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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, developed by Big Huge Games, looks to revolutionize the RPG genre. By having Ken Rolston on board, who was the lead designer of Morrowind and Oblivion from The Elder Scrolls series, this goal certainly seems possible.
Launching on Feb. 7 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC, Reckoning’s story and lore is written by noted fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, best known for his Forgotten Realms novels featuring the Dark Elf Drizzt Do'Urden. Rounding out this star-studded ensemble is Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, who worked on the art style. Reckoning’s story is planned to continue in comic books, novels, toys, and future games.
The gameplay is described as a “marriage” of God of War and Oblivion by baseball great Curt Schilling, founder of the game’s publisher 38 Studios. On the God of War side of things, Reckoning is an action-RPG. Combat is performed by timed button combo presses for your weapon, and similar combos for your shield. Quick Time Events are present as well—come close to defeating a boss, for example, and the screen will prompt you for specific button presses to perform a stylistic kill.
Reckoning also resembles the Elder Scrolls series, which is what you would expect from having Rolston as executive designer. Four different races are playable, each with hard-to-pronounce names (just like Morrowind’s impossibly difficult city names). Two elf races, the noble Ljosalfar and manipulative Dokkalfar, are available, along with two human races, the clan-based Varani and imperialistic Almain. In addition to these races, four non-playable cultures exist in the game, each with their own history: gnomes, Winter Faes, Summer Faes, and Tuatha Deohn.
With all these races and cultures comes a large world. Set in the world of Amalur, players can explore five different regions, each with their own look and feel. Big Huge Games promises “hundreds” of quests to be available throughout the world.
Rather than picking a class for your character at the start of the game, you are given a blank slate. This allows you to develop your character on the go. “Destinies,” Reckoning’s answer to classes, promise the ability to craft your character without being hindered by predetermined class attributes. Whether you will be a Rogue, or a Jack of All Trades, all depends on how you play the game. As you can guess, each Destiny has its own unique perks that you couldn’t get with another.
Reckoning’s “dream team” of Rolston, Salvatore, McFarlane, and Schilling is almost reason enough to check it out when it hits. The game promises depth and the ability to truly build the character you’ve always imagined. Keep an eye out on Reckoning when it launches on Feb. 7. It looks to be the first “big” RPG of the year, and with a huge world to explore and interact with, it just might make you forget about your Shout powers and dragons in Skyrim, for the time being at least.