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The Legend of Dead Kel: DLC Review
The Legend of Dead Kel is quite a sizable expansion to 38 Studios’ Kingdom’s of Amalur: Reckoning, lasting about six hours for your $10 or 800 MSP as well as one of the better pieces of DLC to hit an RPG recently. Once you reach level ten you can embark on this “suicide mission” to kill the titular Kel, an undead pirate, via the tavern in Rathir.
Talking to Commander Garrick you can learn a bit of back story before it’s off to the docks to meet a certain Captain Brattigan. Brattigan proves to be the most annoying aspect of this DLC; she’s just about the least likely sailor in history to become a pirate hunter and how she ever got into the alfar navy is beyond me.
Amalur was an enjoyable, if flawed, RPG but I doubt anyone could argue that it did much for the quality of videogame storytelling. Brattigan is the best example here of why the games writer’s really should have taken a second look at their script before sending it off. “Jabbering jellyfish,” she says at one point in her annoyingly squeaky accent.
At this stage of the expansion both of you are shipwrecked on Dead Kel’s island and trapped in a cave with no obvious way out. I don’t know about you but in that situation “jabbering jellyfish” is not the phrase I’d use to sum up everything.
Another issue the writers really should have reconsidered is that towards the end Quay, a fate reader who’s been trapped on the island longer than anyone else, tells you it’s your destiny to take a companion with you to face Dead Kel. In a game where your character is supposed to be fate-less I’m not sure how something can be your destiny.
As for the main quest your hunt for Dead Kel takes you to some interesting locations like the dock where you steal his ship, the Requiem, after passing through the obligatorily large number of henchmen. In fact I don’t think there aren’t this many enemies anywhere else in the game.
And while most of the opponents you come across are the skeletal faer gorta two new enemy types enter the world in the form of the poisonous scavs and troll-like root golems, the latter, in particular can be a challenge regardless of your character’s level.
Throughout a fair amount of the DLC there’s someone accompanying you on your quest but every NPCs seem to suffer from that game affliction I can only describe as plastic sword syndrome. How else could they possibly cause so little damage?
Most of the people you meet were stranded on the island by storms or Dead Kel and have taken to worshipping Akara, the god they believe protects their village. Strangely enough he’s also the god who kept Dead Kel, well, not dead.
There are also plenty of side quests, most notably Gravehall Keep. This ancient abandoned house may not look like much when you first see it but Paddy the gnome gives the place a lick of paint, and by lick of paint read animal fighting pit and beast master, among other improvements. Unfortunately this extensive home improvement programme usually involves lowest common denominator fetch quests. Seriously, you’re renovating an ancient castle; there have to be some more interesting ways of getting the place up and running again.
Some gamers have encountered a glitch that prevents them from leaving the last dungeon and while EA says it affects only a small number of players it might be worth waiting until they issue a patch or else just have a few saves to fall back on. Otherwise if you like the main game there’s no reason you shouldn’t like this and if you didn’t, well, you’ve probably already traded it in by now.