Electronic Arts released Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a single player RPG fantasy game that hit the shelves with a whole lot of street cred behind it. The game is alleged to be the brainchild of best-selling fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore with special help from Todd McFarlane (comic book illustrator extraordinaire turned toy mogul) and Ken Rolston, lead designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and IV: Oblivion. Even without Rolston’s involvement in the game, the comparisons between Kingdoms of Amalur and Skyrim couldn’t help but take place. So how about it travelers? Is Kingdoms of Amalur a Skyrim killer?
The answer is no.
While the games may appear to be similar on the surface, they really are two different animals. True, both are single action RPG fantasy games, but the genre is about the only thing the two have in common. The following is a quick synopsis of the games’ differences:
- Skyrim places an emphasis on character creation and leveling in the true spirit of role playing.
- Kingdoms of Amular places its emphasis on combat action and is more of a “button masher” game. Character creation and leveling is not as refined.
- Skyrim is an open world sandbox and is the closest thing you can get to playing an actual table top RPG. Players are allowed to explore a gigantic world at their own leisure.
- Kingdoms of Amular is more liner in nature. The world is big, but you can’t simply go wherever you please.
- Skyrim’s graphics are more realistic, rendered in a muted cinema nouveau style reminiscent of The Lord of Rings or Gladiator movies.
- The graphics in Kingdoms of Amular are bright and colorful, bordering on the cartoonish in a World of Warcraft sort of way.
- Skyrim’s inspired soundtrack is on par with it’s graphics. The music seems more suited to a big budget movie than a video game.
- Kingdoms of Amular’s soundtrack is good, but lacks the theatrical punch of Skyrim’s.
- Due to its emphasis on role playing elements and open world environment, Skyrim is a game that can be replayed over again with much enjoyment.
- Kingdoms of Amular’s linear qualities make the game repetitive and re-play value is limited.
For me, Skyrim really shines as a role playing game through its emphasis on character creation and open world exploration. I find myself not playing a video game so much as I am living an alternate reality. The game eclipses everything that’s come before it and sets a high mark for video RPG games. This doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have its shortcomings (weak voice acting and repetitive dialog come to mind), but Skyrim is a game that you experience, and not simply play. Kingdoms of Amalur on the other hand is only a very good video game. Role playing elements take a back seat to slick combat and splashy graphics. This doesn’t mean that Kingdoms of Amular is a bad game — far from it — but Kingdoms of Amular never transcends beyond a game, and it can’t compete as an RPG with Skyrim. Although comparisons will be made between the two, Kingdoms of Amalur will never be a Skyrim killer.
What’s your opinion? Who wins in the battle of Skyrim vs. Kingdoms of Amular?