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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Reckoning’ is a perfect ‘World of Warcraft’ Lite

    Curt Schilling, a former Arizona Diamondback who helped the team win the World Series in 2001, did some amazing things for baseball. But his reach is also great in the video game industry with the development company he started, 38 Studios, and its first game “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.”

    For the company’s first title, “Reckoning” is an achievement that fills a key niche in the gaming community. It looks and plays a lot like the massive multiplayer online role playing game “World of Warcraft,” which is a questionable move. At first you might feel cheated, but then you’ll be delighted because “Reckoning” offers gamers something they’ve never had before — an entirely single player version of “World of Warcraft,” without the endless monthly subscription. Some players love the way “WoW” plays but are unable or unwilling to pay for the subscription.

    There’s also all the endgame content. It’s alluring to some, but a hassle to others. The only way to be truly competitive in “WoW” is to throw yourself into it for hours at a time on a semi-daily basis.

    Then there’s all the other players to deal with, which is sometimes a detriment to the experience. There are millions of great people playing “WoW,” but for those who don’t want to risk running into jerks, there’s “Reckoning.”

    Released early this month, the game has a quick paced combat style that allows a great deal of customization, highlighting some of the best parts of “World of Warcraft” without some of the nonsense.

    Players can choose between countless weapons that lend themselves to one of three basic combat styles: might, finesse and sorcery.

    What’s better, however, is that depending on how players spend the skill points they receive each level, they can unlock hybrid classes. Want to play a warrior who is just as sneaky as a rogue? Are you the player who likes striking from the shadows, but with magic instead of a bow? Do you prefer your mages to be a little tougher than normal and capable with a blade? All of these options, and more, are perfectly viable and extremely fun.

    Like “WoW,” most gameplay is driven by quests. Their requirements can be anything from killing “x” amount of “y” or to something more complex like “retrieve this from a dungeon.” There is a multitude of quests in each town, giving players plenty to do. In fact, there is so much to do that, in an interview with Strategy Informer, lead designer Ian Frazier claimed doing everything in the game takes 200 hours, and that’s only if a player meets a lot of conditions.

    “That means easy difficulty, skip all cut scenes and dialogue, sprint everywhere that’s sprintable, fast travel everywhere you can, don’t do any combat you don’t need to do … that all took around 200 hours, and that was a speed run,” Frazier said.

    The story line is pretty interesting too, as your character is the only success of an experiment meant to bring warriors back to life so they can fight an immortal invading force. What’s more, the player-character is reborn without a fate, which means their destiny is theirs to determine, unlike everyone else in the game. It starts off as a means of surviving and uncovering the secrets of your past, but ends up being much more.

    The problems of this game are few, but glaring. For one, the voice acting is a joke. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but it frequently sounds campy and poorly executed.

    The script is almost as much at fault as the actors, but it really detracts from what is, overall, an epic story.

    Second, a critical aspect of the game is exceedingly frustrating — the camera. Not only is it not adjustable, but it moves in the weirdest ways most of the time. It’s almost always hard to see what enemies are doing behind you and it makes managing combat difficult. Sure, maybe it’s more realistic because in real life a person couldn’t see what someone behind them was doing, but no one plays these games for realism.

    These are small road bumps in an otherwise stellar first game from 38 Studios. While “WoW” is a more complete and fleshed out game overall, “Reckoning” makes a perfect “World of Warcraft” Lite.

    — Jason Krell is the assistant copy chief. He can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatArts .

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