5 things Kingdoms of Amalur does better than Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls is the king of the genre - everyone knows that. We gloated about it in our review, posted countless videos of the wonders and oddities we discovered, and even named it as a runner-up for our game of the year. Needless to say, we never expected that 38 Studios’ Kingdoms of Amalur would come anywhere close to providing the massive, overwhelming world that Bethesda put together in Skyrim.

But despite being a smaller game from a smaller studio with smaller goals, there are certain areas in Amalur that shined especially bright, and even some spots where the newcomer bests the grizzled veteran.

1. Skills and Abilities

Skyrim: Each level earns you two things in Skyrim: a stat to buff, and a single skill point to use. This point is extremely valuable. There’s no differentiation between combat, social, or crafting trees, so it’s remarkably easy to screw yourself over. Put too many points into crafting at an early level and you’ll barely know how to use the weapons you make. Split your points between a few social and stealth skills and you’ll be lucky to survive a single encounter with a dragon or giant. Spreading yourself too thinly can lead to having a much less powerful character, and since there’s no way to reset skills, you might need to restart if you mess up. Oops.

Above: The skills and abilities of Amalur are explained in this trailer

Amalur: Amalur has a clear definition between “skills” and “abilities.” At each level, you’ll gain one point to put into a skill, which includes things like crafting, persuasion, and stealth, as well as three points to put into combat abilities. You’re still not able to become a master of everything, but the system promotes trying out different elements of the game without fear of getting trapped. If you do decide that you made a mistake, or don’t like the skills you picked, you can return to a blank slate for a few thousand coins, which lets you experiment even more.

2. Multiclassing

Skyrim: You’re sort of creating your own class in Skyrim, which allows for a good deal of customization – but since skill points are so limited you’re never really able to take full advantage of the different trees in a single playthrough. You might be able to put some points in stealth and some in light armor or archery, but there are only some minor synergies between them. There's no room for experimentation. Also, since there’s no way to get refunded points, multiclassing can end very badly.

Above: Choose wisely, because you can't go back on this one

Amalur: Though the combat skills are much more limited than they are in Skyrim, Amalur’s multiclassing rewarding players for dabbling in the different skill trees. Putting a few points into the Warrior skill tree and some in the Finesse tree will unlock special multiclass perks, and the more points you spend the more powerful these synergies become. Mage/Warrior will turn you into a magical warrior with enchanted blades and the ability to teleport around the battlefield. It works in every direction and rewards you for mixing the classes as you please.


  • Landfizzle - July 20, 2014 2:30 a.m.

    Agree - One more thing, and I expect a lot of people to flame me for this: I like how there's no creation kit with KoA. I can focus on just playing the game without getting sidetracked by the near-infinite amount of mods, then struggling to make them all work together.
  • eddym - July 14, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    The author says, "skill points are so limited you’re never really able to take full advantage of the different trees in a single playthrough". That's simple not true. I'm at level 66 in probably my fifth play through and I am a master of light armor, smithing, enchanting, archery, one handed, legendary blocking, legendary lockpicking, legendary pickpocketing and mediocre in a handful of other skills. and i've just barely tapped into the main storyline after completing the dawnguard and dragonborn add -ons. now i will begin to concentrate more on some magic in order to continue leveling. I found this article by google searching "better than skyrim" and after looking at videos and reviews I cans see already that it is not better than skyrim. but I still may purchase it on ebay anyway. dark souls 1 and 2 fell short as well even though i overcame some pretty difficult obstacles in the game and made it into around the level 70 area in each game. still waiting for a game like skyrim. hopefully bethesda will put out fallout and ES sequels relatively soon.
  • eddym - July 14, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    additionally, if you have the dragon born add on, you can trade in all your skill points in any tree and trade them for another skill when getting your perk points back. so you can experience all the different skills in one playthrough
  • jsind83 - April 30, 2014 5:53 a.m.

