Posted tagged ‘kingdoms of amalur’

The Kingdoms of Amalur Wrap-Up

July 30, 2018

The last screenshot!

After six or eight or whatever (I can’t remember when I started) months and apparently 304 hours including AFK time, I decided that I’d gotten my full of Kingdoms of Amalur and clicked Exit Game for the last time. As the screenshot betrays, it was actually about a month ago, but some recent, happy changes in my life have me locked in one of two states: 1) at work 2) unconscious (I know it doesn’t sound happy, but I swear it is!), neither very conducive to game write ups.

I played through the whole storyline, did all the non-bugged quests I could find and completed both DLCs. I did Legend of Dead Kel before finishing the story and Teeth of Naros after. Apparently, I accomplished 82% of the achievements – I think most of the ones I didn’t do were the lawbreaking ones…I’m way too goodie-goodie for games with a crime system. According to the global stats page, 11.9% of players beat the game. Which is actually pretty good given that only 87.4% finish the intro and the game is LONG.

About the DLCs

If you’re reading this and are considering playing, I recommend not spoiling the DLCs for yourself. I had a blast playing through them but most of the fun came from having no idea what to expect and being constantly surprised, asking myself “what will they think of next?”. I bet the devs had a grand time designing the add-on content. The tone in both of them is definitely more…out there… than the regular game.

I’ll spoil this: Naros, where the best views are from the sewers.

Storywise the DLCs take place before the ending but tonewise, they feel better after the SRS BZNS of the war is taken care.

I was sad at the end

The main story kind of takes a backseat to you kind of, um, walking around and looking at stuff. Since I was adamant to do ALL THE QUESTS, toward the end (or more accurately, toward 2/3s in), I was itching for something to happen. I mean, there’s only so many ways to keep “help this village” fresh.

The story does climax and resolve nicely. I wasn’t overly invested since 98% of my time was spent killing spiders and breaking curses for villagers (you know how it is) so it would have taken something seriously awful to disappoint, but still. The game fed me line by the line the information I’d been digging for over the last 250 hours and while it doesn’t give up everything (I think at this point, the writers were still hopeful for a sequel), there was enough to quench my thirst. And as the ending bit played, I was surprised at the pang of sadness kicking me in the chest.

Was very impressed by the voice acting of Abby Craden as Alyn Shir, and really, the character of Alyn Shir as a whole. No fashion or practical sense whatsoever, but otherwise a character that I got quite attached too. Would have probably been way less sad if the game didn’t make her go foreshadow the Sequel That Will Never Be. (Was that a spoiler? Sorry if that was a spoiler.)

What’s up with all these gear sets?

Yes, that’s my ending thought on the game. Probably remnants from when the game was supposed to be an MMO, there are SO many gear sets. But by the time you get around to collecting enough pieces to wear, the gear is completely useless. (In fact, most of the pre-made gear is so inferior to what you make via blacksmithing that even early on, almost all the loot you find does nothing but take up room in your very limited storage box.)

Amalur gear – pretty but useless. Good for making collages that take way, like waaaay too long.

Overall, Amalur was a fun time. I don’t think I’ll be revisiting it soon (replayability is ehhhhh but YMMV!) but I’m glad to have explored all the zones, talked to all the farmers and kicked out evil invaders for a good 300 hours. It’s a shame the journey ends here. The game’s weaknesses mainly come from how we get a single player RPG in an MMO-intended infrastructure. A sequel with the right aim: to be a single player RPG in a single player RPG environment- would have the potential of creating that elusive exquisite gaming experience that I’m always looking for. It seems, however, that I need to keep looking.

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Into the Steam Backlog: Kingdoms of Amalur

February 3, 2018

I’m working reeeeallly hard to tear myself away from Kingdoms of Amalur long enough to stretch my out-of-shape writing muscles.

(Technically Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning but the “:” is highly unnecessary given the franchise’s tragic standalone game fate. Then again, abbreviating to KOA:R prevents all sorts of confusion with campground chains.)

As if I wasn’t already struggling to write about games these days – I have no regrets walking away from social gaming but single player adventures are way less exciting to share – KOA (:R) is huge, has just the right amount of grinding (sweet spot juuuust between “not enough” and “what’s the point?” and is so ridiculously and unexpectedly fun that I find myself thinking “I could dust off the blog… OR! I could do ONE MORE QUEST!”

