So, I did get to go to Baltimore a few weeks ago. :)
I did get to see "Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning"!
Not only did I get to see it, but had the chance to play it for a while! Ok, others did, too, but I got to try the PC version as well as the 360 version. Why? Well, mostly because I'm an avid MMORPG fan and I haven't touched a controller in years and it showed! The last game (besides Wii) I played on a console was Battle Tankx. Anyone here remember that?? Show of hands, please?
*crickets*....I thought so..... le sigh
SO, let's get to it!
First, you have to remember that, 1) I come from a PC MMORPG background and 2) I never do anything the way anyone else does so this isn't a "techy" review, per se. You'll see a bunch of those. I am fantasy oriented and I'm not nicknamed "Picky" for nothin'! I have an extensive list of things I look for in a game and going from multi-player PC to a console single player game might have been odd, but it wasn't! In fact, I rather enjoyed it.
Games have become so power-player-centric that it's sometimes hard to have fun. Guilds are almost impossible to keep running and friends we met back in, say, 2000, are still our friends and we haven't made many really good ones since. So playing a console game, or PC single player, was almost a relief. What was most luscious was the thought that this was only the beginning. Copernicus is yet to come!
YOUR THOUGHTS, PLEASE?
My first thought was, "GADS!! IT'S A CONTROLLER!!!"
They sat us down in front of, ohh, I dunno...30" screens with x-Box 360 controllers and headphones. Something I'm not use to at all!
Fortunately, there was Big Huge staff to help us out. I was the only one having controller issues, but I finally started getting the hang of it and made it thru the character set-up! It's good! There are quite a few options to make your character your own. There are choices of race and sex and, since I'm always an elf, the choice was easy! I was a bit reminded of Guild Wars in the way the art was done. My elf wasn't lumbering. She flowed! Her face wasn't obvious polygons, it was pretty! And that done, I took her into the world!
My controller was having "operator errors" by the handful (pun intended!) and my elf tried, many times, to jump off ledges in the opening area and run into walls at every opportunity! I hunched further down in my very comfy seat with my (surprisingly) comfy headphones and hoped the staff standing behind me didn't notice. HA! No such luck! They were very on top of things, which was comforting, in the long run. They were anxious to see how we did and what we thought and every time I flinched, they came over to help me.
I was immediately sucked into the game! Never expected that, but there I was, talking to NPC's and they were talking back. The VO folks did amazingly well (voice over, in case you wondered) and voices matched the characters they portrayed very well! I didn't want to bang my head into the monitor when I knew I was coming up to another NPC exchange! I looked forward to it! You chose the question, of course, but I didn't have to read the answer. They spoke to me! My only disappointment in that regard was more for my character. Her facial features never changed talking to them, even tho "looks" were spoken of. (Maybe that's what happens when you've been dead!?)
I did run into a couple of "oops" moments the staff made note of. I guess that's why having a total newb using certain equipment can be helpful; we find things "normal" players wouldn't! (Whadaya mean RT?? WHAT trigger??? butto...oops...)
One of the team came over and asked if there was anything he could help with. Without hesitation, I said, "The PC version!?" with those sad, baby blues looking up at him. He thought for a second and said, "Give me a couple of minutes. I might make that happen!" and he was off. I crossed my toes (fingers too busy) and kept playing!
About half an hour later, he came over and said, "Come with me!" and took me to an office. No longer would I be embarrassed sitting with all the pros. I'd be able to talk to myself in total private, except for the staff member that came in to help me get oriented to the PC version! So, on to new experiences!
A MOUSE! A KEYBOARD! Oh, JOY!!
I had to set up my character again, only didn't take the time I had originally because my time was running out. The others were stopping to interview. I stopped for nothing, except another Cherry Coke and lunch! I was on borrowed time.
SO, my new me wasn't as colorful as the original, but we were off to a better start....heh....uhh....momentarily.
