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January 31 2012
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
9/2/2012EA GamesEA Games38 Studios
Big Huge Games
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
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Battling a Bolgan in Kindoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
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The games hero in Rathir.

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Battles in this game are fast and fluid.
Electronic Arts has been talking up the somewhat strangely titled Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for some time now, and it's clear to see why. Even on paper the thought of a game being executive designed by Ken Rolston (who was lead designer on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), having the games universe and lore written by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane contributing to the games visuals. So what's the storyline in this open- world RPG then?

Actually we can't help you too much here with the storyline. What we can tell you is that this is a large open-world RPG in which you are the first being to ever be resurrected after dying. Along your travels you will unravel the mystery of your life, while aiding people in hundreds of quests.

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Having a look at the Well of Souls.
As 28 Studios founder Curt Schilling has stated Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's gameplay is like a cross between God of War and Oblivion and now having played the game for a couple of hours we can't disagree with quick, fluid action gameplay as well as plenty of RPG styled conversations, equipment and leveling-up. Even upon starting up the game you will be able to select your race, and then customise your characters looks and abilities. Once in-game battles take place in real-time with the timing of attacks and blocks critical to success while the game also throws in the occasional QTE (Quick Time Event) to keep you on your toes.

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Kingdoms of Amalur is out in Feb 2012.
Visually this game is quite impressive indeed. Admittedly some of the NPC's we've interacted with in the demo weren't the most detailed characters we've ever seen, but the range of character appearances is impressive including the customisation of your main character with new items and clothing. More impressive though are the slick visuals which impress with a (from what we've played at least) with a solid frame rate and wonderful variety of locations to explore with hundreds, if not thousands, of NPC's littering the game world - but with whom you can interact. While each of the NPC's is voiced and conversations are held with a similar dialogue wheel as in Mass Effect unlike Bioware's title the main character in Kingdoms of Amalur is not voiced (or at least not in the demo at least).

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The games hero in Rathir.
In what could be seen as a somewhat disturbing and disappointing move, despite the fact that this is a single player game Electronic Arts have included an online pass code which must be entered in order to "unlock" seven faction quests in the RPG called the “House of Valor”. While this is only a small percentage of the game it means if gamers purchase this game second hand they will need to "purchase" an unlock code online to access these quests. It's clear that these online passes are no longer to financially support online games and services, but simply for the developers to reap some cash from secondhand sales. It's not something we disagree with either, just something that gamers need to be aware of.

Until I played the demo recently (which is available on the PlayStation Store now and gives you over an hour of decent game time) I was a little skeptical about the quality of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and whether developers 38 Studios (a new company) and Big Huge Games (most notable for the RTS series Rise of Nations) could really pull it off. After our play through though we're almost certainly convinced that this will be a fantastic title when it hits shelves in a couple of weeks.