Kingdoms of Amalur: It’s not cutting edge, but it’s pretty.

For background info, it’s the usual story of I bought the game during a Steam sale. Black Friday I think. I can’t remember what I paid, but it was a good deal. Especially since, unlike most Steam purchases, I’m actually playing the game and staying focussed requires no effort on my part.

I had heard of it before. It made headlines a few years back, though it was less for its contribution to the industry and more for the unfortunate bankruptcy it inflicted on its creators. Flashback to the era of gaming companies racing to birth the “WoW killer” (which I always thought was stupid, but then again, for all my decade of serious WoW playing, I despise other people in my games and don’t care for MMOs so I’m kinda biased. I suppose it’s better than today’s trend of thinly veiled micro-transaction storefronts masquerading as games.) 38 Studios jumped into the race, ran out of money, wrapped up their MMO as a single player game, defaulted on their loan payment and crashed out of existence. The game got decent reviews but didn’t sell well, and when you play it you completely understand.

My memory circa 2012, the year it was released, is a little foggy but I feel like this is a game that plays better now as nostalgia fodder than it did as a new release.

It was came out early that year, a few months after giants Skyrim and SW:TOR and a few months before equally giant Mass Effect 3. There were other big games around the time, but those are the three I’ve played and they target a pretty similar demographic to KOA. And, poor KOA, didn’t perfect exploration and open world the way Skyrim had, the writing wasn’t as solid as SW:TOR and, well, you can’t really compete with the final installment of a beloved series in any circumstance, but compared to Mass Effect 3, the story is shallow and the graphics are shit.

So KOA is hardly the only game to do this, but it drives me absolutely bonkers. Dark to be edgy? Trashy but forgivable. So dark you can’t see anything? WHYYYYYYYY! And this is with brightness turned all the way up.

But played as an “old game” nowadays, it scratches the classic RPG itch I didn’t know I had. I’m constantly reminded of my first love (or at least one of my first loves) Might and Magic VI, but with smoother combat, better inventory management (not perfect by any means, I NEVER SAID PERFECT, but better), good voice acting (I hear Cullen’s voice everywhere, I can’t complain!), decent writing, less weird story. You can forgive the shitty graphics because old game! You can live with the bugs because, hey, unlike my other vintages games, it doesn’t crash every 15 minutes. The game-play is brilliantly flexible, one of my favorites ever. Possibly my favorite ever. I started off thinking I’d play a mage, then I ended up in warrior style and eventually settled as an uncommitted stabby, creepy rogue. I swap my weapons around by rolling my mouse wheel and I use all 12 of my thumb buttons. I don’t know if I’d want this in a modern game but in an “old game” the freedom is the best! And all the skills, talents trees, stats, collectibles! I feel like the game was designed by people who genuinely love old style RPGs yet totally respect modern gamers’ attention spans.

Oh, and there’s none of that dated D&D style rolling based combat. I know there’s still a market for that (they come out of the shadows when they overhear me complaining about I never finished SWOTOR 2 because I hated the combat so much – also Redbeard at Parallel Context even wrote a guide to it a few days ago in the Baldur’s Gate context – worth checking out if, like me, that style of play doesn’t come naturally) but, me, I sing high praise at whatever gives me that old RPG feel without that detested randomness.

Unlike some recent releases which may or may not have been flops for their creators (*cough* MEA *cough* Destiny 2 *cough*) you can totally tell where the money went. The scale of the game is HUGE. I don’t know if it’s Skyrim huge (it’s been awhile since I’ve played Skyrim) but I think the size is comparable. Yet each of the hundreds of NPCs has a story, a personality and a quality voice actor. The Amalur lore is interesting, Dragon Age Thedas interesting (clarification: the lore, not the story itself!). I hadn’t even made it out of the first zone and my mind was blown by how much TLC was poored into sweet Kingdoms of Amalur. The investment was probably misplaced: I think depth over sprawl could have secured Kingdoms of Amalur legendary game status and thinking about it makes me sad.

There you have it though, Kingdoms of Amalur (:Reckoning): a sad casualty of the WoW killer race, but still worth a few 100 hours of playtime. Would recommend. Am going back to playing.

Isn’t my character just adorable in her tribute to Mass Effect armour?