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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » KoA: Reckoning - KoA's Best Quest

Default KoA: Reckoning - KoA's Best Quest

December 19th, 2015, 03:40
PC Gamer's Jody Macgregor takes us back to Kingdom of Amalur to discuss one of its most interesting quests, House of Ballads.

As always, many thanks to Couch for his excellent news submissions!


I first realized what the House of Ballads was about–and that it might be something special–when I stumbled across a quest called ‘Reprisal, Reprised’. A young woman in some old ruins explained that the magic blue elf-people called Ballads Fae revere stories so much they re-live their legends in an endless cycle, like actors performing the same plays forever. One of those Ballads told of a troll who lived in these ruins, a beast so greedy he swallowed a ruby ring. If I helped her set the stage for that story the troll would appear, just like in the tale–and that we could kill it, dig the ring out of its stomach lining, and pawn it for cash. She’d figured out how to tap into the myth cycle of an immortal supernatural race, and used that knowledge to farm them for loot. It was both an arch comment on the repeatable quests of MMOs and a clever little story of its own.

Fantasy games love to show off their slightly tweaked versions of the traditional fantasy races. “Our elves are different! They’re super racist!” But in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning they really were different, which was surprising in a game that in so many other ways played it straight, with its textbook amnesiac chosen one hero trudging through a main questline about saving the world from an ancient evil. Like The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion it was the kind of game where you needed to go off-piste to find the good stuff, deviating from the tale it wanted to tell. You needed to travel to Sidequest Country.

The House of Ballads is a faction tucked away in the north of Amalur’s map, and their job is to guard the legendarium of the Summer Fae, who are the nice-guy elves of the setting. (You can tell because they have terrible Irish accents.) The Fae are sort of immortal, reborn into new bodies shortly after they die, but what makes them unique is the way that’s incorporated into their culture. Their limitless lifespans leave them in no rush to achieve things for posterity and so instead they happily repeat stories from a romantic past when knights and rogues rescued kings and slew trolls.
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December 19th, 2015, 03:40
To bad KoA: Reckoning was a mediocre open world as I had high hopes given the talent that helped developed the game. Hopefully someone will eventually buy the Ip.

Now as for the The House of Ballads quest I agree with PC Gamer it was one of the games best quests. I enjoyed both outcomes based on your choice, but wont spoil it.
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December 19th, 2015, 03:59
For me it was a bit higher than mediocre, frankly. I thought the setting and art direction were boring, and it had this usual MMO approach, but hey this game delivered. People need to remember that. It runs and plays much better than other ports out there, like Skyrim. And its an action RPG. So yeah its how you do a proper console port Bethesda. Too bad the studio went bankrupt as some really high minds were on it and wanted to make a MMO set in the same universe.
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December 19th, 2015, 04:11
For me it was discounted to $5 so I though lemme buy maybe it's okayish for times I don't have nothing else to play…

And then I never even installed it.
It wasn't remembered like something good.
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December 19th, 2015, 04:21
For me the first content did have a few gems like this scattered about it. The second continent you get to later in the main story though felt just about as big but dear god I was tired of the game by then and the good bits seemed fewer and farther between.
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December 19th, 2015, 04:21
Yeah, for $5, it's quite a steal by any standard, and I grabbed it up too. I wish I liked it more, I really do. I love the premise and the combat is fun…I was never a huge fan of its art style, though. I'm still not sorry I bought it, especially for that cheap. I love having it and I start it up from time to time just to play.
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December 19th, 2015, 04:28
Shame it didn't end well…I think the guy behind this( former baseball player or something) even got seriously ill after closing shop.
The game in the end simply lacked depth in almost every aspect and was way longer than it should have been. Loot was crazy good though and fighting that fat demon during the siege was probably the highlight of the game.
Then again, when isn't it?
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December 19th, 2015, 08:38
Like a lot of you I bought it cheep and got 60 ish hours out of it before I just sort of lost interest in it, but I enjoyed what I played and some of the quests were quite good as well. I don't regret having played it even if I didn't finish.
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December 19th, 2015, 09:23
I enjoyed it enough to play through to the end of this one, iirc was about 80 hours. I liked the setting and visuals. Combat got a bit one sided by the end but dropping the meteor spell and annihilating everything never got old. Horses for courses I spose but for $5 it's a steal. It took me two stints to finish, one got to about thr 50 hour mark and then I went back to it some months later.

