eventually became “the heavy stuff that you’d need to find ten different
merchants to buy so that you could buy more potions.” You’d occasionally find
better items, but it wasn’t that common, and they were usually only slightly
better than what you had, adding one or two more fire damage over your old
Above: We'll admit that one item in particular was really awesome
Amalur: It’s more
akin to a traditional loot-fest game, with enemy’s corpses exploding with
rewards and chests hidden around every bend. There are still plenty of trashy
items to be found, but the good items usually come with a wider variety of
stats, making different swords, bows, helmets, and boots feel… different. There
are also more classifications of items, including Set Items that will reward
you for collecting multiples of the same set.
Skyrim: Combat in
The Elder Scrolls is usually clunky, and Skyrim’s is no different. Using a
melee weapon is slow and draining, and ranged attacks are sometimes imprecise.
The magic system isn’t terrible, but digging through menus to access spells is
a UI nightmare. Plus, the best part of any combat situations is using your fus
ro dah and knocking people down.
Above: Amalur's combat makes Skyrim's look downright dull
third-person action is fast, and more reminiscent of God of War or Zelda than
anything else. Amalur rewards players for mixing up different combat types, and
though it might seem run of the mill, it’s still somewhat deeper than expected.
The blocking system is timing-based, and puts an emphasis on moving around the
battlefield and countering attacks instead of just mashing buttons. It’s more
rewarding, more complex, and just more fun, with the ability to chain together
different attacks to create long, fast, fluid sequences.
5. User interface
Skyrim: The UI in
Skyrim felt like an amalgamation of several ideas that didn’t work all that
well together. Leveling up had the player looking to the stars, using the map
was a chore, and finding certain items requires you to dig through dozens of
inventory screens. It wasn’t uncommon to need to pause the game several times
each battle to find the right weapon to use or potion to drink.
Above: UI is boring to look at, so here's a guy killing a thing with a sword instead
Amalur: While far from perfect, Amalur’s UI is significantly better than Skyrim’s. Everything works
together cohesively, and it all feels like part of the same game. Everything
can be found in the same menu, and sorting through the inventory is much easier
thanks to collapsible screens that made finding items simple. Even the
quickslot feature is nicer, mapping things to a radial wheel instead of a long,
encumbering list for faster access.