After a nearly five-year hiatus, 38 Studios has exploded onto the 2012 gaming scene with the hard-hitting multi-platform action RPG “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.” The massive world of Amalur, whose story is the product of famed novelist R.A. Salvatore’s mind with artwork by “Spawn” and “Spider-Man” artist Todd McFarlane, is opened to players determined to master its vast lore and lands.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Electronic Arts

The protagonist is designed by the player and as players gain levels and experience, either through combat or by completing the many quests available in each of the different areas, they acquire the ability to place points into three skill trees, which roughly correspond with the archetypal mage, thief and warrior classes. Players are rewarded for pursuing any combination of character types with “Destiny Cards,” which provide an additional layer of complexity to the robust character-customization options provided.

The character finds themself thrust into a world rife with war and power struggles, embarking on an expansive adventure to discover their destiny.

The game unfolds at a quick enough pace to keep those who may otherwise lose interest riveted to their chairs, but it provides many opportunities to learn about Amalur while helping its hapless inhabitants. More often than not, one will realize that several hours have been spent seeking the necessary reagents for one of the three crafting professions or following some auxiliary plotline rather than actually progressing along the main campaign.

The game was released as a polished work, and its bugs are few and far between, primarily consisting of some unfavorable camera angles and the occasional “sticking” of characters in invisible boxes, both of which are simply cosmetic issues. Some aspects of gameplay can wear on the patience of adventurers, including the occasionally infuriating lockpicking minigames necessary to obtain treasure and the quest log’s tendency to never quite deplete.

The combat system is extremely entertaining at every level of difficulty, regardless of playstyle. The massive, slightly cartoony world feels like it’s at the players’ disposal, with difficulty always pushing their decision making and encouraging them to try different approaches. The leveling system promotes multiple viable choices for character progression and doesn’t feel as foreboding and nebulous as that of some other games.

The game promises upwards of 50 hours of gameplay for anyone willing and able to brave its untamed expanses. With hundreds of quests, incredible production values, innumerable options for character customization and a story Tolkien would be proud of, “Reckoning” delivers a familiar yet fresh experience across three platforms.

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