Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

I admit that I played Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning in a weird way. Because I was focused on earning the Destiny Dominated Trophy, I played the game on Hard Mode and blasted through the story (which took about 45 hours, though I did spend a good amount of that being distracted and grinding levels). While I don’t think the game was meant to be played this way, it did mean I was hyper-focused on the story for a good long while.

In the beginning, I was admittedly a little bit bored. After an interesting setup — your character awakens from the dead as part of some macabre gnomish experiment — Kingdoms of Amalur very quickly settles into some comfortable genre tropes. Exit the tutorial section into a town where everybody needs your help, kill some monsters, make some potions, yada yada…

But about ten hours deep, I realized the story had slowly been winning me over, and I was becoming hooked. The main reason for this is that I ended up really loving the major characters.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning - Agarth

Agarth sort of rubbed me the wrong way in our first interaction. He’s a drunkard who can come off as a bit gruff and nihilistic. However, as I got to know him more, I began to really enjoy having him around. Both his nihilism and his drunkenness stem from the fact that he’s a Fateweaver, cursed with foreknowledge of the fate of others — and even of himself. Even worse, he specializes in seeing people’s deaths. That means that when he encounters a new person, one of the first things he will learn about that person is how they are to die.

So you can see how he would initially keep your character at a distance. He’s carried the weight of too many impending deaths, and he doesn’t know if adding another to that tally is worth the risk. However, once he fully grasps the implications of what your character is capable of — your character can defy fate — he realizes he has a chance at a fresh start. He’s suddenly brimming with hope, and he becomes an invaluable companion as the journey progresses.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning - Alyn Shir

Alyn Shir is the other side of that same coin. She’s a scantily clad Dokkalfar (basically, Amalur’s version of a dark elf) who is frustratingly dodgy at first. Agarth doesn’t trust her at all, and neither should you.

However, Alyn Shir’s mysterious nature makes her kind of alluring. While you feel a sense of danger whenever she’s around, you also feel drawn to her, curious to unlock her many secrets.

As you get to know her, some of these secrets are indeed revealed, and while you will probably never come to trust her fully, you will find yourself happy to have her show up at the most opportune times as you travel the various regions of Amalur. You’ll also be happy to know that she holds the secret of who your character was before their death and resurrection, though she won’t reveal any of that until she knows she can trust you with the information.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

The writing is excellent and the voice acting is a high notch above that of Amalur’s closest competition at the time (the original version of the game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, came out in February of 2012, which was just a few months after The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim). This only serves to make these characters feel more genuine.

I can think of very few characters in western fantasy role-playing games that I would say feel like fully fleshed-out characters, but Agarth and Alyn Shir absolutely do. This is a wonderful enhancement to the genre, and it gives Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning a special kind of magic that similar games tend to lack.

While they seem pretty forgettable when you first meet them, I think Agarth and Alyn Shir will eventually win you over and worm their weird little ways into your heart.

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