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It’s pissing me off because everyone is taking it the wrong way. The lesson here is not “making new IPs is too risky, don’t do it.” The lesson here is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The problem here isn’t that Kingdoms of Amalur was a new IP. It’s that the project was too damn big. It’s that they invested far too much in this project, and ultimately put themselves in a position where their game would have to have sales rivaling those of established blockbuster franchises just to break even. And when you’re putting yourself in that situation on your very first game, you have a problem. And the worst of it is that Kingdoms of Amalur could have benefited from a smaller budget. It’s a solid game, sure, but it’s also rather overambitious in what it tries to be. Had they toned that down some, they could have refined the game, gave it something to make it stand out, rather than leaving it feel rather generic. But that’s a digression for another time. Basic point: the issue isn’t “new IPs aren’t worth the risk,” and that’s not what should be taken away from this. What should be taken away is that you shouldn’t rely too heavily on any one project, and when you do, you’re just asking for trouble.
So I feel like a lot of maps are too big. As in, they have a lot of space where there really isn’t anything interesting. Call it a double standard, but were it like Skyrim and at least sort of nice to look at, I’d be more forgiving. Or if there were more enemies (although seeing as combat isn’t what it should be, eh). Anything to break up running from place to place.
Reckoning Mode is too much of an “I Win” button for my tastes. Combine this with potion spam not only being viable but realistically the best way to fight, and you have a problem.
I feel like faction quests are introduced too early. I guess this ties in to the whole “too many side quests” thing I mentioned before. I get the impression that named characters only exist to throw quests at me, and that does nothing except remind me that I’m playing a video game. Particularly when you look at games like Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas, where there are named characters who have nothing to do with quests, and only exist to be interesting. This just feels to video game-y, and that’s not a good thing.
On the other hand, at least one of the faction quests already strikes me as more interesting than the main quest. Not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
There are a lot of side quests. I hesitate to say that there are too many, but it almost feels that way — it seems like I can’t talk to any named individual without them thrusting a side quest on me. This really starkly contrasts basically everyone else that exists, because they’re more or less walking info dumps. The world is populated, sure, but when they’re just there to give you information you’ve probably gotten from someone else, I start to question the point. It’s not even as artistically done as, say, Pathologic, where the random NPCs being represented by rag dolls was at least thematically relevant to the rest of the game. They’re just there, and I don’t know that it’s worthwhile.
I don’t know how I feel about the combat. It’s an action RPG, so the combat is a large part of the game, but it’s just a littlest bit unresponsive (no matter which input device I use), and it seems largely samey. It’s not enough to completely put me off from the game, but at the same time, it’s surprisingly underwhelming for being the primary gameplay focus.
What little of the main story I’ve played seems interesting, but I’m not very far, so that may well change. It’s presented me with a lot of questions, but at the same time I know enough to not feel like I’m being compelled by a lack of knowledge (if that makes any sort of sense). So we’ll see where this goes.