Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Teeth of Naros Review

20 Apr 2012

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Electronic Arts
Developer:Big Huge Games
Release Date:2012-04-17
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
At the same time, "Teeth of Naros" is content to simply tread water when it comes to its quest design and gameplay. If you can pick a standard MMO quest trope, "Teeth of Naros" has it. Fetch quests, kill-the-monster quests, and so on are all present, and while the original game often turned these basic concepts around by providing twists in story and gameplay, they're played completely straight in "Teeth of Naros." At its worst, I honestly just wanted to stop playing, rather than trudge through another generic cave dungeon with monster closets every twenty feet.

There are some definite moments of levity, originality and playfulness that appear from time to time. The Kollossae's version of "debate", for instance, follows a might-is-right philosophy that sees questions on life, the universe and everything answered by the one with the sharpest steel, and I came across a mad hermit in Idylla's sewer system who had some rather curious things to say. The problem is that for every five minutes of interesting, entertaining and clever things going on, there's an hour of boring fetch quests, or repetitive and grindy combat against the same three enemies. There's even a single dungeon the game makes you run through four times, with the exact same enemies at the exact same intervals. Yes, four times.

Even the gameplay additions made feel extremely modest in "Teeth of Naros." There's a new class of weapons, primal, which are able to inflict a "primal magic" status on monsters, which lowers their magic resistance and opens them up to spells and special abilities. There are also few new additions as far as monsters go. The Pteryx, a large flightless bird, is the most original of the creatures, but otherwise you'll be spending hours button-mashing through the same old Sprites, Trolls, Kobolds, Wolves, and Marauders (effectively reskinned bandits) that you're probably sick to death with by now.

"The Legend of Dead Kel" stood out by providing a genuine change of pace from the norm - as I noted in my review, it had a different theme, a lengthy ongoing quest to rebuild a keep, some varied level design, and new enemies that required new tactics to defeat. Even the filler - the endless treasure chests and monster ambushes that plagued a lot of Amalur - was reduced or removed in favor of more thoughtfully constructed encounters. It felt much more like a traditional RPG to me, if on a smaller scale, and a big improvement on some of the MMO trappings of the original game. "Teeth of Naros", meanwhile, represents a regression into Amalur's worst portions.

Conclusion

The fact is that "Teeth of Naros" just doesn't bring enough new anything to the table. Yes, it's got beautiful new artwork, a large city to explore, a sizeable and gorgeous overland area to cover, and about a dozen new dungeons to plunder, but the unfortunate truth is that it's just more of the same. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a game with 200-ish hours of content, and as I noted back in my review, it didn't have enough interesting gameplay to sustain it nearly that long. Strapping on some new art assets and an ancient Greek theme doesn't change the fact that the gameplay itself simply isn't new or exciting.

As a result, "Teeth of Naros" is a DLC I can recommend only to die-hard fans. If you're still playing Kingdoms of Amalur and need more places to explore, more loot to find and more quests to complete, then you'll get exactly that out of "Teeth of Naros." However, as someone who expected a lot more after "The Legend of Dead Kel" and its substantial improvements in gameplay and design, it's hard not to be disappointed by the return to monotony. Hopefully 38 Studios and Big Huge Games will go back to the drawing board and make some more genuine gameplay improvements for their next DLC adventure.