Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Fatesworn Review
It’s been almost 10 years since Kingdoms of Amalur released any new content. Now published by THQ Nordic and remastered by Kaiko, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning launched last year to little fanfare, with future DLC to arrive this year. As fate would have it, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Fatesworn finally dropped on December 14, 2021.
The original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was a decent ARPG in its own right, with the misfortune of launching at an inopportune time sandwiched between two titans: Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. It didn’t help that my experience with Kingdoms of Amalur was a rushed one, but the game was content-rich, with enough side quests to last you a month and even more depending on your dedication.
Fast forward nine years later, Fatesworn is here, and just like an old friend, I’m curious to see how the game has stood the test of time and hopefully provides us with the much-needed conclusion the game needs. Is Fatesworn fated to a future of more content or would it fade into obscurity?
A product of its time
For those who have played the original and are curious about its new DLC, take note that Fatesworn is an endgame DLC, and you will have to complete the main questline to access it. Unfortunately, if the last iteration of the series you have played was the original Reckoning, you’ll have to go through the adventure again.
The good news is that going through the whole story is actually recommended as there have been way too many games in between the original and remaster to count. Surely there were many memorable set pieces to re-discover and my memory has been jogged when facing off during those moments, so reliving them became a treat in itself.
The bad news is definitely resisting the urge to do every fetch quest on the map. Every exclamation point hovering above noted NPCs was inviting, but I know the moment I start one quest, it’ll just become a feedback loop of endless fetch quests until the new year. I wanted so much to see the new content so it was a struggle going against what I’ve been conditioned to do.
That being said, there are just way too many side quests! Open world games have really progressed throughout the times and most certainly many developers have realized that they don’t need to be Skyrim, but Kingdoms of Amalur is a product of peak open-world boom. Every inch of the map has a side quest, a faction quest, fetch quests, you name it – if there’s a type of quest, someone in Amalur has it. It’s obscene!
I’m here to kill Chaos
What I appreciate with Fatesworn compared to the other DLCs is how integrated the added content is to the actual world. Unlike with the previous DLCs, you will have to spend a chunk of time in its world before you can hop back to the Faelands. They are their own bubble universes and in The Legend of Dead Kel, you would have to sail back to it and it’s not accessible by fast travel. The snowy mountains of Mithros are always available for you to visit.
Which is a good thing because you need to be at least level 35 with a decent attack and armor rating to comfortably traverse. Anything below level 30 is asking for a world of hurt.
That being said, about a quarter into Fatesworn, you will come across the Chaos World where the demonic creatures Nishkaru come from. Someone is opening portals all over the world and you have to find the source and stop these Chaos creatures from infiltrating the world. It’s really a great addition to the game as it introduces a few new mechanics to sink your teeth into. You can traverse to Chaos portals to close them from the source and in doing so you have to fight Chaos creatures.
Chaos creatures have another life bar that can only be depleted by fighting them with chaos weapons, which you have to craft yourself. In addition to that, you can create chaos potions and utilize chaos gems. Fatesworn
forces encourages you to engage in crafting if you didn’t invest in those skills in the previous playthrough which adds an extra element for the game and uses every possible part of it to maximize your experience. Plus, it’ll make you use that secondary weapon if you’ve been just focused on your primary the whole time.
Kill. Loot. Level Up. Repeat
I appreciate the developers using a lot of creativity to attempt to maximize their world and utilize many of its underappreciated parts. There are quests that are time-specific where you can’t continue it during different parts of the day, utilizing its day and night structure. Faction consequences carry over to Mithros – if you betrayed the Warsworn, any Warsworn will attack you on sight. Some quests also have puzzles that could be discerned from reading the various texts you’re handed. They’re subtle differences and it really switches things up when previously many of the quests got tedious.
However, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re still following the same tired gameplay loop of kill, loot, repeat. It even doubles down on that increasing the level cap to 50, so you could keep questing and looting to your heart’s content. With that, the chaos system that follows definitely gets integrated into the world and it just adds to the already packed game with more things to do. As if there’s not enough to do already.
In the end, Fatesworn becomes another “by the numbers” DLC, with the extra added bonus of giving players more activities after the endgame. Personally, The Legend of Dead Kel had a better story and quests as it pre-dates Dragon Age Inquisition‘s Keep and Inquisition even utilizes some of its features. It’s fun to build your fiefdom and keep going from there. Fatesworn adds more tasks and it’s really better to see Fatesworn as part of the whole Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning universe rather than on its own.
Furthermore, the mainline quest adds another 4-6 hours to the overall gameplay pushing it to between 40-50 hours if you want to really comb the world dry of everything. Though what starts as an investigative mystery devolves into endless fetch quests. After a few hours of grabbing materials to breach and defeat the chaos creatures, you realize that you’re just running around fetching. Even the final quest before the final battle is a multi-fetch quest to assemble chaos armor. I appreciate the puzzles and thinking of the box approach to some of the other quests, but in the end, it just ends up as it originally did: Kill, Loot, Repeat.
What we liked:
- An integrated world to maximize Kingdoms of Amalur‘s endgame content.
- Chaos world switches the game up to add additional challenges.
What we didn’t like:
- Much of the same thing in the long run.
- Dated open world elements such as too many side quests.
- For OG players who haven’t played through Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, you have to complete the main questline to access Fatesworn.
Verdict: Wait For It.
Fatesworn adds more to Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning and it does its job to maximize the endgame and integrate new elements into the main world. However, by itself, Fatesworn is a DLC you can wait on after you’ve scoured the main Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning world. If you’re looking to maximize your experience, this is a DLC that’s worth considering, but it’s not a must-buy on its own.
While I did enjoy many of its aspects, what takes away from the experience is that it eventually still follows the same tedious gameplay loop despite many efforts by the developers to subvert that activity. In the end, user interaction always trumps product design and most challenges can still be solved by beating it down. If you’re into it, more power to you.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Fatesworn is re-visiting one of the many dated gameplay features that plagued previous generation RPGs. There is just way too much open-world bloat and it gets really exhausting to dedicate 40-50 hours of game time to a repetitive loop of kill, loot, and repeat. I really hope if a sequel would come out for the developers to consider a less dense quest-based open world but consider a world like Ghost of Tsushima: Rich with lore and adventure with the right balance of side quests and collectibles.
*Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Fatesworn was reviewed on an Xbox Series X with a review code provided by the publisher.