Video game review by Michael Siebenaler
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (Electronic Arts/38 Studios)
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling founded the game producer 38 Studios who have produced their first game, an adventurous role playing game (RPG) called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Schilling drew upon talents in the game developing “bullpen” by hiring game designer Ken Rolston (The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind & IV Oblivion), writer R.A. Salvatore and artist Todd McFarlane (Spawn) as collaborators. New York Times bestselling author Salvatore creates a compelling, but familiar story based in a 10,000 year timeline where one special warrior rises amid an epic war involving immortality.
The huge “open world” environments and graphic design impress in this PlayStation 3 game version, but the game could have used additional strategic elements, especially in the character creation/customization and conversation choice, which becomes an entertaining element that does not much impact the story much either way. The evolving character elements in the new “Destiny system” really make the game interesting amid a solid story that contains familiar RPG elements like abilities, armor, skills, and weapons. Characters can change at various points within endless combat scenarios. Combat fans can enjoy special moves like Fateshift kills while players new to the genre can appreciate the simple one button combat system. The first downloadable add-on content (a.k.a. DLC) will be available in March 20. This DLC will include a new continent for players to explore, the island of Gallows End, which constitutes a 15% expansion of the game’s world, complete with a new story arc that takes place there. Players can also look for an upcoming sequel and massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. (***1/2, also available on Xbox 360 and PC, rated M for blood, gore, intense violence, and suggestive themes).