I’m worried about Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Its uninspired attitude toward the RPG genre may be the death of it. You can only go so far with an exaggerated art style like that of Fable and World of Warcraft until the mechanical underlying must become the star of the show. Reckoning lacks the care and artistry that introducing a developed universe requires. It’s too confined, too predictable, and too rough. Immature and lukewarm, Reckoning could have used more attention, more time.
From what the demo could tell me, Reckoning is like the underdeveloped child lost in the grocery store searching the aisles for its mother. It’s constantly looking for a way to convincingly differentiate its lore from everything else. Unless some kind of monumental revelation occurs where the swords aren’t just swords and the magic isn’t just magic in the full game, Reckoning will crumble under its ambition.
Limiting the hero’s combat expression to a single button sounds almost crazy enough to be a brilliant simplicity over complexity approach. In practice, it’s too limiting. It’s the new definition for “button mashing”. The feel of control and tactical strategy disappears for brainless slashing and casting.
Loot, levels, and talent points drive Reckoning’s progression, and I couldn’t be more prematurely bored. I’m not playing an MMO, I’m playing a single-player action game. I want to be catered to, my experience shouldn’t be about watching bars fill.
Only rarely does Reckoning convey artistically interesting objects, everything else looks like a kitchen sink of Fable, World of Warcraft, and League of Legends.
Reckoning worries me because its ambition is aimed in the wrong direction. It feels unnecessary, a means to an end. If you’re trying to acquaint me with an MMO don’t lie to me with a half-baked action game, give me the final, finished product.