RPG fans, take note: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning releases in North America today — a game of particular interest to fans of R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane, who played significant roles in universe creation and art direction, respectively. Of note to sports fans is the fact that this is the first game overseen by avid MMO enthusiast and former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who founded 38 Studios in the latter years of his career.
Early reviews are generally positive, with IGN scoring the game a 9 out of 10. My personal impressions of the demo were somewhat less favorable, but moreso from a stylistic perspective, rather than in terms of game content. Combat generally feels tight and responsive, quests are extensive, and the characters are legitimately fun to play. McFarlane’s influence on monster design is especially noticeable.
However, the game does (understandably) suffer from the odd graphical glitch and framerate drop, and more problematic to me is the art style — the game looks cartoony, and at times feels like playing a better-looking WoW. If you’re a WoW fan, this might not be an issue, but I prefer the look of my single-player RPGs to be detailed and gritty — more Skyrim than WoW, so to speak. With that said, given the pre-release buzz Kingdoms is receiving, my views are likely in the minority. A difference in stylistic opinion isn’t a deal breaker for me, and I still plan to pick up the game when an opportunity avails itself.
The demo is (and has been for a few weeks) widely available for your gaming platform of choice, should you care to try before you buy.