Initial Reckoning Impressions

I am head over heels for Reckoning!   I enjoyed the demo, which you can read all about, but I have to let people know that the retail version feels even better.  The controls are more responsive, the framerate is higher, and many sounds have been improved.

I’m playing the PC version via STEAM with an Xbox 360 controller.  I have no issues to report with performance.

Keen the Dokkalfar Mage

I made a Dokkalfar that I am playing as a pure Mage.  What I already love about my character is how awesome his combat feels.  I’m a Mage, but I’m busting out all these staff spins with fire attacks and throwing my chakrams around like Xena (eeeee lalalalala!).  Combat is so fluid!  Not only can I do all those attacks, I can chain them into combos that flow seamlessly together.

My magic abilities are very strong.  I’ve specialized into max lightning stuff with points into reducing mana costs and upgrading arcane weapon attacks.  I feel unstoppable!

Chakrams! Eeeee alalalalalal

Monsters in Reckoning look great.  I haven’t come across a single dull looking mob.  Even the bears have a look about them.  The brownies might be my favorite so far.

I’ve worked my way through several mini dungeons, plenty of forest, many quests, found epic items, and stumbled upon some amazing sights.  Amalur is beautiful.  The combat feels slick, but I think the world is what really has me in a trance.  I like to walk around zooming into the view that lets me look around.  I look up, down, zoom in on textures, and simply admire my surroundings.  At least 30 minutes have been spent just drooling at a beautiful world.

Another great thing about Reckoning is replayability.  I’m avoiding evil choices and trying to play how I envision a Dokkalfar mage would play.  I’m already certain I can go back and play a second time and enjoy the game from a different perspective.   There are also a lot of side quests that I have essentially followed to the point of completely ignoring the main story line.  I might be able to ignore some of the side quests and focus on them during a second play-through.  I’ll have to investigate that more.

 

I only have a few complaints with the game so far.

  • Why can’t I be one of those awesome Gnomes?!
  • Can’t jump
  • Sometimes camera angles are wonky

I hate bringing everything back to MMORPG’s, but Reckoning -is- acting as an introduction to a property that will become a MMORPG in the future (Copernicus).  My friends might be sick of me saying “Why can’t MMORPG’s play like this?!” on Ventrilo.  The sad reality is, RPGs are eclipsing MMOs for me.  MMOs just aren’t giving me the levels of “WOAH! AWESOME! FUN!” that I can find in RPGs.  38 Studios may be the ones to save MMOs for me if they can deliver a MMO on par with Reckoning.

Reckoning is a winner; that’s a conclusion I can draw with only five hours played.  Like I tweeted within the first hour of play, Reckoning is the most fun I’ve had gaming in months.

  • I too haven’t had this much fun with a game in ages. I just love how fluid and enjoyable the combat is, how colorful and varied the world itself is, and the sheer openness of the game. I’ve been getting so distracted on side-quests and little tasks, even just spending twenty minutes doing crafting to make neat new items. I’m completely in love with this game – it made me completely forget Jak and Daxter HD came out today, and I had been looking forward to that game for months now.

    My biggest problem right now is I don’t know what kind of character I want to play. I started as a stealthy assassin rogue, then I started using the Greatsword and a Bow more often. Now I’m some sort of Longsword/Chakram warrior/mage combo. I think the magic abilities are the most appealing, so I might just restart the game completely and make a pure mage and sort of roleplay how I think my character would act – sort of like what you’re doing.

    I can’t praise this game enough.

  • Go Jack-of-all-trades! I bet that’s an awesome way to play.

    Don’t forget that you can always respec at a Fateweaver for a modest sum of gold.

    The devs made good on their promise that you really can customize your character to play however you want.

  • Yeah I’ve reset at Fateweavers twice now. Really love the freedom of the game.

    And Jack of all Trades is an exteremly interesting destiny. I’ve been debating that as well. We shall see.

  • Hate to double post, but I forgot to ask, have you done anything with the crafting Keen? You can make some really neat armor and weapons with Blacksmithing. I’ve got a sword with bonus lightning damage and gives me +10 mana, then a staff with Fire and Lightning Damage that gives me +15 health. Plus you can name your crafted items silly names.

    Also with 1 point in Alchemy, any time you fail at an experiment it gives you an Unstable Potion which has a random effect. It has had some pretty hilarious results in my game.

    I can’t really think of another singleplayer game where I ever found the crafting interesting or even worth spending time on.

  • I’ve been raising Sagecraft. I’ve made some fairly decent gems that are % based. I’m debating whether or not I should have gone Blacksmithing, though.

  • Blacksmithing is handy. It’s nicely organized into: Weapons, Warrior Armor, Rogue Armor, and Mage Armor. You can salvage items you find for components, and then use them to craft. While some components are shared, if you just want to make Mage Armor it seems best to just salvage unused Mage Armor for parts and remake them into new armor, and sell Warrior and Rogue armor as you won’t really use parts from those to make Mage Armor.

