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Reckoning Demo Impressions

Reckoning PC vs. Console Image

Keen's Xbox360 (left) and PC (right) Reckoning setup.

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo released today for all platforms!  In a surprise twist, it’s even available for STEAM.  This is an exciting moment for us.  Reckoning is on my personal list of most anticipated games releasing this year and I’m stoked to see the 38 Studios’ first product.

Is Reckoning as good as expected?  What platform should I get it on?  What are some important details worth knowing?  We hope to answer those questions for you by comparing the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the demo.

Before we get into too much detail, let me just say that both of us enjoyed the demo enough to pre-order.  The world really captured our imaginations and the experience as a whole, all things considered, was positive.  It’s nice playing a western RPG with some color!

Read on for our look at the console and PC versions. [Read more...]

Keen and Graev’s Most Anticipated Games of 2012

We shared with you our favorites and disappointments from 2011, and now it’s time to share what we’re most looking forward to in next year’s lineup! It took some thought to really narrow our options down, but we’ve come up with two solid games.

These games bring with them a level of excitement and anticipation beyond simply releasing as quality titles. That’s why you won’t see Diablo 3 or Mass Effect 3 on our list.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

38 Studios has created an entire new property known as Kingdoms of Amalur, a fantasy universe that will serve as the foundation for future games. Reckoning will be an open-world RPG set within this fantasy world. We’ve been following Reckoning since before it was even announced; that is to say, we’ve been following the massively multiplayer game (currently known by a codename, Copernicus) which will come sometime after Reckoning’s launch.

The setting, culture, lore, and art come from minds like R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane. The company comes from a passionate gamer, Kurt Schilling, who has already proven himself as someone interested in the games at least as much as the business behind them.

Several videos have been released over the months showcasing features and mechanics. We’ve even complimented them on the quality of their trailers.

We’re anticipating the feel of what Fable should have been combined with the scope of a world like Oblivion. The combat looks amazing (see trailer below) and the world’s rich story, quests, and exploration will hopefully provide hours and hours of enjoyment.

Reckoning launches February 7!

 

 

Dominus

Pitch Black Games, a relative newcomer, sprung up and landed right in the middle of our radar this year by announcing the development of Dominus, a Science Fiction MMORPG.

We’ve been following, and will continue to follow, Dominus closely because of the design decisions being made by the developers thus far.  When so many games are going with the ever-popular themepark model, Dominus sets out to provide features long-forgotten — features that proved successful in past games!

Dominus will be a game that combines the ‘feel’ and features of several games we have enjoyed in the past. There are three factions at war — yes, THREE factions!  Players on all three factions will fight over territory, resources, and rewards in an all out melee that reminds us of the great Dark Age of Camelot.

Crafting in Dominus shares many similarities with Star Wars Galaxies. Players will be able to go out and place harvesters, collect resources, and make gear that actually wears out.  Some of these ideas may seem like little details, but they are at the core of why so many games these days feel off the mark.

PBG has been very open with the players, very early in development.  Frequent live developer Q/A’s were held over the last few months where the developers fielded any questions the viewers had about their game.  It’s been an intimate development process reminiscent of the older days, and that’s a big compliment.

It’s unclear when Dominus will launch this year (if at all), but we’ll be waiting.  Did we mention there will be jet packs?!

Newest Reckoning Trailer, Well Done

I was watching my twitter feed a few minutes ago and the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning team (@ReckoningGame) (or whoever tweets for them) linked their followers to a video that was posted only minutes ago.  Normally I don’t just link to these promotional videos without a reason and I see no reason to stray from tradition.  As I watched this video, I was immediately impressed by… well, okay I was impressed by Claudia Black voicing another one of these trailers, but I was really impressed by the style of video.

Their marketing team (or again, whoever is responsible) has really nailed the type of preview an upcoming game like this should provide.  (1) All in-game footage, (2) Highlights what you’ll do while playing, (3) Detailed explanations of features/mechanics, and (4) A quick story explanation.

Their video is succinct, interesting, informative, and exactly how I wish all video game marketing/hype would be done.  Kudos to whomever.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Recknoning’s Trailer and Website

I’m really getting excited about 38 Studios’ RPG.  I was refreshing the official website all morning while it was my turn to watch the new puppy and I refreshed it the exact second the trailer came up and they changed websites.  Yeah, no life.  The trailer did not disappoint me.

It’s only a trailer but it does make two things clear. 1) There’s a story and 2) It’s going to be action packed. It goes along nicely with what they stated their game would be like in the press release two days ago.

The official site is also up with just a sprinkle of information.  The screenshots look great.  The music is also well done.   Maybe the most important thing is that they’ve clarified even more in their FAQ about how Amalur is the setting for Copernicus.  Also pay close attention to the ‘immortality’ part of the story and how it will play into explaining why players in their MMO do not die.  Pretty cool idea.

Keeping it consistent in one universe is EXACTLY what they should be doing.    They’ve accomplished something today and that’s getting me excited about a future title.  Games aren’t exciting me as much as they used to and it’s nice when one finally does.

Now I just have to stomach the fact that we’re a year away from release at the earliest.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning’s announcement today was a nice surprise for me.  I haven’t been following this single-player RPG of theirs at all, aside from the fact that they sold out to EA with the project.  I can’t remember whether or not they actually said this one would be a Fantasy title.  I know that the project codenamed Copernicus will be Fantasy themed though and I guess I always assumed the single-player game would be as well.

Fantasy sits very well with me.  I like the Fantasy theme over Sci-Fi, Post Apoc, Steampunk, — I like it over all of them.  What I like the most is that they’re going with a High Fantasy and not simply a ‘lets make it medieval with swords’ style.  I’m also really into the idea of this being a new property that will be known by a name.  If you say “Warhammer” or “Star Wars” then you immediately know the universe and the style.  If you say “Darkfall” there’s really no story or expected theme that goes along with it.

I’m expecting Amalur to have a solid story, solid characters, and overall to be a memorable IP.

With Morrowind and Oblivion’s designer Ken Rolston heading it up, I’m really hoping that based on the following quote that we’ll have the next evolution in RPGs that aren’t done in the Bioware style.  Oblivion was a good game but the control and experience was a little ‘removed’ for me and hopefully this specific direction will focus the talent at work.

“In Reckoning, we started with Bob and Todd’s exceptional Kingdoms of Amalur game setting and imagery,” said Ken Rolston, Lead Designer at Big Huge Games, a subsidiary of 38 Studios. “On that foundation we built the open-world exploration, vast narrative and character customization fans expect from the best RPGs. And we’ve added something new that we’ve always wanted from the genre — a fast-paced, graphically stimulating action combat experience with fluid control and immersive, discoverable gameplay fans haven’t seen before in other fantasy RPGs.” [Source]

Am I making things up by saying that I remember reading somewhere that the RPG and MMO would be somehow related?  If so, a High fantasy MMO with a new original and memorable IP with solid characters and story is exactly what we need.

There are plenty of Fantasy haters out there who will say that the market is over-saturated with Fantasy titles, but I don’t agree at all.  If anything we’ve seen games being released all over the spectrum and the Sci-Fi or Modern genres have been flourishing as much or more than Fantasy.  Bring on the Fantasy.

Expect my thoughts on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning more this week when the trailer is released on the 22.