Having heard a lot about this upcoming title over the past few months I was both excited and intrigued to see that 38 Studios had decided to release a demo prior to release (normally a good sign).
My initial impression was of slight disappointment – the art style was very World of Warcraft and the combat system insanely ‘Fable-esque’. Initial impression was that we’d actually skipped back a to the start of this generation of consoles. Maybe it’s because I was really quite excited about seeing this play out, given its esteemed developer background.
Having played the first 30-45 minutes however what I can say without a doubt that you need to stick at it.. The combat grows on you really quickly and soon you are fluidly and without thought swinging your sword, firing off arrows and using magic in combination. The enemies I saw all had really different attack styles (especially the wolf pack I encountered) which meant whilst there was an element of hack and slash about the combat you have to vary your strategy to succeed.
The world map really does look massive, of course it will be interesting to see how that is filled in the final game, but my initial impression of the world was definitely “wow”. I just really hope that the world feels as alive as the opening zones and it doesn’t thin out the further you get into it.
If you can tolerate the awful pre-2002 menu system you will find a very rewarding character development system which allows you to really go to town on making your character unique, albeit with a traditional Warrior/Thief/Mage cast..
The demo also unlocks some unique items for the full version of Amalur (and Mass Effect 3 bizarrely) so its worth having a look for that if nothing else!
Our full review of Amalur will be on the site just as soon as Gh0sty can tear himself away from the game, I’m not jealous… much!