This will not be a real review of the game. If I did review it, I’d give it a 7/10 or so. Maybe higher as I progress, maybe lower. Who knows. Above average is about how I’d sum up the game.
I want to put my thoughts out there on the experience though. This will be heavily shaded by Skyrim, so if that bugs you, I’m sorry.
Lets start with the dungeons that are everywhere in the wilderness. Like everything else in the game, they look beautiful. But why are the creatures there, um, there? If you played a sneak character in Skyrim, and snuck in on some NPCs in those dungeons, they’d be having conversations with each other, sometimes going through a scripted storyline that introduces you to the dungeon, or they’d just be playing cards. The point is, they did something. You could imagine them having a routine they went through and having a life. In Amalur, I see nothing like that. They are stock encounters at various (and quite predictable) points in the dungeon. Big open room? Dudes will inevitably pop out as if they were waiting for you the whole time. That type of game design is 10 years old. It’s not interesting. It’s a little silly these days.
The combat, however, is very interesting. The arcade feel to it does take a while to get used to. It’s very dynamic. Rolling around to avoid attacks, putting up your shield and timing your swings are all very fun. On the flip side, it’s very phony as well. Get hit once? Odds are, you are going to get hit 3 times from a mob’s followup attack.
The item game is the part that bothers me the most, I think. Every RPG has the standard upgrade your weapon as you progress feature. But usually, these upgrades come with a sense of achievement. Killing a boss, a large fight, or completing a quest. In this game, you upgrade a weapon by finding a hidden log in the woods. Really? Really? There is no sense of accomplishment when you get upgrades like this. Skyrim had this problem when you maxxed your blacksmithing/enchanting/alchemy and could make super weapons, but at least (theoretically) that was near end game, so it didn’t matter so much. It didn’t overbalance you from the start. Getting a new set of armor shouldn’t simply involve finding a pile of rocks in the woods, or breaking open a barrel. That’s ridiculous. Yes, when I stop to think about it; this lack of earned rewards is the most bothersome part of the game.
The stories/quests are inevitably repetitive. Skyrim masked this well. Fetch quests didn’t feel like fetch quests (well, some did). But in this one, there are so many “kill x of y” or “gather x of z” that it’s tedious. I’m fine with that, because that’s the nature of these types of games. I guess I’m more irritated by the fact that every game has only a few different quest types: kill this, fetch this, deliver this to that.
All in all, I guess I’m a little disappointed in this game. Will I play it? Of course, especially since Diablo 3 is delayed (again!) and Mass Effect isn’t out till March. But would this be a game I’ll remember and want to pick up in 6 months? Probably not.