Mar. 24th, 2017

xyzzysqrl: (RUN AWAY)
Let's look back at the old Hat Project rules for a minute.

Rule 1 - I should make a good-faith effort to finish each game I start.
Rule 2 - However, some are arcade style, some last forever/are super-long, some are really hard, and some will piss me off enormously or be in a genre I can't stand. As such, after a few hours of gameplay, I can Escape Clause out of a game and go "Y'know, screw this." or "I will come back to this." But I still have to write about it and why I quit.


I know that ruins the suspense (as if the header didn't), but hear me out: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning LOOKED exactly like my jam from a distance. A large sprawling open-world action-RPG with active, combo-heavy combat and multiple factions and lots of secrets all over to discover and dungeons and...

...and I don't care. I sat here trying to dissect the problems and figure out what was wrong with me or the game, but in reality it kept coming back to that one simple statement. I don't care about the combat because the experience gain is swift and you rapidly outlevel areas.

I don't care about quests outside my area because going into an area locks it to your current level, and I rarely care about quests inside my area because the questgivers present them with a total lack of urgency.

It felt like a parody of RPGs at times. I'm standing there casually picking every dialogue choice off a menu while in the background a dude who's been gutted rolls around going "ow. augh. aaa. ow. ugh." for twenty minutes. I'm supposed to grab him a healing item from across the map. He'll lay there making "uwah" noises until I do. No rush. No pressure.

Okay a lot of games do that though. It's just... nothing about this game does anything for me. I played for twelve hours and can't think of anyone who's really a CHARACTER. No one stood out. The main quest crew are the closest, but even they're like "I'm a drunk with a sudden new purpose in life!" or "I'm seductive and know more than I let on but won't tell you anything!"

The game starts with a perfectly good narrative hook, and more perfectly good narrative hooks drift by but none of them stick. They're all the basest excuses for why you alone are proactive in the world, or why this ancient insular house of fae will let you in but no one else, or at their very worst they're just "Yo, you look like you exist, do you want to join our (thief)/(fighter)/(mage) guild?"

It's the jumbo-size shredded wheat biscuit of gaming. There's a lot to chew through but none of it MEANS anything and while maybe you could apply the same statement to a lot of games, this one had me feeling it BAD after only a few hours.

Even now I want to say, perhaps it's my mental state more than the game. Perhaps I should come back to this later. Right now though... I can't imagine doing that. In spite of the beautiful landscapes and fluid combat, I don't care about Kingdoms of Amalur and I don't care about anybody who lives there, and I have too many games I DO care about or feel the potential to care about to bother more with this crunchy but dry experience.

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