"Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" also earns high marks for presentation. Visually, the environments are stunning, as are many of the animations. McFarlane's influence is evident throughout the world of Amalur, but the game maintains a graphical flair all its own. The audio work is also a treat, thanks to some convincing voiceover work and subtle yet effective background music.
Given today's sequel-dominated gaming landscape, "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" is a welcome sight, an ambitious new product from an ambitious new developer. Crafting an engaging, entertaining role-playing game is no easy task for any developer, let alone one without any real proven track record. But Schilling's group has managed to pull it off without a hitch. It's far too early to begin talking about potential Game of the Year candidates, but "Reckoning" has certainly positioned itself to be in the conversation.
"Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning"
Developer: 38 Studios/Big Huge Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available for: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 ($59.99)
Rating: M for mature