Makes me wonder if my life is too busy these days for serious rpg's. Perhaps I should stick to casual stuff like this for a while.


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December 19th, 2015, 12:34
I wish they'd just up the difficulty and cut out a ton of the filler, then re-release. There's a great game in there fighting to get out, and it's drowned by a sea full of gumph.
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December 19th, 2015, 17:03
Originally Posted by Terry View Post
Like a lot of you I bought it cheep and got 60 ish hours out of it before I just sort of lost interest in it, but I enjoyed what I played and some of the quests were quite good as well. I don't regret having played it even if I didn't finish.
This pretty much matches my experience with it.
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December 19th, 2015, 19:57
I spent 300 hours with KoA and didn't even see the crystal continent. I think it's one of the best RPGs of the past 10 years. The combat was fun, the world was magical and the House of Ballads and Legend of Dead Kel DLC are some of the best content I've ever experienced in an RPG. Really great stuff. Due for a replay sometime.
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December 19th, 2015, 20:39
Originally Posted by Aubrielle View Post
Yeah, for $5, it's quite a steal by any standard, and I grabbed it up too.
Not by my standard. I did finish the game when it came out because I'm OCD that way, but if I knew then what I know now, you couldn't have paid me to play that game.
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December 19th, 2015, 23:40
Yes, the House of Ballads was a genuinely interesting bit of lore.

The gameplay didn't grab me, so I never finished it -- but there were aspects to the writing that really did put new twists on the rpg genre's standard tropes.
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December 20th, 2015, 01:37
Is there a brief guide to what's actually interesting and worth doing? I'm tempted to buy it on the cheap again, and just play through the recommended quests, skipping all the filler and MMO style stuff.
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December 20th, 2015, 03:25
Originally Posted by Falksi View Post
Is there a brief guide to what's actually interesting and worth doing? I'm tempted to buy it on the cheap again, and just play through the recommended quests, skipping all the filler and MMO style stuff.
Main story and faction quests…it won't blow your mind, but at least there is a story behind. Similar to Skyrim's guilds, but without radiant prerequisites.
Play it on hard and ignore the crafting.
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December 20th, 2015, 12:15
Just to post a counter viewpoint to Fluent's possibly overly generous positivity:
This was one of the weakest mainstream AAA RPGs that I've played in some years.
Very hollow, generic MMO-meets Fable structures and content, limited challenge, more flash and style than substance in most areas.

Once I realised that the content was not going to get any more unique or interesting,
I completed the House of Ballads quest-line (which was one of the better lines…) Scholia Arcana faction quests and then finished up. Admittedly, I bought it cheaply via the last steam sale so can't really complain too much. Like all games in my backlog, it needed to be finished at least once.
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December 20th, 2015, 12:37
I don't think I'm being overly generous. Any RPG that can be played for hundreds of hours without even completing it once is a massive, engrossing RPG.

I loved the graphical design and the magic feel to the world. Most of the zones in the game were stunning and beautifully designed. The game was a bit too easy but nowadays can be played with a hardcore mod that makes it harder. Crafting was fun and developing a character in the game was far from my favorite I've ever played, but kept things interesting enough before hitting level cap. You could, of course, also install an XP gain reducing mod nowadays as well to fix that.

I enjoyed the story and presentation, too. I wish that team could have had a chance to make a sequel but I guess it wasn't meant to be…
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December 20th, 2015, 12:58
The game looked great and I'm glad some folk enjoyed it, but ultimately for me it just got too boring. I completely agree with those saying a cut back version would be better - the length of a game in itself isn't a sign of quality.
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December 20th, 2015, 13:46
Originally Posted by BoboTheMighty View Post
Main story and faction quests…it won't blow your mind, but at least there is a story behind. Similar to Skyrim's guilds, but without radiant prerequisites.


Play it on hard and ignore the crafting.


Cheers Bobo 👍
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