Saturday, February 25, 2012

Kingdoms of Amalur

So here I am playing a game I was seriously on the rocks about. Kingdoms of Amalur. Why was I so iffy about this? Cause it looked a lot like Fable...and I hate Fable with the fire of a thousand burning suns.
Why do I hate Fable so much? Cause its squandered potential. The games should have been good...but gameplay was bland, combat amounted to "get overpowered spell 1" "spam overpowered spell 1" "win game" Story was blah. Character interactions were horrible. (...Fart? Really? Why is this a valid character interaction when your game isn't a comedy?) I could go on all day.

So then why do I love Kingdoms of Amalur so much? Because this is what Fable would be like, if it didn't suck.

Combat for starters is genuinely fun, and I love all the options it has. Want a spellcaster that can sneak attack people? Go for it. Thief that sneaks up on a group, backstabs one, and proceeds to beat the allies with a warhammer? Got that, too. Find out you don't like a build and wish you didn't do it? You can find the right npc and just reset the appropriate skills and start over.

The story thus far is interesting as well. Nothing terribly fancy, but it works, and I'm enjoying it. NPCs have plenty to say, and the world is very well detailed...which is only to be expected, given who wrote it. There's also a TON to do aside from the main story...oodles and oodles of side quests if you decide, you simply don't wanna advance the main story.
Which brings up how you go about some of those quests. The game also has quite a nice level of detail to them, as well. NPC gives you a quest which will result in you getting a key you need to proceed further? You can, say...kill him and steal the key. Bribe him. Do the quest. Or, if you stole the key from him before you ever got the quest in the first place...all of a sudden, the whole quest line changes a bit to reflect that.

One other thing I find myself enjoying is the game doesn't have a tacked on morality system. Wanna be an evil mofo and kill a town just for kicks? You can do that. Goody two shoes, saving kittens from trees, and the like? Yep, got that, too.
But if on the other hand you wanted to play someone who just got done murdering all the women and children of a city, only to go into the countryside and decide to save the village of Snugglemore from a pack of angry bunnies, because you're just suddenly feeling nice...you can do that, too, without some morality system telling you "Sorry, you're a murderer, you can't do nice things."

Of course, it's not all goodness, the game is not without its flaws. One of the big ones being the expressiveness of NPCs, and most notably, your character. NPCs have some expressions...but as a whole, just look kind of uninterested in what they're saying. Your main character of course seems to have no facial expressions at all beyond indifference. I have not yet, gotten into a conversation with an NPC and had my character actually look like he gives a damn about whats being said...even when whats being said is really interesting or important.
The audio can be a lil wonky too during these conversations. For instance, early in the game you come across a fae who'd been beaten, and while talking to the guard, the ENTIRE conversation you hear her moaning in pain...loudly....which is a mite distracting.

The graphics too to some people may be a lil cartoony. I see nothing wrong with it myself, and really, anyone who's ever played a Warcraft game...be it WoW, or the original strategy games (Remember when Warcraft was a fun strategy game?) has seen its like before. It does feel like an odd design choice though.

I could ramble more, but I think this is enough for now. All in all, the games fantastic, and I very highly recommend it.

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