw it and it’d probably hit someone who has a quest they want you to complete. It sometimes feels a little overwhelming when you’re first starting out because there are quests left, right and centre. Don’t worry about them though; as you move through the world, you will naturally come across quest markers - my best advice is to accept them all and just go on your merry way.

Also, a side note, as an added bonus for those who played the original but didn’t buy the DLC, Re-Reckoning comes with the DLC included (huzzah!).

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Story / Personality

I have little to say about the story since it’s the same as Reckoning. It’s just as good as I can remember; yes, the dialogue is a little clunky, but what 2012 game had flawless dialogue (okay I know there were a few but come on)? Erik J. Caponi and R.A Salvatore wrote a story with epic proportions that was able to be consumed in less than 30 hours. Obviously if you wanted to play all the extras and the DLC, it would take a lot longer but even if you didn’t, you’re still able to delve into a world rich with lore. It does however feel more like a fairytale fantasy rather than a medieval fantasy like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; this however is fuelled more so by the graphics and art rather than the story.

Graphics / Art Direction

In 2012, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning wasn’t the best looking game of it’s generation. It was, however, still gorgeous for its time. The graphical department did an excellent job of creating some beautiful contrasting colour combinations to make the scenery pop. The remaster however still maintains the “brown level” colour aesthetic from the PS3/Xbox 360 era. Everything is just a little bit sharper and less fuzzy which is an improvement on the 2012 version, but I would be remiss not to mention the poor draw distance. With grass popping out just a few second job in front of you, a remaster in 2021 without attempting to clean this up just feels like lazy work. It’s a shame considering how making the game just that little bit sharper brings all the areas that could’ve been worked on into greater focus.

There was a moment when playing the game mid fight when I dodged and moved the camera to a point that broke the ground's assets. Once I noticed this, it was hard to unnotice it as there were a few other moments where the camera would roll off the face off Amalur (Kingdoms of Amalur map joke anyone?). This immediately broke the immersion of the game as I went from paying attention in each fight to trying to make sure I didn’t break the camera again.

Music / Sound Design

The music section is best started off with two words: Grant Kirkhope. The mastermind behind the music for some of Rareware’s most beloved games created the score for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Replaying the game, I fell in love with the music all over again. It sounds like something that has been taken straight out of a fairytale film with each area’s music beautifully written. However, the downside to having such memorable music is that it’s easy to tell when it becomes repetitive, and it really does. With a game as big as Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, you spend a lot of time running, which is common in open world RPGs. This means that you spend a lot of time listening to the music and the repetitive nature makes the journey feel even longer after a while, which is less than desirable for such a big game.

Something that I’ve always loved about big open world RPGs is the fact that most of the characters have voice actors. But in Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, I remembered something; some voice actors undertake their roles with so much enthusiasm that it almost seems comical. It doesn’t help that the accents feel forced. As an Australian, I’m used to hearing actors force accents (if you need proof of this, I recommend watching Simone in The Good Place or listen to Dag from Bravely Default II). The over the top accents makes the game a less immersive experience, which is a shame. This is not the first game to do this, nor will it be the last, but I almost wish the voice acting had been redone for Re-Reckoning to make the experience even better, much like the newly released Director’s Cut for Sea of Solitude. Obviously though Re-Reckoning is a much bigger undertaking so it’s completely understandable as to why this wasn’t the case.

Final Score: 75%

Nostalgia aside, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, at its core, is an enjoyable open world RPG. Unfortunately since its original release, we’ve seen the market flooded with beautiful games similar to it, which brings attention to the areas where the game is lacking. Yes, if you played it in 2012, it is excellent for nostalgia purposes but compared to games such as Breath of the Wild which has been available on the Switch since the system’s launch, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning feels as though it could get lost among the sea of open world RPGs. Completing the main quest can take just under 30 hours depending on how efficient you are, so this is a game that would appeal to those who enjoy the genre or who want an easy to pick up and enjoy RPG that doesn’t demand a commitment of 50+ hours.

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