We are now into mid-February and new software is coming thick and fast. Over the course of the last few weeks, we've seen Final Fantasy XIII-2, Soul Calibur V, the Metal Gear Solid HD collection, Catherine and The Darkness II launch in Europe. Friday saw RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning launch and I downloaded it via Steam late on Friday evening.
Usually I would have picked up one of the console versions but I'm having a few problems with my TV so I plumped for the PC version instead. My little gaming laptop is hardly a powerhouse, but after trying out the demo I was pleasantly surprised to find my humble box of tricks ran the game surprisingly well.
I've only put around four hours into the experience but even after only a small amount of time, I'm well and truly hooked.
Occupying a space somewhere between the Fable and Elder Scrolls series, developers 38 Studios (the company started by former baseball player Curt Schilling) and Big Huge Games have produced a title which, although not original, does a lot of things incredibly well.
Combat is snappy, with the player fluidly dishing out ranged, melee and magic attacks, while item crafting is flexible and easy to understand.
But the real joy comes from exploring this vast world and the game positively encourages you to go tramping off the beaten path in search of good old-fashioned treasure and unexpected adventure.
The sprawling world map suggests an epic adventure ahead so my paltry four hour effort would appear to be little more than a drop in the ocean. But with its wide range of quests, fabulous soundtrack and intriguing world to explore, I'll be putting a lot more time into Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning over the weeks and months to come.
*The screenshots here were taken by myself and while the settings aren't cranked up, they show that Amalur still looks great on slightly lower settings.