With a deeper level of adjustments and tuning, Re:Reckoning could have elevated a cult classic to equal many modern action RPG’s. Instead, this remaster plays it safe and doesn’t really change much.
Developer – Kaiko, Big Huge Games
Publisher – THQ Nordic
Platforms – PC, Xbox One, PS4
The original Kingdoms of Amalur was up their with Darksiders as a pleasant surprise. A baseball player’s game studio developing a full blown action RPG spinoff to their unreleased MMO? I was blown away by how much fun Amalur ended up being.
Re-reckoning is a full remaster of the original title. Now, in this age of remakes, remasters and everything in between, we’ve seen various styles and degrees of success. Re-reckoning plants it’s flag firmly in the remaster field.
Now on the surface and official descriptions, it would seem much has changed to the visuals and presentation. In reality, it looks and feels very similar to how it launched years ago.
Kingdoms of Amalur is a massive action RPG. The MMO legacy it was built off is fully apparent in the world and quest design. At times, Amalur feels like it has more question marks than every World of Warcraft clone combined. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of meaningless side quests.
Thankfully the core story of Kingdoms is a fun one to follow, and well worth seeing all the way through. The games scope is still impressive. After a brief tutorial, the game lets you explore and wander off in any one of several directions. Multiple factions, tons of armor, loot and skills make the customization fun.
The games shining star, is the combat system. Kingdoms of Amalur showed you can make a lengthy role playing game and also make a fun action game at the same time. Each weapon has it’s own unique set of attacks, parries and movement options. Even more impressive, as that they all remain fun.
One of the more exciting prospects of this remaster, is the release of a brand new expansion. Unfortunately that won’t arrive until next year, so the game as it is today is the exact same content wise as it was years ago.
This is where the game leaves it’s potential behind. Thankfully the world, art style and combat design was thankfully untouched. That same restraint though, is much less friendly to the rest of the game.
Amalur has great content if you can find it, and an editor should have went in and stripped down the insane amount of filler side quests that muck up the pacing. The entire UI was also untouched, which is a problem because it’s easily the worst part of the original game.
You can easily acquire hundreds of weapons and armor pieces, and the UI can be very cumbersome to navigate in the games late stages.
That’s essentially how I feel about this remaster. On one hand, they thankfully didn’t take a cult classic and ruin it. On the other hand, if they went in and just did something, anything, this could standout as an excellent action RPG even to modern standards.