Preview: Reckoning lets you decide your own fate

June 27, 2011

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a big game. This is by design; 38 Studios chief Curt Schilling brought in who he could, picking up developer Big Huge Games to realize a world created by R.A. Salvatore and envisioned by Todd McFarlane. The game’s set in a fantasy world, and it features many gameplay aspects you’ve seen in games like Dragon Age, Fable and Oblivion, but it has its own feel. The focus is making not just a large, sweeping world, but a large, sweeping game to inhabit it.

Your character is the only one in the world without a set fate, and the game progresses with your choices determining your destiny. How you spend your time and advance your character in the Might, Finesse and Sorcery skill trees will unlock these “destiny” classes that feature bonuses for those things you’ve specialized in.

There are six playable factions in the game, and each has its own settings and goals. In our demo, we got to see a Warsworn character, and that class is focused on an order of warrior people taking on vicious monsters. This is more of an action-oriented faction, and it was a good showcase of the fast-play features of the game. While there are certainly NPCs talking too much, Big Huge has highlighted the just-click-through-the-options choices for those who just want to slash things. Loot is very similar, as there are streamlined elements there. The combat also seems inspired by games like God of War, with more lively attacks and movement. Still, though, you can ask tangential questions, craft your own items and sift through various things if you so choose.

“While it has that flash and that feel of an action game, it’s still got that hardcore RPG backbone,” said Reckoning creative director Mark Nelson. “Your success isn’t predicated on how fast you can press buttons.”

There are deep job systems, from picking flowers to blacksmithing to straight-up stealing. If you could make money doing something in a fantasy world, it could be here. It’s a very wide-open structure.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is set for a 2012 release on PS3, 360 and PC.