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The demo of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning begins by letting you see the death of your character. Luckily, you are the first person ever to be revived in the Well of Souls and thus Kingdoms sets up both a tale of vengeance and gives your character a clean slate. When the Well resurrected you, the weave of fate left you without a destiny which creates a dynamic where the protaginist of Kingdoms is the only one in the world who can carve out their own destiny. This plays a role in the class system as, at regular intervals, you can swap your “fate card” in order to have a certain class such as rogue, warrior, or mage.
The leveling system allows for the choice of points to be put into skills such as lockpicking, blacksmithing, and the like. However the real fun begins when you enter into the three talent trees. These are set up in a familiar way for anyone that has played a game where you pick your skills. It has a distinct feeling of being like a MMO’s. This is not a bad thing, as it allows you to build the three in a manner you want it and still see results, as opposed to hampering your own play style in order to be able to progress without it being painstakingly difficult. Might, Finesse, and Sorcery are the tress you choose from each time you level up and they each have skills associated with that type of playstyle such as increasing sword damage for Might or increasing spell damage for Sorcery.
The combat feels tight and responsive and in many ways feels like a hybrid cross between the combat of Fable and that of Darksiders. Two weapons can be equipped at a time and are bound to different buttons so you have quite a bit of flexibility in the manner that you decide to vanquish foes as well, with a few Quick Time Events thrown in for some over the top action the experience leaves little to be desired. Taking on a sneaking role offers up some intense moves that can be used to sneak about and take down foes from different angles to thin ranks before engaging them head on. The visuals and soundtrack also offer up a bright but desperate world that is rot with chaos and on the breaking point. This leads into the conversation wheel that allows you to choose what you wish to say to many people you come across as opposed to just a ‘this is what you say’ system.
The open area allows players to run around and accomplish side quests, many of which feel like collection and kill quests from an MMO yet again. Kingdoms seems to be shaping up into an epic adventure that will span across the entire world, the leveling options are completely open ended and you have the feeling that the character you are making is actually yours to make, rather than a cookie cutter model. All elements that are set in place have been hammered out nicely and the game looks and plays incredibly smooth. I could speak volumes into the experiences I had while playing, from turning a man back into a wolf to finding a stray goose, naming her Sally and protecting her from what I can only figure is the wolf I had just helped. But this is a game of choices, your choices, so your adventure will not be my adventure, your fate will not be my fate, but in the end that is the point. This is your game, you choose what happens from beginning to end and how your character makes his way through this tale. That alone, aside from all of the other amazing aspects of this, makes Kingdoms a must have for the beginning of the year.