I cannot put the odd familiar sensation I have about KoA into words without sounding like I'm trying to elaborate on the taste sensations I had when I first tried extra firm tofu. Describing extra firm tofu and KoA are hand in hand with me.
See, with tofu being essentially flavourless and resembling a gelatinous mass, regardless of whether its soft, extra soft, firm, or extra firm tofu what remains true about tofu is the odd taste and texture. Tofu is somewhat spongy when its firm and its almost like some kind of yogurt or pudding when its extra soft. The texture is easy to get a grip on you cannot miss it. The flavour on the other hand is a genuine and unique taste experience changes how you prepare it. I find extra firm tofu to be the most dynamic of tofu varieties specifically because you can pan-fry it with bacon - and anything that you can pan fry with bacon is fucking delicious, because it tastes like bacon!
Now I am not a vegan, nor am I a vegetarian. Although I had been a vegan for about a year, while I was a vegetarian for two years (encompassing the time I was vegan), I ate very little tofu. Now that I'm back on the kill wagon and have been for awhile, I've brought tofu into the picture because it just seems so odd. That and I have gotten into making miso soup, which is honestly just hot Asain vitamin water. I only brought up how I make miso because I get to say 'hot Asain'.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, it isn't the first video game to have a reckoning. I could try and make a list of titles but I think the only one that really matters is the reckoning of two colons in one title, which was a playstation 2 game called 'Hunter: The Reckoning: Wayward', which I have only brought up so I can say 'two colons' shortly after saying 'hot Asians'.
Like hot Asians and colons, there is something all too familiar about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The name seems like I know it form somewhere else, even without the reckoning the kingdom seems familiar. The art style and gameplay seem just as familiar. I am sure it has nothing to do with Ken Rolston being on the project as executive designer he was also the lead designer behind Morrowind and Oblivion. Alternatively, perhaps its Todd McFarlane's unique sense of style coming through as a contributing artist to the project. Going on a little more about who is involved in the project, and as an interesting piece of trivia you may or may not already know... 38 Studios was headed by major league baseball pitcher Curt Schilling. Cool right? Going from big league sports and starting a game developer and all because the person is passionate about games, tasteful nod accomplished. Also, R. A. Salvatore is a writer on the project, he's written the 'The Icewind Dale Trilogy', hearing 'Icewind Dale' might make you run straight to Google, wondering how you might know that name. Do it, it is worth a look. In addition Salvatore has done books under the Neverwinter name, Forgotten Realms, and.. well maybe you should look him on Wikipedia here
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning has a lot going into it. A great deal of talent on all angles - and here is where I ceaselessly rip it all down and debase it by comparing it to other titles previous released. It feels like a messed up Fable game. To me, it's like a messed up Fable game with some kick ass kill animations. I like it, but it strikes me the same way Gotham City Imposters does, which is a title that is only going as far as it is to fill a space in the market. GCI and KoA are shelf filling titles that will sell O.K. and I think that's really all the developers behind them are aiming for. I'm not saying that as though I'm imagining artists drudging to work, sitting at their desks and going, "I'm going to make something O.K. today.". An string of O.K. selling games can really make a name for a studio, just look at Double Fine. Who doesn't like the stuff that Tim Shaffer's team turns out, but as a contrast here - Double Fine's games have all been intensely creative and ambitious. While I find KoA rather is not.
Todd's role as a contributing artist really hasn't seem to do much for the overall art style of the game, which strikes me altogether as like - if Banjo Kazooie and World of Warcraft had children. It's nice seeing Fae being mentioned in a game, as not too many people realize fantasy fiction is in a lot of ways 'Fae Fiction', which pertains to any world of the fantastic, that name coming from literature of the fantastic or Fairy Tales, which are explored very well in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales.
KoA's gameplay is missing something functional, like a jump button. Jumping in KoA is directed, which means you can only jump in places that have been directed for you to do so. Which means any overhanging structures, banisters, and stairs, all need to be walked down or around which just feels like a planted time sink. Even in the demo having to walk around seems only to have players walk around. With nothing to break or loot, no enemies, there is essentially nothing along the way. It is as if the designers were thinking, "And here is where we're going to make the player go for a three minute walk around this corner." only to reach a point that you saw earlier and should have been able to get to in moments and not minutes. It is filler, is it tasteful filler? I would say not really. Especially with the art-style resembling W.o.W. so much. Anyone who says it does not remind them of an N64 Rare title or W.o.W., probably wasn't around for the heydays of Rareware. If you were not, sorry can't empathize you missed out of some magic because a big sell out. (See what I did there?)
KoA has a lot going for it in that it is going for a piece of the market that is well established and could always use a fresh internal project, from a fresh company. Unfortunately, considering the material they would really have to buff out a super-mega-deluxe edition to get me interested in the title at launch. I think the demo paints a very clear picture as to what to expect at launch and from the title, as a whole and I don't believe there are going to be too many surprises. It is not shit by any means, or just some crap. It is good, if the demo is anything like the full game is, it is going to be good and I think RPG fans will have a good time with it. Just good that is all; do not expect anything great or breathtaking. It's a game that is sticking to convention and already established parameters of making a long lasting first play through. If you liked or like any of the Fable games, you might like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning too as I find the games are very similar.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, is going to be one of those titles that ages. As more games like it come out and the graphics age it'll be hard to go back and play it like it isn't some cool playstation 2 game that you once picked up and had some fun with. That's O.K. though, because with this title being 'Good' and everything, it'll have a sequel which will probably be a more ambitious project and just might surprise you.
If you are out to support new studios and their work, purchase a copy of Kingdoms of Amalur. If you like action RPGs, get a copy of Kingdoms of Amalur. If you liked Fable or even Guild Wars (wut), get a copy of Kingdoms of Amalur. If you are looking to get a game between February and March of 2012, get a copy of Kingdoms of Amalur.
I like it. However, I also like firm tofu.
So maybe you should ask yourself something about tofu.
Do you like tofu?