    It’s not hard to go into all 3 crafting trees it seems though. You can only put 4 points into any giving skill until you are level 8. So in theory by level 8 you could have 2 skills advanced as far as possible, with a few extra points in other skills (from your race bonus). It’s a nice system and makes using all three crafting skills useful, even if you don’t put many points into some of them.

    I’ve also noticed Detect Hidden is a handy skill to put atleast 2 points into so you can find extra hidden treasures.

    But to each their own, which is great about this game, you can really customize your charater both in-combat and outside combat.

  • Thanks for the impressions. This is why I like reading bloggers. The Gamespot and G4 reviews both roll out the word “pedantic” to describe aspects of the game, which in both cases seems a little ironic, in my opinion.

  • I appreciate your sharing your ideas – I don’t have an abundance of time to indulge my favorite hobby (gaming) these days, so I’ve been forced to become quite discriminatory. “Reckoning” looked great to me, but honestly the Gamespot review was so lukewarm that I was almost put out. Everything you’ve said Keen, and your comments, TheRedComet, have definitely convinced me to give this one a shot. I can’t wait!

  • My initial impressions:

    Combat is awesome (I am a Mage). There is a seemless transition between casting a spell and using melee weapons. The active dodge ability is fantastic.

    World is beautiful. However, it is not as open as I had hoped. You are still funnelled from area to area and while some of these areas are large, I still feel a bit like I am a rat in a maze looking for the cheese. I don’t get the sense of exlorability I thought I would have.

    Lack of jumping is frustrating.

    Quick travel is awesome.

    Reckoning finishing move animations are amazing.

    Cut scenes/Voice acting are average. I don’t find that they immerse me like they should and some of the side quests I just skip them all together.

    Potion spamming sucks. I wish there were a cooldown or something. It can trivilize content.

    The game feels too easy. Even on hard mode, with the active dodging and potion spamming I never feel like a Mob has a chance versus me. Even in groups. Maybe it is because Magic is overpowered in the lower tiers. We’ll see as I get further in. In talking to Keen on vent last night I don’t think he felt the same as I did but I was hoping for more of a challenge on Hard.

  • How does it compare to Skyrim?

    and

    Do the keyboard controls suck or do you usually prefer a controller for this sort of game?

  • I like KoA more then Skyrim right now. I’d say the biggest differences are that KoA has a much better combat system whereas Skyrim had a better world (more open, etc). For me, the combat makes a world of difference. It is actually fun.

    I use a Keyboard/Mouse. The Menu controls on the PC suck. A lot of hitting “esc” to back out of menues but at this point it is more of an annoyance then anything. I don’t mind the Mouse/Keyboard for the combat though.

  • I am loving the game outside the occasional CTD when I view a quest for some reason. Of course I am still upset that I ended up paying double for the game due to the a$$hat customer service from Origin. I had preordered the game via Origin back in October and paid $63 for it upon the order. Back a few weeks ago I decided that Amazon had a better deal and that I wanted the dowsing (sp) rod so I canceled my Origin preorder. A week later my money wasn’t refunded so I checked and then they said that I never had paid for the game, funny my bank statement begs to differ). So at anyrate Origin “stole” $63 of mine. I went ahead and kept my Amazon order though and loving the game. It is all I hoped it would be, like I said outside the crash to desktops that I run into at random times due to some bug when you go to view and assign active quest. I am sure they will patch that up pretty quick as I have read that multiple people are having the same issue.

    All in all this is a game that I can see myself playing for a long, long time to come. I love Skyrim and still enjoy playing it, but for some reason I prefer my fantasy games to have the “WoW” type look instead of hyper realism that I prefer in my FPS games. I knew with R.A. writing and Todd directing art that KoA:R was going to be a hit and so far I think other than maybe GW2 in my book it has game of the year wrote all over it.

  • I agree, I love the artstyle as well. It’s so nice to have a game that has a color palette beyond brown and gray. It kind of bugs me that a ton of people are complaining that the game’s artstyle is “WoW” styled. Any game that deviates from brown and bloom these days gets called cartoony or WoW-like, and it’s very silly.

  • @ink003: No discernible differences. As for the Gamespot review, they downplayed the quests as something uninteresting and generic yet didn’t once penalize Skyrim for the same thing. Some double standards going on there.

    @Krigare: Keyboard controls felt a little better, but I prefer controller. I think Skyrim’s world was more open for sure, but less interesting. Skyrim’s world might be more grand, but Reckoning’s world is prettier and more inviting. Overall, I think Reckoning and Skyrim appeal to slightly different tastes. I have no regrets owning both.

    @Phandy: I think the world feels more open than most RPGs with the exception of the Elder Scrolls games.

