Combat and Character Development of Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning mesmerized more than just one person at GamesCom when its trailer, gameplay footage, and character development features were shown. What exactly did the game contain to attract so much attention? Well, it has a very unique combat system which is new to the RPG genre, and the character development was vast and extremely flexible.
The character development of KoA: Reckoning isn’t based on classes at all. Instead, it uses the term ‘destinies’ (the concepts of fate and destiny seem to be integral parts of the story), which allows players to build characters in a way that suits their play-style best.
You don’t simply choose a class at the beginning that instantly determines what your character can and can’t do; your character is built from scratch by regularly assigning points to a number of skill trees, unlocking ‘destinies’ and proficiency titles through their choice.
It does play out in a manner somewhat similar to that of Diablo II, but the class-limitation is absent, and so allows players to create hybrids, and possibly characters that have all strengths and no weaknesses.
There are around 60 different abilities, ranging from pure physical attack types to spells to even the Bioware styled persuasion/intimidation attributes. With the countless number of possible combinations of these abilities, every player can develop a character that is suited to his/her style of play, and no two characters can be exactly alike.
But the character development isn’t the only interesting feature of Reckoning. The developers really highlighted how different and exciting the combat system would be, terming it as ‘enemy-pounding funfest’. This isn’t an exaggeration, as the combat is a mix of that of God of War and Diablo.
In fact, it’s much more than that, because the combat really changes according to the way you build your character. Lethal melee characters will feel more or less like Kratos, with a bit of the Barbarian class of Diablo added into it. Casters and stealthier characters will have to adopt a different play-style.
Nevertheless the codes of combat remain pretty much the same; it will be intense, will be easy to get a hang of, but will require skills to master. The combat is based around a combo system that requires context and timing. Hitting a single button three times in quick succession will lead to a basic 3-attack combo, but hit them a little slower and you’ll get something totally different.
There is also a charge attack of weapons, which allows you to charge up and increase the amount of damage you do. Alongside the conventional hack-and-slash action, there are four special moves or abilities you can use with your trigger/R2 buttons. The abilities can wary, depending on how you’ve built the character, and some maybe passive while others active.
The combat in general isn’t a cake-walk like in many other action games. You have to keep an eye on your mana bar when using your special abilities, and tactically use your built character’s skills to get through a set of enemies. Speaking of enemies, the AI is generally superior to the ones in other action-oriented RPGs; they move fast – even the larger ones, and look to do teamwork.
They won’t be stupefied by your everyday evasive rolls and dashes – they’ll track them and keep an eye on you. Sure, your character will have the ability to take out more than just a few enemies, but the sense of domination isn’t implanted – it has to be created. Working out which attacks to use first, and which to save for more dire situations while in combat is a vital decision that can determine your success or failure in a fight.
It’s a great thing that such an RPG that seems to have a deep story also has an engaging combat and character development system. We’re looking forward to playing it in 2012.