Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Bloody but magically remarkable RPG for mature gamers.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story focuses on weighty concepts such as fate and freedom that will likely make players wax philosophical on everything from religion to determinism. However, it also glamorizes medieval-style and fantasy combat.
Positive Role Models
The player’s character, a man or woman whose appearance can be completely customized, is nudged toward good and noble acts, but is also forced into aggressive behavior to carry out objectives. There is some wiggle room for him or her to do evil rather than good (you can steal from innocents, be belligerent in conversations, and even attack civilians), but most players will guide the game’s protagonist into becoming a true hero or heroine.
Ease of Play
Three modes of difficulty let players select a suitable level of challenge, and the combat system is easy to come to grips with. Navigating the game's enormous world could prove tricky for some, but excellent maps and an efficient quest log help keep things manageable.
Violence & Scariness
Combat involves the use of various bladed weapons, such as swords, axes, and daggers, as well as bows and magical spells. Blood gushes from enemies when they are struck, and they lie in crumpled heaps when killed. Cinematic assassination and “reckoning” attacks sometimes slow down time so that players can watch particularly vicious choreography usually involving impalement, dismemberment, and large torrents of blood. Players fight mindless, fantastical beasts, but also encounter aggressive humans and humanoid creatures. They can also kill civilians.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the game’s female characters and monsters wear revealing outfits that expose cleavage. Both male and female avatars can be seen in their underwear when not wearing armor. Some of the books and letters players find in the environment discuss steamy situations without detail, and some characters are possessed of romantic feelings.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a violent and sometimes gruesome action role-playing game for adults set in a fictional, fantastical world. Players spend half their time chatting with non-player characters and unraveling a complex story, and the other half engaging in bloody and brutal combat with bladed weapons, bows, and magic. There is no drinking, profanity, or sex in the game, though players may read in-game books and letters that reference romantic situations without going into detail. Players will also see male and female characters clad in naught but their skivvies.
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What’s It About?
The massive single-player fantasy role-playing game KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RECKONING isn’t based on any previous license, but still comes with an impressive pedigree. Its visuals were developed by renowned graphic novel artist Todd McFarlane, its story was conceived by famed fantasy novelist R. A. Salvatore, and the game itself was designed by the same fellow who masterminded the enormously popular fantasy RPG Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The story focuses on a soldier resurrected after falling in battle to an evil force of immortals rising in the East. He is apparently the first person the world has ever known not to have a predetermined fate, and this lack of destiny begins to wreak havoc with the future of the world. Amalur’s most powerful figures begin to take an active interest in manipulating our hero to serve their own purposes, which sets up multiple climactic showdowns. Expect huge environments to conquer, hundreds of challenging quests, and a slowly evolving and fully customizable avatar.
Is It Any Good?
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning stands out as a strong new competitor in the popular genre of Western RPGs. It provides players with a staggeringly large and beautiful world that can only be fully explored through weeks or months of dedicated adventuring, a complex and thoughtful story filled with memorable characters and subplots, and a remarkably satisfying, diverse, and dynamic combat system that will help ensure battles remain as interesting in the 100th hour of play as they were in the first.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a surprisingly polished experience, right from the start. Menus are simple and intuitive, the interface is easy to learn, and the lush visuals and rich symphonic score make for some truly magical moments. Some of the characters lack the detail and sophisticated animations found in rival games, but if that’s the worst criticism to be levelled at this remarkable new role-playing game, it’s in pretty good shape. Fans of fantasy won’t want to miss it.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in games. How do you determine what is acceptable for your teenagers? Does it matter if the violence is fantastical or gritty in presentation?
Families can also discuss some of the ideas presented in this game such as the notion of fate versus free will. Do you believe that, either by the laws of physics or religion, we are bound to a single path through the world, or do you think that we have free will to act randomly and as we choose, thereby altering the world and the future of those around us?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release date: February 7, 2012
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes
- Last updated: August 29, 2016
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