Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is not only one of my favorite games from the last generation, it’s one of my favorite games of all time. And so when I learned that we would be getting a remaster of this incredible title for current generation hardware, I was beyond ecstatic.
Now after having played all the way through Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning and completing my 5th playthrough of the game, I have some mixed feelings. Because on the one hand this is the exact same game that I fell in love with back in 2012, with the same fantastic combat and colorful world, but on the other hand very little of what it has to offer feels like an actual remaster.
Usually when I start off a review about a Remake or a Remaster, the very first thing I like to touch on is the improved visuals, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a disappointment in that regard. The updated visuals are nowhere near the level I was expecting them to be, and apart from minor enhancements like updated textures for 4K output and a smoother framerate, there’s hardly much to talk about here.
Technically, this is the best the game has ever looked, and some of the more awe-inspiring fantasy locations and structures really benefit from the 4K update. But when I hear that a game is getting a remaster, I kind of expect to see an actual remaster and not just upscaled graphics.
And if that wasn’t enough, the game rubs more salt into the wound with some glitches and bugs that were never there in the original release. My game crashed on me twice, and multiple times I noticed an incredibly intrusive visual glitch where dead bodies and items on the ground would just start flashing blue or green. A quick Google search also told me that I am not the only person who noticed these issues.
In terms of gameplay though, Kingdoms of Amalur is still phenomenal. The game’s fluid combat system that places an emphasis on hard hitting melee combat is still as interesting as ever, and the ability to mix and match a variety of different weapons and powers allows players to create their own personal character archetypes.
One of the main selling points of the game for me personally was the Destiny system, which allows players to unlock different Destinies (essentially character classes) depending on the points they invest in each of the three skill trees. Each destiny provides certain buffs to the player character, but some really switch up the gameplay by unlocking unique abilities like a short-range teleport that replaces the dodge or the ability to resurrect on Death.
I have no real issues with the gameplay of Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, and I think it’s aged beautifully. Combat in this game was always more weighty compared to other similar action RPGs, and it doesn’t really get repetitive thanks to the ability to respec quite easily and invest in another skill tree or Destiny.
The one thing that I really do appreciate about the remake, and one that is perhaps worth mentioning the most, is the new level scaling system. Zones in Re-Reckoning are no longer Level Locked, which means that enemies and loot in them now scale to your level whenever you go into them.
What this essentially means is that if you, for example, go back to a location you visited earlier in the game to finish off any lingering side-quests, the game makes sure that you’re not fighting under-leveled cannon fodder and that the gear you find in chests is also level appropriate. This might not sound like much, but this is a feature that was absent from the original game, and it adds an incredible amount of replayability to Re-Reckoning.
All in all though, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a great way to return to The Faelands, even if I was expecting them to look a lot better. I also wasn’t expecting to see new bugs in an eight year old game, but that’s kind of where we are now.
I honestly had very high hopes for this remake, but I’ll take literally any opportunity to dive back into the game and thankfully, the combat is sill as fluid and addicting as ever, and the new level scaling system is an absolute godsend.
This is still an incredible game, and you can definitely see that age has started to catch up to it. But don’t let that distract you from one of the best Fantasy games of all time.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is out now on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It was developed by Kaiko and published by THQ Nordic. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
The review code was provided by the publisher.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Review
Though the visuals may look lackluster for a remaster and the new bugs are utterly inexcusable, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is still a great game that deserves your attention.