If you’ve played Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning for five minutes after the prologue, then you’re well aware of how massively huge this game is. You literally cannot take two or three steps without some NPC asking for help. Even if you have no interest in sidequesting your heart out, you may take part in the Faction quests. It’s insane and overwhelming, especially to someone like me who can’t resist sidequests. What’s even more overwhelming is the fact that you as a player can completely forge your character’s destiny. Want to be a mage? No problem. Have you changed your mind? No problem! Want to be good? You can. Want to be evil? You can do that too. The world of Amalur is at your whim, and it’s really up to you to determine how you will play. And really, this is the dichotomy that the strategy guide for Reckoning has to face. While it does its best with guiding players through the mire of sidequests and main missions, it kind of feels like it “gives up” when it comes to effectively providing strategies for the boss fights.
The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning strategy guide does do one thing very well, and that is how it organizes the overwhelming mass that is Amalur. The walkthroughs are broken up into three sections: Area Guide, Main Quests, and Faction Quests. This layout could be good or bad, depending on the player. If you decide to do everything at once, then you’ll have a lot of flipping back and forth. For example, if you’re traveling toward the next point in the Main Quest and run into a sidequest or six, and you drop what you’re doing to immediately focus on these quests, you’re going to give your fingers a workout. Combine a Main Quest with a Faction Quest and sidequests…you get the idea.
However, if you take things a bit at a time, you’ll really see the perfection in this guide layout. For instance, if you choose to join a Faction and focus just on those quests, then you can fast travel to any area you unlocked while performing those quests and use the Area Guide portion to complete all sidequests in that area. This method is far more efficient, and it honestly helps the game become less overwhelming as well as distracting. My biggest problem with the game was that I would get so sidetracked by so many quests that I would forget what I was doing in the main storyline.
It helps that the page layouts for each of the walkthrough sections were absolutely flawless as well. I really can’t ask for anything better when it comes to page design for strategy guides. Maps that are well marked with easy-to-find legends? Check. Screenshots that accurately depict what the written portion is saying? Check. Written walkthrough is broken up in clearly defined sections that easy to discern your character’s progress? Check. For the latter, this guide went one step further. If you can see from the scan above, each section is labeled with a number and reference to a particular map. From there, the user can pick out exactly where they are on the map that is conveniently placed above or near the written content. I was never confused about where I was or where I should be seeing what. It is positively brilliant.
In terms of the strategy guide providing accurate information as to what is going on and what to expect in upcoming battles, it succeeds. In terms of providing strategies for defeating bosses, it lacks. My picking on this isn’t entirely fair, I admit, as the game gives players so much freedom in how they choose their combat and defense. However, I wish the guide had given some direction, such as listing boss weaknesses to particular magic or weaponry. It starts off offering direction in the beginning, which is most likely due to the character having very few powers early on, but then it fizzles out. At least the boss fights are rarely hard, especially if you have plenty of potions at your disposal.
One feature I really, really enjoyed in the book was the History of Amalur section in the back. Over 20 pages spans the 1000-year history of Amalur, complete with mythology and concept art. I love reading the history behind fantasy, so I ate that up with glee.
Overall, I do highly recommend the strategy guide, especially if you are a completionist. The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning strategy guide literally leaves no stone unturned, whether the stones are sidequests or collectible lore stones. It’s the perfect companion to something as massive as Reckoning. It’s also so pretty on the outside and inside, it makes a damn fine coffee table book.