Kingdom of Amalur: The Excessive Use of Black (Demo Review)

2012-01-18 by . 12 comments

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75 million dollars.  Apparently, that’s what you can get from the Rhode Island government as a game development studio, despite having no prior published games at all.  No wonder this state is broke.  Well, as a gamer, RI resident, and taxpayer, I feel that it is my duty to at least try out the demo that was recently released (and provide faint praise) in order to do my little part.  But wait!  This first game, called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, isn’t even developed here in RI.  The studio is actually created by the Maryland-based subsidiary of 38 Studios.  Well, that does it.  Time to bust out the gloves of bashing +5

First of all, a demo is supposed to TEMPT you into buying the game.  If this is their attempt at that, Reckoning falls flat on its face before it even reached that stage.  After a hefty 2 gig download (wow, I hope there’s lots of Todd Mcfarlane art in there!), the very first thing I end up staring at is a stupid EA login prompt.  


Why does a demo require a login?

I received my second unpleasant surprise shortly afterwards.  Apparently, the demo did not like the fact that I had to switch out of the demo to find out what my EA account was .  It did not like it so much that it crashed when trying to switch back in.  At this point, restarting the demo did not get me past that crash and I had to reboot my computer.  Once that was done, I had to think long and hard about whether or not it was worth it for me to continue down this path.  Since I am naturally stubborn, I decided to doggedly push onwards.

As soon as I reached the main menu, I burrowed my way into the options screen to see what kind of tweaks and modifications I can make.  Although there was nothing that stood out too much, I did see something that looked promising:

I'm looking at you, Skyrim.

Hey, when your experience with a demo has been a EA login prompt, a game restart, and a computer reboot so far, you have to hold on to the tiniest good thing about the game for as long as possible (faint praise, remember?).

I finally get around to starting the introduction chapter.  A very (supposedly) dramatic scene began with lots of blood and killing, and then I heard some woman mumble in the background.  Oh wait!  That was supposed to be the narrator?  The clanking and dramatic music of the intro totally blanked out the voice. I had to turn the volume way up and concentrate in order to pick out some of the words being spoken.  Here’s a suggestion, find a louder voice, like James Earl Jones or Patrick Stewart (oh wait, that’s been done, sorry) for your intro.  After another obscenely long wait, I finally got to create my character (yay) and jump into the game:

"The demo"


Well that about sums up my entire experience with this “demo”.

As a parting gift, attempting to exit the demo forces you to watch an extremely long trailer with heavily pixelated graphics at certain points.  I couldn’t alt-f4 out fast enough for my own liking

All I have to say is, if the demo is this buggy and glitchy, then there is a high likelihood that the final product may end up on this list.  I am so happy that it’s stupid Maryland taxpayer’s money being wasted on this game instead of RI.  Oh, and the game does provide a nice shade of black.


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  • Wipqozn says:

    I thought about picking this up at some point, but if the demo is this bad I’d rather not take my chances with the final product.

  • CyberSkull says:

    The demo wasn’t that bad on the 360. The worse glitch I had was an audio bug that seemed to coincide with a UI bug that skipped conversations.

    What I’d like to know is did I get all of the demo unlockables?

  • CyberSkull says:

    @yx_ You misstagged this article, you forgot the “s” in Kingdoms. The tag on Gaming.SE is kingdoms-amalur-reckoning if that is of any help.

  • kc says:

    its DEMO..take a chill pill and relax..ive played through it numerous times and never had a problem..some ppl like to be overly critical to ridiculous point..mountains and molehills and all that..

    • yx_ says:

      I would LOVE to be able to play the actual demo, but as you can see, its kind of hard when all you get is a blank screen.

  • kc says:

    and wow are you overly hostile..and seems like your making it rather personal as well..i though “reviewers” were suppose to be objective?

    • yx_ says:

      Something as poorly done as this demo deserves no praise, and any reviewer who would do so after the same experience I had is just as obviously not objective.

  • Sterno says:

    I hadn’t heard about the $75 million before. Thanks for that tidbit! Though from what I’ve read, that money is actually for a different project by 38 Studios, an MMO.

  • Palglo says:

    Just so you know the black screen is an ATI issue, just turn off post proccesing in the menus

  • Kechlion says:

    It seems as though you set out to be disappointed by this demo. The issues you mentioned, such as not being able to alt tab out and back in and having a black screen… that’s seriously just going to be what we PC gamers have learned to deal with over… oh I don’t know the last 10 years at the very least? And if you’re using an ATI card… I hate to say it but I don’t know how you didn’t see a problem coming.

    A few things to note – the demo is an old build that they finished so they could put more polish into the game, it’s not the final product. Have you thought to try it on another system, if you have one available? Or have you went to their forums to find workarounds to the issues you have? Once again, as a PC gamer you ought to know how to use Google to find fixes for problems, seeing as how making an application work on every system setup is impossible if you want to actually release a game.

    I’m going to have to say to chill out and wait for the final product to see if it is worth buying.

    And about the $75 million thing – You are right that Rhode Island is helping finance 38 Studios… as part of an Economic Development package. It’s a program to create jobs in the intellectual property sector in their state, enticing tech companies to move there. It’s not some free money for nothing, or even an investment that they can expect a return on. It’s similar to a tax break that entices companies to move into their state, which cost just as much if not more in lost taxes at the benefit of creating jobs. They have moved their development studio to RI and probably created more jobs in the state. Sensationalism is so tabloid.

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