  • I am loving it as well and really enjoying my play time right now.

    I share most of the same thoughts as stated above about things such as the combat and how fun and natural it feels.

    Keen you mentioned you are avoiding evil choices this time, I have begun to notice what seems to be a lack of consequence in that regard. I have only run about 10 quests thus far but in the instances in which I did the ‘evil’ or bad thing the NPC just sort of shrugs their shoulders and walks away. This is something I will be spending more time investigating tonite and do a more detailed write up on.

  • @Biophazer242: I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t go into details. There are evil or less scrupulous choices that will lock you out of entire factions in the game.

  • Skyrim is definitely an amazing game, no doubt. That being said, and disclosing that the Elder Scrolls universe has never been my favorite, I actually got tired of Skyrim awfully fast; frankly, the world was too big for me. I know plenty of folks will disagree, and that’s cool b/c. it’s certainly a very subjective thing. However, I like a strong, primary storyline to drive me through a game, bound by a manageably-sized environment. While I appreciate the idea of an enormous universe that I can get lost in, I ended up often feeling a bit wayward in Skyrim. Plus, the combat didn’t do it for me. I dispised melee and thus ended up creating a stealthy archer/backstabber toon who specialized in blacksmithing; the result: after not too long, I was one-shotting everything with my Brotherhood-clad hands, and even dragons only took ~six or seven well-placed arrows to fell. I kinda felt like I broke the game. Anyway, I’m betting that the almost universally applauded combat in KoA:R will make it all worthwhile.

  • Keen, your last paragraph has touched upon something that I’ve been thinking about for a little while now – that the MMO is a dying breed. Your comment “MMOs just aren’t giving me the levels of “WOAH! AWESOME! FUN!” that I can find in RPGs” is the same way I feel except substitute RPG with FPS for me.

    I really think the MMO in MMORPG is killing itself off. There’s something very comforting about knowing that my performance in a FPS game isn’t tied to my teammates like it would be if I were doing a group instance in a MMO. Actually, the better I perform, the greater chance my team has of winning, despite how badly they are doing. Contrast that to an instance in a MMO where one bad player can cause you to wipe over and over again, no matter how much damage or healing (or proper tanking) you are doing. In Reckoning or Skyrim, you don’t have to worry about any of the social headaches that come with a MMO. You’re free to play the game how you want to play it, when you want to play it and if you fail at something, you only have yourself to blame. In all my years of playing WoW, the biggest source of angst and grief that I have witnessed has always been other players.

    Put another way, themeparks are fun. Space Mountain and even the teacups at Disney are fun rides. It’s the smelly guy or the crying baby that you have to put up with while standing in line that can ruin the experience for you.

  • @Rorik I agree about the grouping and MMOs and that is one of the things after many years of playing MMOs that has pretty much finally driven me away from the MMO genre though I am still hopefully that TERA and GW2 will be fun and plan on getting them.

    To me it all comes back to what do I want from my games. I play games to escape and to be something I am not, an adventurer. In MMOs you are surrounded by hundreds of other people that look like you and are doing the same things you are. Like Tyler Durden said “You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake”. However when I play single player games like Skyrim, KoA:R and other single player games I can at least pretend that I am unique. And like you said I can play the game I want to and if I fail it is my own fault. If I spent hours dying on a boss fight it isn’t because I had to wait for 40 minutes for the party to start, 10 minutes for everyone to buff up, and then those AFK players and the likes.

    One think that upsets me is that on the official KoA:R forums right now there is a big thread going on about how ‘potion spamming’ is ruining the game. I am WTF, if you don’t like potion spamming don’t fraking do it. This is a single player game, it isn’t like you have to worry about someone coming out on top in PvP or something. And that hits on the second point that so called hardcore MMO players and game players want to gimp everyone else just to mold the game into the way that they want it to go. At least with Single Player games if I don’t want drastic nerfs and such I can just pass up patching.

    I do like playing with friends and I still like the social aspects of MMOs but basically these days MMOs tend to break down into PVE Elitist, PVP Elitist, Socialites, and Casuals. There hardly is a middle road anymore for someone that just wants to group up and have fun. Gearscore considered too low regardless how good of player, your thrown from a group. Not in a ready made PvP group, prepare to get your arse handed to you since everyone wants to be the leader and no one wants to follow strategy. Want to be social, might as well be in a IRC, at least there would be fewer Chuck Norris jokes. Casual or Solo player? Might as well play a single player game.

  • “Put another way, themeparks are fun. Space Mountain and even the teacups at Disney are fun rides. It’s the smelly guy or the crying baby that you have to put up with while standing in line that can ruin the experience for you.” –Rorik

    That is said really well and is VERY true. On the flip side of that is the me. I want to play this game, but the fact its just one player kills if for me. If this had co-op I would already own it. As for MMO’s I agree, except playing MMOs with friends can be a fantastic experience, and combat against real folks is second to none.

