REVIEW – Riot is not only pushing League of Legends in the MOBA category, but there will be platformers and action-adventure games. Now there’s an isometric RPG so that more people can say that it’s an LoL; I mean, LOL story because all of these games have/are called A League of Legends Story, which – how shall I say it? – is in our faces everywhere.
Runeterra is the setting of Ruined King. The game, announced in 2019, expands the League of Legends world, which I will also refer to as LoL from now on. It’s an isometric, team-based RPG, so if you’re interested in the MOBA backstory world itself, League Of Legends Story games can provide more information about individual heroes (or, as they call them, Champions). Since there are a lot of them, Riot has a lot of potentials to expand in this form, which they’re not just doing in video games (because there’s Arcane on Netflix).
Pirates, street gangs and some monstruosities
Bilgewater is full of pirates and street gangs, and… Shadow Isles isn’t that pleasant either, but both areas are pretty fair to look at. And our first character is Miss Fortune, who considers herself a pirate queen but is relatively far from it, she wants to unite the gangs under her control, and in a short time, she starts to exterminate. Then, there is the half alive, half dead (that definition probably applies to me too) Pyke, who is known as a serial killer… and they’re the good characters in a story that, while it might raise moral questions on the surface, doesn’t when you look underneath. I’m not going to write everyone because there are six characters, and they all have a pretty nicely developed story, and we can expect character evolution as Ruined King progresses.
Bilgewater, by the way, is topped by a trio of Silent Hill-like fog, horror and tortured souls; this event is called Harrowing, and the attack from the sea is not exactly without danger, and our brigade heads for the islands to make peace. Meanwhile, there are developments within the team, and as a result, the cold and reserved Yasuo opens up, as Braum’s storytelling is impressive. But why do I mention such things? Because it sets the mood. We’re not dealing with unrelated characters, and since I don’t have much to complain about the dubbing either, you never know what to expect, so those who play League Of Legends Story often can have a fair experience, and those who don’t (points at self) can at least relax between fights. But that is only one side of the coin.
While it’s safe to dive into Ruined King without any knowledge of League Of Legends Story, that doesn’t mean the product itself will stick around in the long run because, er, let’s just say that there’s about as much newness in terms of combat. Okay, there’s the lanes feature you might be familiar with from LoL, where you can use stronger attacks in three lanes depending on whether you want to hit your opponent harder or faster. And if we can get past that, then, or better yet, by then, we may realise that the game has a sub-par interface. Also, in F1 games, the tutorial button pops up every time I open DRS, and I have to look at it once for a second to make it disappear forever, and about the same thing happens here. There are so many tutorials that could be turned into poems, but let’s not do that and instead ask whether the overuse of tutorials at the expense of the user experience hasn’t done too much harm to Ruined King.
Oh, and let’s be glad because you can search for mission icons on the map, which can shortly remind you of finding a needle between bales of hay, and then tear your hair out thanks to the difficulty level jumping up and down, meaning the challenge has become so thorny that they’ve undoubtedly spoiled it. Fine, I’ll use potions. Oh, they cost a lot… (Now I could say that about so many things.) So the experience isn’t exactly perfect, and it could be argued that it could have been more because of the problems with the underlying architecture. Oh well.
Ruined King: A League Of Legends Story, with its turn-based battles, gets a seven-and-a-half because I didn’t like the art style that much, and while it could be said to follow the LoL style, anyone who plays the MOBA should feel free to treat it as an eight. It’s a fair game, but it may only stick with fans in the long run. For others, no. Oh, and a final curiosity: Did you know who developed the game? The name Airship Syndicate may be familiar because the last time I heard of them, they were the makers of Darksiders: Mega Drive… I mean Genesis, two years ago. Oh, and the game is elsewhere: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (and with backwards compatibility, it’s also playable on consoles released last November), and there’s no scandalous performance on consoles either.
+ Well-developed characters and the synergy between them
+ You don’t have to know LoL
+ Good voice acting
– The user interface
– Cookie-cutter combat
– Spikes in the difficulty curve
Publisher: Riot Forge
Developer: Airship Syndicate
Genre: turn-based isometric RPG
Release date: November 16, 2021