Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning- Lacks own identity

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning- Lacks own identity

You often hear stories about how Hollywood executives decide which movies they’re going to fund based on the new project’s similarity to more successful films. For instance, you’ve got Inception, a movie where thieves venture into dreams to steal ideas; then you get Sucker Punch, a movie where scantily clad women venture into dreams to fight monsters.
The people fronting the cash want to make a profit, so they bet on –what must seem like to them– a sure thing. But you lose some of the artistry when you’re just trying to be derivative; just look at James Cameron’s Avatar.
This brings us to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a game with no personal identity or originality. It doesn’t seem like they set out to intentionally rip anyone off, but many aspects of Amalur are damningly similar to other, more popular games.
Leading up to its’ release, the web was blanketed with advertisements for Amalur, advertisements which were particularly proud that R.A. Salvatore was the game’s head writer. Salvatore is a popular fantasy author, so he should be right at home writing about elves, and gnomes, and magic, right?
The story is opaque at best; it’s not bad, it’s just rote. Fate dictates the course of every living being in the land of Amalur. From the moment a person is born, until the day they die, they walk a path from which there can be no deviation.
None may escape their fate… except for you, amnesiac, stalwart hero!
You wander the world from town to town, forest to forest, dungeon to dungeon, righting wrongs and changing the fate of everyone you meet. There’s mention of a big Sauron-esque bad guy, cackling maniacally and wringing his hands near the beginning of the game, but you forget about him pretty quickly after you’re sent on your millionth side quest which involves the murder of bandits or giant spiders.
Here’s where the derivative nature of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning starts to fester and spread. Does any of this sound familiar to you: played from a third person perspective, you wander into villages where citizens in need of assistance have little golden exclamation points above their head, and when you complete their task, they give you money or an item of power?
If you said, “It sounds like a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG,)” you win!
Amalur is strikingly similar to famed MMORPG World of Warcraft, to the point one has to wonder whether it was originally supposed to be an online game. There are a lot of possibilities you can attribute to why this didn’t come to pass, but regardless, Kingdoms of Amalur actually ended up feeling like Skyrim for kids.
Enormous world to explore? Check. A number of factions you can join, and for whom you can complete missions? Yep. A world ending prophecy, which only you can circumvent? You bet’cha!
The only difference is the combat, in which Skyrim takes place in the first person perspective. Instead, Amalur’s “hack and slash, dodge, and follow up with a ranged weapon or magic,” skirmishes are more reminiscent of Fable’s, “hack and slash, dodge, and follow up with a ranged weapon or magic,” encounters.
Except in Fable, you have an awesome dog who will find you treasure. Oh Amalur, you really can’t win, can you?
Another thing Amalur shockingly borrows from Fable is it’s cartoony art style. Why is it shocking? Because the lead art designer is Todd “Spawn” McFarlane! This is a comic book filled with men who have bulging muscles with veins popping out, demons with ichor and blood pouring out of their fanged maws, and and a hilariously liberal use of violence and gore.
Amalur looks like a romp through Winnie the Pooh’s hundred acre woods!
What happened Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning? Where did it all go wrong? And what’s with the “reckoning” part of your title? Was it because all the other big boy games have a subtitle too? Come on, everyone else on the playground won’t want to be your friend because you act like the cool kids; you have to be original, you have to be bold.
You have to be you.