    …..but I still may get this game. The combat model sounds awesome!

  • @ Neuronomad

    Yea it truly is the basic differences in single vs. multiplayer.

    Same days I’m in the mood for one, other days the mood for the other.

  • In regards to the fun nature of MMOs anymore these days, I would say that I had more fun I think with small multiplayer groups back in the days of Neverwinter Nights then I did with MMOs in the last 10 years.

    I had a small group I enjoyed playing with and we would actually experience content and explore the modules as an actual group rather then just blaze thru zones to get to the raid boss.

    Give me more of those small segmented multiplayer experiences and I will be happy. In fact, do not give me an Elder Scrolls MMO, just adopt the same small server style that NWN had back in the early 2000s.

  • I wasn’t blown away by the demo, but since a good friend was super excited about this game and we like to “talk shop” about games, I decided to pick it up anyway.

    Turns out I must have been in a grumpy mood during the demo or something. I’m having a blast. Really fun game so far. Going for a Rogue/Mage hybrid, which I’m finding pretty slick.

  • To be fair, Fidjit, the demo was pretty buggy and I can see why it turned some people off of the game. Apparently the demo was a build that was at least a couple months old. The final build has been so vastly improved, I’m really impressed.

  • “There are evil or less scrupulous choices that will lock you out of entire factions in the game.”

    Without giving too much away, are there any benefits to making evil choices; do factions open that normally wouldn’t be accessible otherwise?

  • @TheRedComet

    Ah, that explains a lot. The game does seem to run a lot better than the demo. It’s a good thing I bought the game despite the demo, because otherwise I’d have missed out on this gem.

  • @biophazer242 You are correct there. I honestly think that 2012 is going to be a big change up for MMOs. I think a lot of people are burnt out on then based on a number of sites that I follow. They miss the good old days where you grouped together to have fun, not blast through content just to be elite or whatever.

    I was having fun personally in SWTOR until after a couple weeks when I realize that I do not have the time nor energy to keep up with other players. I was constantly soloing not because I couldn’t find groups but because when I did they wanted to rush, or instantly thought someone was a newb if they asked a strategy question.

    Then of course chat was as bad as good old Barren’s Chat for back in the day. I ended up turning off chat completely. After a few days of chat disabled and going solo on everything I finally decided no I am not going to pay a monthly fee to play alone.

    But I digress and want to return to the actual topic of KoA:R. Once again I think the game is a great game and I am looking forward to spend many hours playing the game. Other than a few crash to desktops so far the game has ran smooth for me. I just wish they hadn’t went the Origin route.

    What I really love in KoA:R is the openness of being able to swap around my character to try different classes without having to level a ton of different characters. The closest game to that for me had been Divinity 2.

    I love the artwork. I am sure over the next couple months there will be a lot of Skyrim Vs. KoA:R debates. I love them both. I think they both have their own merits. It is Realism Vs. Fantasy in regards to the looks. I like it that way, as I can continue to play them side by side and have an unique feel.

    Action wise I feel that KoA:R is a LOT more fluid and fun. RPG wise so far from what I have seen I think Skyrim has the edge. I think both are among the top games of the past few years.

  • I’m not sure if you guys are playing Skyrim on console or PC, but vanilla Skyrim is a totally different (and worse) experience than a modded Skyrim. The Bethesda modding community is incredible and now that the creation kit is released, Skyrim will really shine. If you are only going to play through a Bethesda game once or twice, then don’t buy it at release. Wait for the modders to do their thang. I’ve gotten over 400 hours out of Skyrim and I’m sure I’ll go back for another playthrough in a few weeks. In the meantime, I will check out KoA.

    I checked out about an hour of a KoA LP on youtube and I’m still lukewarm. I’m under the impression that Keen favors a more cartoon/arcade style than I like, but there seem to be enough good reviews to merit picking it up to see for myself.

  • @Neuronomad

    Thanks for summing up where I’m at gaming wise right now so nicely! The return of the big budget rpg. I’m loving it.

  • Can traditional RPGs make a “comeback” or gain momentum by mimicking modern MMOs?

    Do you really need to feel like you are playing an MMO because you see some random strangers running around you (but you dont even talk or interact with them)?

    You can mimick an MMO by probably having a central hub where you may see multiple players (One large instanced area), connect people through chat, provide the ability to form a group (1-4 other players)and play together, provide some instanced content or dungeons that can be tackled with 5-20 people, and have the ability to form guilds.

    Right now we see more and more MMOs that are being played like “single player games” or limited number of player games (almost like a FPS)

    Why not have a “single” player game that is played like an MMO? The loss of quality in content because the environment has to be able to accomondate so many people is probably not worth it anymore these days.

    Coming to think of it, is Diablo III doing this? (I dont know – I am not up to date on my Diablo III)

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