The story of Amalur is as sad as it is fascinating: it was the only game developed by 38 Studios, a company founded by former baseball player Curt Schilling, because three months after its release on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, the studio went bankrupt and all its members were fired.
Some time ago, THQ Nordic took over the license (as with so many others) and handed over the development burden of this remastering to the Kaiko studio. Do you want to know the result of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning? Join me on this journey through this review!
What we liked!
- A very interesting story: Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning puts us in the role of a character (created using an editor that, at the time of its release, was already quite limited) who rises from the dead, with no recollection of his past life, to discover who is, right in the center of a conflict between a sinister faction of immortals, known as the Tuatha, and the rest of the kingdoms.
- Many paths, little understanding: The story has interesting parts, especially those related to discovering the past of our character, but it often lost in a tangle of names, each more convoluted than the last. Entering a completely new universe is never easy, especially when it comes to one so large and elaborate, and Kingdoms of Amalur is not at all friendly in that, throwing names of characters, races, regions, and deities at our faces from minute one; without any consideration, to the point that there are times when its difficult to follow the thread of a simple line of dialogue.
- Great versatility with classes: Broadly speaking, we have the three typical ones: warrior, rogue, and magician. We can focus on one, create a double class, or a mix between the three. And of course, all of them give us access to a varied assortment of combat skills, as well as specialization in different types of weapons. Each weapon, by the way, gives us access to different sets of movements, and there is a lot to choose from: swords, daggers, bows, greatswords, hammers, chakrams, Fae swords, scepters … We can equip two at the same time and combine them. And of course, with a very good combat system, it’s a show. And what is more important: infinite options. If we get tired of a magical build, we can reposition all the points in power and expertise to completely change the play style.
- Changes compared to the original: The resolution increase or the textures are higher than the original (not crazy, but the improvement is there). The great technical novelty is the jump to 60fps, something that manages to maintain most of the time. What is the problem, then? The artistic section. That type of armor and greatswords, characters with “cartoon” design and abuse of the bloom effect were fine in 2012 … But today they are out of date.
- An adjusted difficulty: The difficulty, as many may remember, did not offer too many challenges, neither in normal nor in hard mode. In Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, the difficulty has been readjusted, and more importantly: an additional difficulty level (very difficult) has been added with which we guarantee that is really hard.
What we disliked
- A very simple design: The design of the world in Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is very simple, and since we cannot jump or climb, our movement capacity is delimited by the invisible lines of the map, something that in the long run makes exploration quite a monotonous. The visual design doesn’t help either, since the areas are usually quite similar to each other, especially the interiors of houses and caves.
- Loading times: The biggest enemy in Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning are the loading screens, with a duration of between 30 and 40 seconds that go on forever. Hopefully, they can somehow reduce them by updating, because today, the simple idea of accessing a location causes maximum laziness.
With a good remastering work, especially when you consider the limitations of the original game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a great way to discover this universe. But above all, Kingdoms of Amalur returns with its final version and the promise of a new DLC on the way, breathing new life into a game that was doomed to oblivion, is more than enough reason to return to the Kingdoms.