The mouse movement isn't the same in the RPG as it is in an MMORPG. I shot everything in site, trying to turn her with my mouse buttons, and kept switching weapons with my mouse wheel, before they remembered to explain some things to me. This works like the other single shooters (they say), so yes, it's different and....OOPS...that's not suppose to be there! (tweak, tweak) "Let's reassign some things, if we can." We did, sorta, but they did find out a couple of other things with the PC version they hadn't caught before. Now, to their credit, they thought only 360 lovers would be playing, so that's what they had concentrated on. The PC version still had some rough spots they needed to get back to, and I just kinda helped them find a couple of things! But off I went again, to see the wonderful new world!
I ran thru the intro to get the feel of the mouse and keyboard. I found myself REALLY wishing that the arrow keys worked for movement as well as the W, A, D and S (does that stand for "Wait A Dang Second?" Shoulda!!) I would have to take my fingers totally away from the mouse or homing keys when I needed to hit ENTER for something. My overseer reassured me again that it was mapped like a first-person shooter game. I told my overseer that I understood, but they also need to realize that there's a LOT of us MMORPG'ers that are looking for something to do that will be checking out this game and trying to use all the old key-strokes we're use to on a PC! I stand by that, actually! Especially since [b]Copernicus[/b] will fit into that catagory and we will transition 2000 years into the future when it's released!
That's probably my only real gripe with the game. Well, besides you can't turn off blood! If they do it for Germany, why not us!? Yes, I'm a wimp! See? --> /whimper
In the game itself, I was happy as could be! Artwork is great! The world is phenom!! It just keeps going and going and.....yeah! That, too! And it surprises you because it's just a single player game. Why take so much time making such a big, beautiful world? Well, if you roam enough, I think you'll see! Behind every bend, there's something to look at. There are easter eggs, too!! I actually giggled when I came across this marker and clicked on it and it told me part of a story in such a way that it took me by surprise! When I mentioned it to staff, they grinned cuz I had "gotten it!" The Lore Stone was part of a quest and was overlaid on top so the sound was different. I couldn't wait to find another stone!
Exploration is wonderful and that's what I to do!! You can explore to your hearts' content and not worry too much about running into things you'd rather avoid. Not to say you won't, mind you! The NPCs and mobs are fun. The silly little Boggarts are abundant and fall apart when smacked, as they should! I didn't make it very far into the game to really see what higher level mobs were there, but the art, alone, tells me I'm in for more fun and adventure!
The ability tree that allows you to "be all that you can be" is great! SO many options for you to put your points into. You're not stuck with one thing, which I appreciate. Even in old EQ, my druid learned many things some said she couldn't do at young ages (or at all), but she proved them wrong. Here, the possibilities are seemingly endless and it's probably the first tree I didn't immediately look at and run away from. It made sense!
Something I do need to mention is that on the PC version, you can also have a controller hooked up and go between the two with a touch! Something to warn you about: the rumble pack on the controller gets vicious and takes over from the keyboard if you're not careful! So if you have it hooked up, put it in a safe place because, between trying to remember not to shoot an NPC, not switch between my weapons and to use other ways to control the camera, the controller taking over when least expected was....least expected and I had to switch quickly. At a couple of points, I could see why the controller might be better, with the key mapping as it is. You can't change all the mapping, but some, so the controller might be a bit easier and more compact (when you're use to it) for doing things.
Questions I've been asked are: 1) Did you like it? 2) Are there quests? 3) Can you see yourself playing it for a while? and, 4) Is it worth it?
Now I think I can answer, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes!
Furthermore, kudos to Grant Kirkhope, Audio Director, for the ambient music thruout the world. It did everything that music should and I really wanted to talk to him, since music is so much part of my life. Unfortunately, he'd left just before I questioned them about it. I think I know my next move, tho! Hopefully!! :)
Release date is February. If you've already pre-ordered from a store, don't forget to ask about the pre-order bonus number that should be on your receipt when you pick your game up! More information about that is in the Newsletter, along with a trailer and more!