It’s difficult for me to give Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning a fair shake right now. I’ve spent over 100 hours of the last 30 days running around the nearly unrestricted world of Skyrim, and it’s hard to transition from that kind of freedom and visual experience to the more visually Fablesque and linear style of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning without missing it. I loved Fable, I adored Fable II, and I liked Fable III, so it’s not that I dislike the visual style, world design, or gameplay of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning…it’s kind of like a “How can I follow that!?” feeling when being asked to perform after something legendary. That being said, playing the demo was very interesting. I did miss the depth of Skyrim, which I was playing immediately before trying the demo for Reckoning, but you know…Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning isn’t trying to be Skyrim, and making a comparison to Skyrim, while it will unfortunately occur, is unfair.
Kingdoms of Amalur has a long list of strengths, topped by three names: Ken Rolston, R.A. Salvatore, and Todd McFarlane.
Ken Rolston is the Executive Designer for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Why does that matter? Oh, no reason. At least, no reason other than the fact that he was the lead designer for two entries in the Elder Scrolls series: Morrowind and Oblivion. Now, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning isn’t really anything like either of those titles, but they stand as a testament to the skill and talent of the individual working as the executive designer for this new title.
R.A. Salvatore, for those of you who don’t follow high fantasy literature, is a very prolific and, for the most part, very well respected author. While he has various titles and franchises to his credit, he is most well known for his Drow character, Drizzt Do’Urden. He has built a very large library of titles, and has now turned his considerable talents towards creating the game’s universe and background lore in an editorial capacity.
Todd McFarlane is contributing to the artwork of the game. Todd McFarlane rose to fame from his work on Spider-Man, followed by the success of his own character, Spawn. He has artistic talent and has contributed art and design to various video games in the past. As Art Director of 38 Studios, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is in good hands.
So there you go. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning may have been better served by a delayed release to give it some distance from the juggernaut of Skyrim, but it sits in the hands of incredible talents. These talents are responsible for creating the universe, the history, the art, and the gameplay of a game that seems to have a lot of potential. Let’s hope it can live up to it.