I played the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo last night. After the tutorial-in-a-tube you're given 45 minutes (excluding dialogue and using the menus) to explore Startville and the surrounding woods. The lore is a pretty standard Tolkien rip-off - you're in a tranquil, pastoral forest on the Western border of the huge map and in the far east an army of evildoers is advancing and destroying civilization. I imagine that as you progress in the game you get farther east and more involved in the war. There are elves, humans, fae (magical nature elves, basically) and gnomes (which basically fulfill the technologically-savvy-short-guy role that dwarves usually occupy). The world is HUGE. Absolutely enormous. I've heard it may be bigger than Skyrim.
There seem to be plenty of quests. In Startville (aka Gorhart) I was given quests to join a Warrior's Guild clone, continue the main quest, explore ruins for some apothecary's apprentice, retrieve a doubtful young monk who left the monastery, and find a way to heal some wounded fae. Pretty standard and short enough to not be monotonous. No complaints though I've heard from others the fetch questing gets really tedious later in the game.
The gameplay was average. Combat is more or less press x till the enemy is dead but your character does really cartoonish lunges and rolls so it's a bit more interesting than, say, Elder Scrolls style combat. Every time you level up you increase both some side skill (like blacksmithing or persuasion) and your chosen combat style, which is either might, finesse or sorcery per the usual stereotypical RPG roles.
Another thing that needs to be noted is that this game is more or less a cartoon version of Dragon Age. They've got the minimap, linearity, pretty much identical menus, and they even stole the Mass Effect conversation wheel (likely because it is also published by EA). I also kept getting told I was unlocking items for use in Mass Effect 3. The art is even similar (the inside of the monastery chapel reminded me a lot of Dragon Age chantries). The open world sets it apart, though, and makes me want to try it out more. I probably will in a year or two when it costs $5 at the bottom of the bargain bin.