Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning is a combat RPG set in a vaguely familiar world of blathering humans, wanton devils, plotting gnomes, condescending fairies, and implacably territorial beasts, all mixed up into destabilized factions. The factions all use some arrogant spokesman to seduce you by honor into a plot to destroy their enemy whomever it will be, usually the devils and the beasts, while cursing and marveling at your ability to be the badass that you are.
You wander from quest to quest, gathering nuts in May, keys, flowers, salts, loot, armor and weapons found in tree stums, rock piles and three variations of pirate chests 'o gold, some of which are booby cursed.
The vaguely familiar world is massive, and lies in the midlands of modern three dimensional computer animation. The world is filled with tudorish villages and medievalish castles and brackish swamps and caves. There are verdant fields with gigantic trees and ancient ruins, arid plains with dusty work camps and flooded mines, and boggy swamps with sour mists and oboes playing minor chords.
And the creatures! Oh my heavens the creatures. There are three kinds of two headed giants, and two other kinds of giants aside from that. There are 30 foot beasts that slither three lengths in a fraction of a second belch up slimy procreations that hatch weilding tridents that shoot lightning. There are monsters whose faces split open vertically and spit green venomous clouds of stinking, stinging insects. There are shrieking black wraithes who dodge everything you throw at them and then come back from the near dead. There are glowing animate trees that fire corkscrewing roots at your feet and arrows of light at your face. And sometimes they gang up on you, with wolves, or bears, or brownies or massive doglike creatures with electric bites that drain your mana.
In Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning, you are the most badass, world wrecker in the realm. I can distinctly recall Blair Herter say that the fighting system for The Dark Knight was the most satisfying... HA and double HA. No Jedi or Sith, no Prince of Persia or God of War, no Dragonborn, combo ninja acrobat, Vault refugee nor Black Operative has weilded such destructive whoopass through any territory as.. as... whatever it is you named your elf. OK perhaps I exaggerate, but I can tell you without qualification, in the world of RPGs there has never been such an engaging fight system. Only Borderlands comes close.
You see all of those beasts and quests are just an excuse for you to use bows, chakrams, longswords, greatswords, daggers, faeblades, ice traps, grenades, throwing knives, hammers, poisons and the traditional three elements of magic, fire, ice and lightning to hack, slash, bash, quake and incinerate your way through legions of hapless foes, and zombies too.
It's the fightingest RPG of all time, but wait, theres more.
You know how it is in every RPG, you choose a race and a bloodline and a primary skill and god and you level up and level up and level up. In this one, you can undo all of your skill points and re-level up from scratch. Even the weapons that you embue with gems and properties can be undone and reconfigured. In short, you get to be every kind of badass the game allows. You can be God Wizard on the Sorcery scale, God Assassin on the Finess scale or God Warrior on the Might scale, or any combination in between.
Therefore this is a fighting game. If you were expecting crackling good storytelling, wonderous voice acting, and anything resembling a sense of humor appropriate to the vaguely familiar worlds of Seelie Fae in the Sidhe, forget it. The job done is admirable to a fault, the fault being that in the end you don't really care about all the wonderous lore of the joint. You just want to get that 249 unit ice hammer and smash the shit out of those fat red one-eyed giants who belly bumped you.
But there's also the Niskaru, in case you get cocky. These creatures are like a combination of speed, death and death and speed. If there are two of them, be on your toes. If there are two and their boss, you had better hope some idiot giants or other NPCs have walked into the battle space, or else you're going to be swilling cures and freezing the action every five seconds to pick another combination of weapons, poisons, distractions and prayers. Beware the crossroads of Southern Klurikon. You have been warned.
No I haven't finished, but I expect more of the same in Alabastra, the final kingdom.