One of my favorite type of games to play are RPGs. I like the ability to step into a character and pretend I’m him/her for a few hours. I enjoy the ability to explore and get lost in an open world, where I can talk to the locals to get a feel for the place or stock up on health potions and other items in preparation for the next big battle. What attracts me to RPGs is being able to go at my own pace. It’s a similar feeling to when you take a vacation––you can do as much as you want or you don’t have to do anything at all. You plan according to how you want to enjoy your relaxation time.
While I may love the vastness and open world feel of an RPG, there are times when it can be too open world. What am I talking about? The slight problem with RPGs is there needs to be a balance between exploration and getting the sense you have seen everything you want to see to your satisfaction. This also extends to having too many options to buy certain items and not really knowing where those are. One game that has this issue is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
KoA has its share of pros and cons, but overall it’s an enjoyable gaming experience. The times when I complete a quest, I often need to restock on items I’ve used up or repair the armor and weapons I have equipped on my character. When it comes to checking the map for places to do this and fast travel to certain places I’ve already visited, oftentimes, I can never figure out where exactly are the stores that have what I need.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve visited the right area to buy or repair what I need, but many times I’ll be walking my character around in circles or driving myself crazy trying to find the exact store, house, or inn to get what I want. Sometimes I find the place and other times I don’t. Checking the local map hardly helps because it doesn’t tell you what exactly is inside the place until I go in it. I find myself increasingly frustrated when I enter a place and it doesn’t have what I need. It’s even more irritating when each time I go in and out of a store or inn, KoA has a loading screen you have to sit through until you can move onto the next place or location.
Maybe it’s a faulty in-game map design or maybe the world of KoA is far too big than the worlds of Dragon Age or Mass Effect combined. Either way, it’s not exactly a fun experience when you can’t take a few minutes to stock up at a designated area, leave, and then move onto the next quest you want to start.
RPGs are one of the best kind of escapist video games that invites free roaming and having an immersive experience. It’s not so good when things as simple as restocking on items or armor and weapons repair turns into a “Where’s Waldo” of finding the right stores and services to suit your needs.