apoppin wrote:Yes, as soon as i can finish my big backload of reviews and evaluations, i am going to be adding some new games.
"Our PC audience is really, really engaged. All the players in Skyrim are, there over ten million people that have played the game so far, which is amazing to us. Multiple millions are online with their PCs so it's done really well. And with Steam we get to see all the stats.
"Of those millions of people on the PC the average playtime is 75 hours. It's something we'd like to see come to consoles one day. You get this thing where it's not just the game but [players] can now take it and change it. Gaming is the ultimate combination of art and technology and allowing the players to be their own director."
Howard also teased some ideas from a recent internal game jam at Bethesda, where developers were given free reign for a week to experiment with anything they wanted, so long as the final result was incorporated into the game.
Dragon mounts, spears, kill cameras for magic, assassin's vision, hanging and moving structures in dungeons, build-you-own houses, vampire feeding, spell combos, mounted combat and shouts using the Kinect peripheral were all shown off, with Howard adding that some may or may not appear in future DLC.
Joystiq's review by Richard Mitchell the investment and big names seem to have paid off, his brief piece gives the game a full five out of five stars. For comparison the site recently gave Skyrim the same full marks, Dragon Age 2 a four and Final Fantasy XIII-2 just three.
Mitchell praises the combat and the beauty of the world, "a world that is immaculately crafted and beautiful, yet still simple and accessible. Every corner reveals a person in need, a treasure to collect, a secret to uncover, a battle to wage."
"While not all quests bestow exciting rewards (more gold? Gee, thanks) the world is so littered with loot and goodies that almost every journey is worth the effort," he explains, although also admits he hasn't finished the game after 30 hours of play, so this may not be true of every side quest.
He's also pretty pleased with the real nuts and bolts of the game, its fighting.
"Even if a quest fails to pan out, the combat handily makes up for it. Each class of abilities offers a different experience, but all offer a thrill that isn't often found in an open-world role-playing game."
While he recognises there are flaws, he refuses to give them any real weight.
. . .
Eurogamer's eight out of ten review offers a more comprehensive criticism of the game, and compares it to the other big titles that have recently made waves in the genre.
"Whilst it's designed by Elder Scrolls veteran Ken Rolston (Morrowind, Oblivion) and has many features you'll recognise from BioWare's and Bethesda's games (an obsession with the arts of conversation and thievery, for example), Amalur isn't so flexible," argues Welsh.
"It's professional, tidy, satisfying - and deeply generic. The biggest problem with Amalur is that, for all its fine craftsmanship, it's obviously a world made to order. It's not the creation of a fertile young mind but of a successful baseball player's bank account. 38 Studios' owner, EverQuest and WOW fan Curt Schilling, decided to make an MMO and needed a world to build it on, so he had artist Todd McFarlane and novelist R A Salvatore drum one up. But you can't buy inspiration, no matter how big the names."
But these somewhat ingenious origins and workmanlike feel don't seem to get in the way of being actually quite playable, even if the average gamer will have seen it all before.
. . .
"Then - just as the world opens out and the story picks up traction - that motor really starts to sing. That's when a solid, workmanlike game becomes one that's virtually impossible to put down."
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