Review: Why Revisit KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RE-RECKONING?

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More remasters are coming to us every month. This month we had Tony Hawk Pro Skaters 1+2 and now we have Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. With somewhat improved HD graphics and some fixed bugs, we get to revisit this sprawling universe on modern consoles, even if it isn’t all that much better than before.

Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning was a deep RPG that a lot of people passed over when it first came out. There were some issues, and it wasn’t the greatest graphically speaking upon release, but the story, engaging gameplay, and variety of weapons and magic made for a pretty solid game overall. This remaster is mostly, if not completely, just a graphical upgrade. And by “graphical upgrade,” I mean the colors and framerates are improved, but the textures and 3D-models are practically identical to the original. Even though it is better looking than the original, it still isn’t a pretty game. I was a little surprised that how rough the graphics still are; it feels more like a port instead of a remaster. It isn’t unplayable, but it definitely looks worse than just about any other game that came out in the last year or two. For being so long since the original came out, I think a lot of people were expecting a much bigger change or upgrade, but it’s fine and still allows players to revisit that world and play through it.

As a standalone game, the fun action, character creation, and different story beats and choices are really engaging. However, they were far more impressive and interesting when the game originally came out and are now more or less average for current games. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fun game here with a good story and surprisingly good in-game cinematics. But it doesn’t feel like anything different or better than what we’ve seen in the last couple of years.

Now, there are some actual issues still in the game. Some bugs are still present and objects will pop in and out randomly. All these other issues make playing this game feels like it exactly did it when it came out on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, for better or for worse. Even though things look mostly better, unless you directly compare it to the original, it would be hard to even notice that this is a remaster.

This is a fine game overall. It has an engaging story and the combat/gameplay still be pretty entertaining. But between various technical issues, less than pristine graphics, and feeling very generic next to so many other excellent fantasy games from recent years, it’s hard to find a pressing reason to play this game.

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