    I was so shocked to hear KOA did not do well enough, that its company went out of business. I hope they find a way to release KOA2. I heard they were in the process before they got shut down. I like variety in a game. Its a smooth XBOX 360 game. I still play this game today. I like the Fable/Zelda feel of the game.
  • fredrik-nilsson - August 2, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    Aaaw for crying out loud, you're downright bashing Skyrim and saying it's a shitty game. Stop doing that, you're supposed to be professionals, not some freaking twelve year old fanboys. About the skillpoint system. In Skyrim, focusing mainly at combat skills in the beginning and getting a nice base for your character and then going with social/crafting skills later (level 20+) works out great. Why is everyone rushing so much? And second of all, it's kinda self explanatory. If you go social/crafting instead of combat first you're obviously gonna get raped in battle, makes sense doesn't it? Multiclassing in Skyrim works out great as well, if you make the right choices. Everyone seems to forget that there are 81 levels in Skyrim. Some people believe that they're basically done when they are level 30, and they have spread out their perks in different skilltrees, of course they'll be disappointed. I'm only level 45 on my latest playthrough, and even at that level I have a multiclass character. A Destruction/Conjuration mage with a Heavy armour and Two-Handed twist. I have a maxed out smithing level, and a maxed out enchanting level. AND, I play on Master difficulty. Just focusing one thing at a time is all you've gotta do. Since I have 4 pieces of equipment each enchanted with 25% less mana consumption for Destruction and Conjuration magic, I don't need to spend any perks in either of those trees that will decrease my mana consumtion. Simple, I have 10 extra perks I can put somewhere else. All of a sudden I want to switch to Archery? I smith 4 new pieces, and enchant them with a percentage of increased bow damage. Maybe I want a super sneaky character, able to assassinate people in their sleep? I need only to spend 2 - 4 perks in the sneak tree and enchant some armour and jewelry with sneaking and one handed skills. Easy. You think the combat in Skyrim is poor? Seriously? That's what's so awesome about it. It's realtime, and you get to aim by yourself. Meaning it requires some sort of skill not only from having to be able to use the right ability at the right time, maintaining a steady health/mana but also having to be able to aim your attacks. KOA looks just like any other hack and slash compared to the combat in Skyrim. The loot in Skyrim is also a lot better, no other game franchise has ever come close to how good it is in TES. Why? Because you can actually pick up what the enemy is using. If I see an NPC with an awesome looking armour, I want to be able to kill him and pick it up. In most games, can't do that, it'll be like you just killed someone who looks like Sauron and then when you come to loot him all you get is a leather shield. In Skyrim, that's never the case. About the UI, that's probably the only thing I can agree with you about. The UI for the PC version of Skyrim is garbage. Although, with the click of a button and some replacing of files you can change the UI to a PC optimised UI mod. Even without this mod, you can go on fighting for hours without ever needing to go into the UI. Ever heard of shortcuts? You can bind your 1-8 keys to any spell, weapon or armour you'd like. Really easy. In about a second I go from my fireball/lightning casting mode into a tanky melee warrior and I can just as easily go back. I'm just curious, to you who wrote the article, have you even played Skyrim at all? I mean, you don't have to be a huge Skyrim fanboy with 300+ hours of gameplay to know what I've just written, I have a merely 50 hours of gameplay on all my characters all together, and I've known this since the first 10. And another thing, Skyrim would be a lot easier to understand if you had ever played Morrowind and Oblivion. The Elder Scrolls is kind of a unique franchise which differs a lot from other RPG's.
  • halo44327 - March 23, 2014 6:48 p.m.

    Just because the loot is the same as the enemies doesn't mean its loot system is good. That odes not make a lot of sense. You OBVIOUSLY put way too many "perfects" into Skyrim. Skyrim is not a perfect game. Its still flawed. Your just too much of a "fan" to realize it. Framerate drops heavily in that game and the game is heavily bugged and was never fixed. Freezing/crashes is also a common problem both PC and console. Also a game is heavily flawed if you (using a PC) HAVE to TWEAK a game to work smoothly. Games should not have to make you change your game's doc files and change its game files to make it work right. I have played the original Elder Scrolls and I know what I am talking about. The controls were awkward. Realistic is not the right answer here either. Have you actually PLAYED this game? Instead of judging a game by appearance, how about renting a damn copy and trying it. THEN you can criticize it. I agree with Gamesrader's article here. Even Dragon's Dogma did a better job on combat than Skyrim's. Skyrim is still a fun game, but its beyond frustrating to get to boot. I own BOTH PS3 and PC copies will the Legendary Version and my god are they both a pain in the ass to work right. Skryim despite fun, is really broken and is really buggy. And they did not much to fix the problems.
  • caleb-ross - June 26, 2012 5:36 p.m.

