(Hmm... I seemed to of typed a lot. Well, some people rant, I like to rave. I suppose it's cause I'm optimist. If you prefer, you can just post on your impressions of the demo if you've played it.)
As the title states, I just finished my first play-through of the demo and am eager to go back and play it again.
In case you haven't heard of it, Kingdoms of Amalur is a fantasy based RPG. It is similar to other Fantasy RPGs such as the Elder Scrolls Series; filled with elves, sword swinging and magic. It has an amazing cast of people working on the game which include: R.A. Salvatore (Best-Selling Author of the Drizzit series) penning the story, Todd McFarlane handling the art (creator of Spawn), and Ken Rolston is working on the gameplay (lead designer for Morrowind and Oblivion).
Knowing about the people who were developing the game, made me even more excited for the demo to come out. You start out with the full character creation system that will be in the retail release. The options are not the most impressive I've seen, but I liked the idea of making a badass punk chick with a mohawk and a bull ring. In any event, (and to save on spoilers) after another cut scene you go through the game’s version of a tutorial and try out the traditional fighting options; Magic, Melee and Archery. The combat is unique from most RPGs, in that it is a combo based system. In other words, you string together combos for bigger, badder (and cooler) attacks.
Similar to Dante's Inferno and other such games, you unlock the abilities through a leveling system, that reminiscent of World of Warcraft. This shouldn't be surprising though, as 38 Studios plans on making a MMO based on the success of this game.
Not only are their combos within a particular play-style, but the part that I enjoyed most was switching back and forth between the play styles. One of my favorite things to do with my warrior; was to engage enemies in melee combat and then just before the archer fires his arrow, I'll dodge to the right and send a lightning bolt crashing into him.
This fighting mechanic made the combate feel more akin to Ninja Gaiden or God of War than to Mass Effect or KOTOR. In fact, the closest comparison I could think of as I darted from one enemy to the next, was of Jade Empire. In that game, I enjoyed switching from stances to get the maximum effectivess out of my character. Hitting the enemy with strike from my paralyzing palm to setup a killing blow from my legendary strike, always filled me with glee.
It wasn't all roses and ass-kicking. In fact, there are a lot of bugs that I hope they can resolve before the game releases in February. To be fair, it's not uncommon to have graphic hiccups in a demo as large as this one (1.9 gb). But the frequency of these texture hiccups does caution me to some degree. The most frightening (and hilarious) of these was when I began playing my rogue and noticed her head was missing! I ran around in circles for a few moments like a chicken with his head cutoff. Fortunately, the head "loaded" after a short time, and I was off to do some merry killing.
Overall, I enjoyed my playthrough of the demo. The best part of it was a 45-minute roaming period through the opening area. This may not be new for the PC crowd who get timed trials all the time. But as a console fan, this is a refreshing change, and offers plenty of incentive to go back and play through it again to try out a new question of play-style. Also, once you've played through the demo, the game will give you the option in the beginning to skip the tutorial and jump straight to the timed part of the game!
The demo is out now for the PS3, Xbox 360 and the PC; I'm eager to hear what you all think of it. And if you've never heard anything about this game until now and would like to know more, below is a link to the KoA:Reckoning homepage as well as a youtube link with one of the gameplay trailers: