justabaldguy wrote:How many ways are y'all finding to resolve quests? In the original dev videos, he was saying you could take different approaches to end the quest. For someone in jail, for example, you could break them out, kill someone and find a key, or find an item (in this case a rare book) and give it to the guy in exchange for the prisoner. Are there many quests which let you end them however you want?
There are extra ways… sometimes. Sometimes you can steal things, sometimes you can persuade people, but usually it seems like it just comes down to fighting. One time I bought some stolen goods off a guy who was expecting to be robbed, though, and he was shocked. It was funny.
Anyway, I'm really getting to like the game. It's too bad some of the problems in the design and execution weren't addressed, because if it had had a better story, fewer irritations and a few other improvements, it could've been one of the all-time greatest RPGs, but as things stand, I still feel it's pretty damn good. I don't know how long it'll hold my interest, but I've already put around 30 hours into it (Sunday in particular pretty much disappeared into the game's wide-open maw) and that's my feeling so far.
For whatever it's worth, here are a few specific reactions.STUFF I LOVECombat
The fighting isn't without its issues, but it rocks. Best ever in a traditional full-scale open-world RPG that I can think off of the top of my head. There are combos, different moves, attacks from guard, positioning issues — the works. And the execution of different attacks is really solid and satisfying. When I blast some guy with a bunch of deadly ice shards, for example, it feels great
.You get more fate for more varied and adept fighting
The game gives you more fate if you mix up your attacks and do a better job of fighting. (Fate is basically the game's power or overcharge meter that, when full, allows you enter a special badass reckoning mode that makes your attacks stronger and gives you extra xp.)Terrific music and sound design
Both are great. The sound design is especially strong — the sounds of the forest as you walk through it, of animals as you walk by them, of fights, are all outstanding.Looting
Looting is more satisfying than in Skyrim for two reasons: the loot is more often useful, and you don't have to play what Coldphirre excellently dubbed the stupid mini-game of selling your crap by going from vendor to vendor to vendor because none of them have much gold. Sure, that's more realistic, but it's not fun
.Mages aren't gimped in combat!
I dig playing mages. But often I play a hybrid fighter-mage when that's an option, despite the fact that it cuts the mage half of the build off at the knees, because mages are usually so tragically pathetic in combat if they can't kill with spells from a distance. Not so in Amalur. Staff and chakram and sceptre attacks are cool and strong and have combos and special abilities of their own. My hybrid build ended as soon as it began because my mage was already kicking ass just on his mage strengths. Fantastic.It's HUGE
Big world, lots
to find and do.Background manual saves
I don't have to sit there waiting for the game to finish when I save — it just happens merrily in the background. This could've been improved even further, though, by automatically exiting the menu upon starting a save. Apparently I'm so used to being stuck waiting for the save to finish that for awhile, I just stared at the screen instead of exiting on my own.No serious bugs (yet)
Heck, I've hardly even noticed any significant glitching!
After Skyrim and Oblivion, this is a huge breath of fresh air!STUFF I HATETarget selection in combat
So I mentioned there are some problems with the combat system despite its general awesomeness? Well, target selection is one of them. It's not just borked by the ganky camera, either. Sometimes it's just totally random. I'll be in a mess of enemies, the selection will be on the one enemy that's not on fire, I'll try to light him on fire… and suddenly my character will turn 90 degrees and waste a spell on empty space. And this happens a lot
. I've taken lots of extra damage and even died a few times just because of this. Frickin stupid. On a related note, sometimes I'll try to roll in one direction and I'll wind up heading in another direction entirely. Presumably this has the same root cause, and it's hugely annoying.A 2" curb? Oh noes!
I hate games that won't let you step over a twig or off a 2" curb or what have you. It's idiotic. I'm coming down a ramp or some stairs, but near the end I can't just step off, oh no, I have to walk all the way out and around, and if I try to cut my trip short, my character will just stand there running in place like a lobotomized robot. The general inability to run around freely and realistically, or even to jump anywhere except at a relative handful of designated jump points, blows
.The visual parts of the engine suck
Seriously, it looks like something midway between the PS2 and the PS3 generations at best
. The camera has serious problems, and the game's onscreen text in particular is a crime against humanity. But I've already bitched about this, so I won't spend any more time on the subject.The region you start out in is the ugliest
Before, I said the game is stunningly ugly. That's not precisely true, as it turns out. The engine still looks like something from an unpleasant corner of the past that should've stayed forgotten, but later regions in the game (I've been to Detyre and the Plains of Erathell so far) look much, much nicer, even though they are still handicapped by the engine. Unfortunately, the region you start out in, Dalentarth, is generally butt-ugly (and its monotony gets old fast, too) so you won't get a taste of the nicer visuals the game has to offer for a fair while.Ability button mapping constraints
I can only map four abilities (spells) to my controller. You hold R1, and then you hit triangle, square, circle, or cross. This is just idiotic and unfair. PC players can apparently map ten, so why not at the very least also let us hold R1 and hit any of the buttons on the d-pad? At least that would get us to eight. Since there are quite a few more spells than button bindings, I wind up not even investing in other spells, let alone trying them out in combat. Stupid stupid stupid.Cumbersome menus and grossly inadequate quest list organization
Gaahhhh! You want to look at open quests for the region you're in? Tough. Quests don't even tell you which region they're for!
You have to guess or remember. While you can look at your abilities directly from the start menu, checking out your skills requires more button presses. And so on and so forth… and forth… and forth… and forth. The menu system and UI are generally craptastic.Inventory management
This sucks so much that even though it's really part of the menu system, it deserves its own line item. You can't lock items that aren't equipped but which you don't want to sell. You can't sort things. Shards and gems are lumped in with blacksmithing supplies. And so on. It's just hideous.Crates all over the place
It's a standard trope, but I'm sick of it. I can be in someone's shop, but if I smash all the crates in there and take whatever money was in them, nobody bats an eye. And piles of crates are everywhere, whether they make any sense or not.Dull story
It's gotten a little
bit more interesting with some added intrigue about who the character was before dying courtesy of someone who seems to know a lot she's not saying, but it still could've been much, much better.Lock-picking and dispelling
The lock-picking mini-game is stolen from Bethesda, but they actually made it a little more
annoying. And the ward dispelling mini-game, which more and more often you'll play right before or instead of the lock-picking mini-game, is even worse.You have power over the weave of fate!
Sounds great, right? But basically all it means is that every now and then, whenever you fill your fate meter and then deem a group of enemies worth using reckoning on, your attacks get briefly turbocharged and you get some extra xp for killing bad guys and monsters if you finish them off quickly enough. Whee.STUFF I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUTAlchemy
I don't hate it, and I know why it's there… but I'm really getting sick of it, and Amalur brings absolutely nothing new to the table. It just feels like make-work.The generic setting
I don't hate
the world, and I understand why they went with a bog-standard fantasy setting since they didn't want to give people reasons not to try the game, but still, it's just not interesting. I wish they'd at least tried to do something fresh with the tradition.People just tell you sh** like you made them take a truth serum
Again, I understand that it's sort of necessary for people to spontaneously spill their guts to a stranger in order to get quests moving, but still, it strains credulity too much. This is an element of the RPG standard that needs serious work, and the writing in Amalur often makes this particularly painful.Quests are mostly blah
I'm still hooked by the game, at least for now, but I can't help but think if they'd only put, say, 150 hours of gameplay in there — already a terrific number — instead of 300, they could've devoted more energy to making each of those hours more distinctive and inherently interesting. That said, based on a very
limited sampling, they do seem to get a tad bit better once you leave Dalentarch.CONCLUSIONS
All in all, the game has a bunch of issues that I hope the developers address in the sequel, but it's still really, really good. In almost every respect, it's what I was hoping for from the Dragon Age series and frankly didn't get with either game, and it improves on a few aspects of the Elder Scrolls games a lot
. If you like this sort of thing, play it. I don't think you'll regret it — really, not playing it would be the proper cause for regret, not skipping it. Unless you get fired from your job or divorced from your spouse because you spend too damn much time in Amalur, anyway.