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
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
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
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
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.