Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Thoughts

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.

Alabama Mandates Gun Ownership

This is the brave new world we live in. The freest country on the face of the earth. Or so it was. But, it seems governments – state and federal – are enjoying their new found powers to force people to buy a product they don’t want.

On the Federal level, Obamacare forces people to buy insurance, even if they don’t want to.

Massachusetts, of course, started this trend with their mandate. And you wonder why Conservatives hate you, Mitt?

Now, Alabama is on board with this same mentality:

A controversial new law has passed the Alabama legislature that will force all citizens to carry guns into work environments that the state government considers “dangerous.”

This only covers abortion doctors for now; but why stop at them? Seriously. Every job can be dangerous on their own, unique ways.

But I love this quote:

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Debbie Wellbright, a senior director and doctor at the Birmingham  Planned Parenthood Center. “I absolutely hate guns, and I refuse to have the government tell me that I have to buy one. This violates my personal liberties and beliefs. I don’t know who these people think they are.”

I’m curious about this person’s support of Obamacare. Does she think government has the right to force you to buy insurance?

Clearly, if you believe that gunshots cost the state a lot of money (by fixing people who get shot, naturally),  you could argue it’s a cost saving measure to force people to buy a gun to protect themselves. Possibly even saving money by killing a  few criminals at the same time. So, what’s the argument for mandate lovers?

This is your world, mandate lovers. Live in it and enjoy it. The government now thinks you are a serfs to be controlled.