Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
From the very first moment I saw a video preview on that particular title I disliked the visual style it uses because it reminds me in a very bad way of World of Warcraft which never succeeded in creating any kind of immersion for me. The very fact that the title also seems to be modelled in a potential MMORPG world just enhanced that feeling of oddness which repelled me. However, it was the story which I deemed to be completely and utterly uninteresting after hearing the first bits that seemed to be the biggest factor of despise for me. Let me say this very clearly: Usually I'm only drawn to games which deliver an interesting narrative element which is presented at least fairly well
That being said I've to admit that I do like Amalur. Make no mistake, the world still fails to impress me with narrative if not with visual diversity. The side which makes Amalur great is its combat - and I'm by far not the first person to notice this. It is pleasently fluid although it got a little grind-y after a while and I'm sure - although there are a lot of different weapons and styles - that more than one finishing animation per class might present it as less of a chore than it currently feels to me.
Now, for some thoughts on the demo itself. I have to wonder why the dev's chose to show my three difficulty levels if there's only one available and why it's not the one available which is marked as default. Also one might argue that normal should be the default instead of casual.
- I like the fact that in the character editor there's a slider for tattoo intensity. By now quite a few new games feature this, but it's worth pointing out since it adds uniqueness to your character if you're able to give him some backstory without him looking like he/she just strolled out of the tattoo shop.
- I have no idea who came up with the popular guesture of characters pointing their fingers at me. What I do know is that it makes me feel slightly uncomfortable and it's weird considering that people of different races (and therefor cultural believes) use it in the same way.
- After extensively playing Skyrim1 I enjoy Amalur's comparatively short loading times. On the other hand that might be because I have the feeling that by now I've seen all of Skyrim's loading hints.
- Reckoning offers to skip cinematics, with no frills added, seemingly no delay and no second guessing ("Do you really wish to skip this great expensive cinematic although you've pressed at least three different buttons to skip it?"). I mean... you just have to admire that.
So alltogether I enjoyed the demo which consistent of the game's first section until you are set free into the vast world plus an additional 45 minutes in which you are free to do whatever you wish. In certain boundaries that is, considering the demo weights about 2 GB.
Mass Effect 3
There's not a lot to say about the Mass Effect 3 demo yet since:
- The multiplayer section is available from 17th onwards.
- The first section basically is the game's opening which was already spoilered and described to death by both trailers and the story itself.
- The second single player section I've by now seen the fourth time and played the second time. I've seen the walkthrough with and without developer commentary, played it at GamesCom 2011 and now with the demo.
I did notice that the uniforms looked more detailed than in ME3's predecessors.
One thing I could not quite wrap my head around was the fact that in the second sequence I'm not given a sniper rifle despite me playing an infiltrator which is treated as sniper/assassin type by players. I'll blame it on the missing rifle that I died during my playthrough.
I'm quite excited about ME3 and did - for a very short time - consider preordering. After looking at the preorder boni I stopped persuing that line of thought due to the lack of story-based preorder DLC. Also I'm not shelling out about 30€ more for the Collector's Edition or whatever you want to call it just to get the bonus character.2