Game Info:

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning
Developed By: KAIKO, Big Huge Games
Published By: THQ Nordic
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Available On: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action adventure, open world, role-playing game
ESRB Rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes
Number of Players: 1
Retail Price: $39.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you THQ Nordic for sending us this game to review!

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was certainly one of the highlights of the games I had the pleasure of reviewing way back in 2012. I played the game for over 130 hours, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was also incredibly pretty for the time, despite some occasionally low-detailed textures. With the help of R.A. Salvatore, they wrote an interesting backstory, and setup an entire fantasy universe that basically went dormant after Big Huge Games closed down due to unfortunate financial management and ensuing bankruptcy. THQ Nordic bought the rights to the franchise during liquidation, and eventually worked out a deal with Electronic Arts (the distributor of the original game) to be able to rerelease the game under a new name, as well as carry the franchise forward into the future.

Rather than rehash everything I wrote the first time about this game, I’m going to link you to my original review here.

Almost the entirety of what is listed there applies here, though the bugs might be fixed/different. They also doubled the size of your stash, which helps with item management quite a bit. I won’t get into nearly as much detail about the story or appropriateness issues here; please refer to that review for more information.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

Strong Points: Great to see this nearly lost property return once again; graphics, interface, and balance tweaks are welcome; a new expansion pack is promised for next year; very large world, with over 200 quests, and many, many hours of content; interesting factions, with a fairly well realized world backstory; excellent combat, spell, and enemy animations; good voice acting; enjoyable music; very nice graphics and art style; really well polished with relatively few bugs considering the vastness of the game
Weak Points: Not a lot new (yet) for owners of the existing game, though an expansion is promised for next year; character conversions for existing players is not supported, though a fan-made tool seems likely; a somewhat generic fantasy world; some voice actors are reused often; some characters are forgettable; many quests are standard RPG fare; rarely do you get the sense that what choices you make really change the world; a few minor interface glitches
Moral Warnings: Action violence; when you sneak up and backstab an enemy, it can be quite bloody and gory; some ugly monsters have large uncovered breasts; some foul language like b*tch, wh*re, d*mn, h*ll, and *ss; a few characters have suggestive language, and one series of books has very suggestive to downright soft porn wording, including homosexual references

To sum up the story in a shorter version, your main character was the first (and perhaps last) successful experiment to bring mortals back to life through a powerfully strange invention called the Well of Souls. The end result of this is that you are one of the few creatures, mortal or otherwise, who are not beholden to fate as a controlling force for your future. So, rather than having fateweavers (somewhat like fortune tellers) tell you your future, they help you define a future you choose. You have mostly lost whatever memories you might have had in your previous life, but you awaken in the middle of a multi-decade war with the Tuatha, a bloodthirsty horde that’s trying to kill all mortals. Fae are immortals that mostly keep to themselves, so they rarely step in. Since you have a unique gift to be able to change the future outside of fate, you quickly take on many of the world’s problems, setting things right in the process.

The game is a real-time action role-playing game (RPG), and is quite enjoyable. You can choose how to allocate skill points and level up your character, becoming a powerful warrior, rogue, sorcerer, or even a combination of the above in the process. Items, weapons, armor, and so on are dropped randomly, with various levels of power, rarity, and effects, not unlike many massively-multiplayer online (MMO) RPG games. There is also blacksmithing for weapons and armor, potion making, and more to give players plenty to do to keep themselves busy.

For the Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning remaster, the game is virtually identical at the surface, outside of some minor texture and visual effects improvements. You can tell the difference if you put them side by side, but it’s not immediately obvious, except for the greatly improved user interface scaling at higher resolutions, as well as field-of-view (FOV) sliders that helps the player see more of the world at once. The menus look a lot better on larger screens, and controller support is also improved, with better hotkey access, as well as more of them. The keyboard and mouse interface is less drastically changed, though interface items are made easier to see on large, high resolution displays.

Technically, I was able to run the game on all of the machines I tested it on, as long as I adjusted the performance options appropriately. For example, on my powerful desktop with a 4K monitor, I pumped it up and it looked great. On my gaming laptop, it looks fantastic at 1080p. On my smaller handheld PC, the GPD Win Max, I was able to run the game at a very smooth frame rate on medium-low settings. Even at those settings, it still looks really nice, and it’s a great match for the built-in game controls. It did crash to desktop a couple of times though, so hopefully Intel will fix this in their drivers. There still seem to be some other glitches/crashes that remain, but the developers are patching the game often, so hopefully they are all resolved soon. Steam Cloud works as expected, which is really handy given my situation. Sadly, there is no current way to convert saves from the original game over to this one, despite the content being basically the same. Hopefully community-based save converters make their way over, as I haven’t played this remaster nearly as much as I did the original (though I certainly wish I could – my reviewer’s schedule wasn’t nearly as packed back then).

Other than the graphical and interface changes, many of the other changes are more subtle. They basically involved adding a new ‘Very Hard’ difficulty level, as the game is notoriously easy at higher levels, as well as significant balance changes throughout the game. The way loot, chests, and level balancing works between this game versus the original really improves everything subtly to make the game more enjoyable, especially for series veterans. New gamers wouldn’t notice the difference, but rather instead wouldn’t notice the jarring difficulty changes between zones (as well as associated loot) that gamers playing the original would. And since there is an outrageous amount of content, including both original DLC packs as well as a promised new one coming next year (though that will have to be purchased separately), there is more than enough to do.

Morally, since the content is exactly the same, the moral content is, also. To quickly summarize, There is violence, though only bloody/gory on rare occasion. There is plenty of magic use, both by the player and enemies. You can choose to betray a faction for demonic power if you wish. There are some curse words, like ‘*ss’, ‘son of a b***h’, ‘h*ll’, ‘d*mn’, and ‘wh*re’. Thankfully, these are not common occurrences. There is alcohol use, various religious factions with different ideals, and some sexual content, mostly in the form of a set of romance novels that you collect over the course of the game for a quest. If you would like more detailed information, please see the original review for Reckoning I listed above. Do keep in mind that the review above only covers the base game, as I was not sent the expansion packs at all to review until now with this Re-Reckoning.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 54%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 5/10
Sexual Content - 5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 4/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

The DLC does add an additional appropriateness concern. One of the DLC packs has a romance option that the player may stumble upon accidentally (or choose). There are also mentions of sex, both in a previous relationship, and the current one if you romance her. There are suggestions that you can have sex with her in the future. Nothing is shown. If the player is male or female, the dialogue does not change.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is an interesting game to place. If you already played the original to your satisfaction, and you have no interest in the announced but otherwise unreleased expansion content, then I would say continue to play your existing copy, especially if you have the PC version, since it still looks fantastic scaled up to 4K on PC. However, if you only have an older console version, or have never played this otherwise quite enjoyable game, then this is a great time to get into the series, and I recommend it assuming the appropriateness issues don’t put you off. What made the game fun eight years ago is still fun now, and it looks better than ever. I really hope next year’s expansion pack makes it worth it for all of the new owners! I also look forward to the possibility of a sequel.

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Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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