    All the Skyrim fan boys please leave..the combat is veryyy clunky and the framerate on Skyrim even on the console is TERRIBLE. It's boring, it's repetitive and it comes nowhere near the excitement you get out of KOAR:Reckoning.
  • daredevil1935 - December 29, 2013 7:38 p.m.

    How is the combat system ''clunky''? Its supposed to be realistic. Can you spin circle blades at 40 mph? The frame rate on consoles is set to 30 and can't go above. On PC, it can go as high as your system is capable of. Personally, I got prob the same excitment out of Skyrim as KoA: Reckoning. Your just bashing Skyrim.
  • mykolas5b - January 11, 2014 2:45 p.m.

    Because firing flames out of your hands is realistic. Seriously, I understand that Skyrim is an amazing game and has a lot of fans, but you can't go around saying that it's perfect. It's not, while it's atmosphere size and explorability(?) is astounding the combat system is pretty horrible for a game.
  • halo44327 - March 23, 2014 6:42 p.m.

    I agree with you, friend. The Skyrim is indeed a great game but i is flawed too. Sure the PC does fix it up but you still have to "tweak" it just to get it work right. A game shouldn't have to FORCE you to tweak it lose frame rate and other things. Its realistic in some sense, but a game should be more based upon its gameplay, not just graphics and how "nice" it looks.
  • fg094 - March 30, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    Ok, i had to make an account just for this. Skyrim's combat is not in the least bit realistic. not in the slightest. even with heavy armor an bow would one hit kill (an arrow from a long bow would go through plate armor, muscle, bone and still stick out the other side a good six inches) have you ever swung a greatsword? the tip of the blade moving at 40mph would be about right. the slowness should be the recovery between swings not the swing it's self (and honestly by the time you would be "level 100" you should be able to use momentum between swings rather than just loose it.) if you want realistic play war of the roses on steam. that's about as real as your going to get in a game.
  • patrick-bronn - February 7, 2014 4:16 p.m.

    Oh come now! You have to give the graphics of Skyrim SOME credit! Everyone has a favourite, whether it be Skyrim or KOA: Reckoning. Personally, I prefer the old DOS games. DOS was boss back in the day. Was much simpler then. Not nearly as many bugs to worry about.
  • jsind83 - April 30, 2014 5:40 a.m.

    Agreed 100%!
  • ahmet-ozturk - March 15, 2012 4:12 a.m.

    I used to love Skyrim, but then I took a generic arrow in knee. Also I played Fallout 3 and Oblivion all the way, so its quite confusing when skyrim beaber fever boys start talking about "generic" in terms of kingdoms of amalur. What's generic is a company able to make the same glitchy game 3 times over with different graphics and top sales each time is generic. For gods sake they even carry over the same npc quests and the famous glitches that Bethesda is known for.
  • Xtra_Tasty - February 10, 2012 6:20 a.m.

    for some reason, havent played nearly as much skyrim as i thought i would... i lost over like 400 + hours playing morrowind... i havent even beat skyrim yet.. only made it thru oblivion all the way once... so morrwind was the funnest for me.
  • zachariah-wagner - February 5, 2012 8 a.m.

    frist off I played the demo for KOA and it was good, but it had a fable feel then skyrim. I played all three and you can not compare skyrim to KOA.
  • mothbanquet - February 4, 2012 4:41 a.m.

    Having played the demo, I felt a bit 'meh' at first but after being given a glimpse of the potential depth of some of the things mentioned here, notably the skills and classes, I re-evaluated my opinion. I played it a little more and now it's sitting on preorder. Will it be as good as Skyrim? Probably not but it's an unnecessary comparison. Both are good quality RPGs that will deliver many, many hours of entertainment and fantasy goodness. What more could we ask for?
  • yaswanth-veeramachaneni - February 4, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    Yes you are right both are different games,I don't know others compare it to skyrim
  • DeathbyFira - February 3, 2012 9:31 p.m.

    I CANT WAIT TO BUY THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • yaswanth-veeramachaneni - February 3, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Guys dont compare Skyrim and Kingdom of amalur. yes skyrim combat is worst but skyrim has a lot of depth.Not in story but in gameplay.Random encounters are great in skyrim and every side quest has a story of its own and how many of you actually read books?I read a lot of them,reading them makes a me to learn more about the skyrim world. I put 160 hours+ into skyrim but still playing,because i like deadly dragons mod:-)

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