‘Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning’ Review: Re-Revisit A Classic

In many ways, the behind-the-scenes story of Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning is more interesting than the game itself. Created originally by 38 Studios, a developer owned by former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, Kingdoms of Amular was intended to be the first in a new franchise of action-RPG games from the upstart company. The studio amassed an all-star team talent, including best selling fantasy novelist R.A. Salvatore to create the world and story; Ken Rolston, a legend in table-top RPGs who worked on a little game called The Elder Scrolls; and comic book and toy creator Todd McFarlane, who designed the characters. There hadn’t been a dream team like this brought together since 1995’s Chrono Trigger. But then it all went wrong.

Huge missteps in the marketing of the game alienated players who were excited to journey to Amular, and then when the game didn’t sell enough at launch, even with EA working as the publisher, the State of Rhode Island, who had fronted the start up money to Schilling and 38 Studios, came calling for payments the studio could not meet. The game —  and its very existence — was dragged into court.

The council convenes in Kingdoms of Amular Re-Reckoning

Now, eight years later, THQ Nordic has brought the game back, remastered the original game files, and tweaked the name, and we have Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning. The re-remaster was handled by a studio called Kaiko, and the original game and all of its DLC have been re-repackaged (okay, I’ll stop with the re-re stuff) for the current generation of consoles.

The game’s story remains the same. You take control of the “fateless one,” who is brought back to life with an arcane magic and now you have special powers. One of those powers is the ability to pull off a “reckoning,” which slows time and allows you to defeat your enemies with relative ease. Combat is basic button mashing with way too many quick-time events. The player manages the fateless one’s equipment and deep skill trees, creating a formidable force of one against all enemies.

The world of the game, the Faelands, is on the brink of war with various other kingdoms, and there are various races, factions, guilds and more. The world is established, with legends and history that you learn as you go. This is to be expected from someone with the pedigree of R.A. Salvatore steering it. Sadly, a lot of it feels rehashed from other games/stories, and in 2012 what might have been fresh now is, well, not-so-fresh.

Combat is Kingdoms of Amular: Re-Reckoning

That’s not to say Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning isn’t a fun game. I had good time playing it eight years ago, and have enjoyed my time with it again now. But it feels incredibly dated, and there is really no way to get around that. The game is still glitchy, but not as glitchy as the original launch. I’m not sure if Kaiko left all that in for some kind of nostalgia, or if the game was always meant to have these glitches and not even time and a new studio can fix them.

Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning was always meant to be the first chapter of an epic new franchise, and maybe this remaster is the first step in testing the waters to see if there is still enough interest to warrant a second visit to Amular and its incredibly deep, if not familiar world.

Bosses are huge in Kingdoms of Amular: Re-Reckoning

If you played the original and enjoyed it, this is a fun journey down memory lane. If you are new to the franchise, just know going in that the technology, story, and just about everything else was designed for a console generation about to be buried further with the release of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, so don’t go in expecting something new and shiny.

There is a very fun game here, and Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning is more than a nostalgic experience. I’m glad I got to revisit this world, now in remastered HD graphics, and I truly hope that it finds the success it never had in 2012, as a sequel with updated graphics, story, and gameplay could be a force to be re-reckoned with.

Kingdoms Of Amular: Re-Reckoning is out now for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This review is based off the PS4 version, and a code provided by the publisher.

Kingdoms of Amular: Re-Reckoning is available now.
out of 5

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