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Ruined King: A League of Legends Story

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story

A surprising turn-based RPG to explore Runeterra with some of its most loved and popular characters.

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New winds are blowing over Runeterra and League of Legends. The franchise of the renowned MOBA is expanding its universe and deepening its history through new formats. First, we saw the premiere of the show Arcane on November 6 on Netflix, which explores the conflict between the cities of Zaun and Piltover and the origins of the relationships between some of the best known heroes in League of Legends. And now, just a few days ago, and as closure for the Riot Forge Showcase event, the surprise release of Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, the much anticipated RPG which is based on the League franchise and has been developed by the Airship Syndicate studio.

This new story seeks to add even more lore to the lore of the original game, and it takes place in the port city of Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles archipelago (formerly known as the Blessed Isles) where the Ruined King (whom many will already know from the introductory cutscene) has established his domain and extends his power through the Black Mist, which threatens all life on Valoran.

Before the challenge stand the intertwined stories of 6 of League of Legends' most famous heroes - Pyke, Miss Fortune, Braum, Illaoi, Ahri and Yasuo - as they unite (or tolerate each other) to face their common enemy. Each of them have their own reasons for taking on Ruin, and their individual stories, relationships and roles gradually unravel in the overarching narrative, which holds more than a few surprises up its sleeve.

Ruined King: A League of Legends StoryRuined King: A League of Legends Story

So how does Ruined King play out? Truth is, it is a turn-based RPG which features an aerial camera view for the exploration stages, and this reminded us of Baldur's Gate III or the studio's previous work, Battle Chasers: Nightwar. To guide the group of characters we rely on the help of a party leader, whom we'll use to move around the map as we explore, loot gold and items, and talk to the dwellers of a surprisingly rich and vibrant world, full of stories and little nods to MOBA players, especially when triggering conversations between the protagonist champions. To find out which objects or characters in the environment we can interact with, we can cast a kind of pulse that will highlight particular targets.

The story is told through animated cutscenes and dialogue with little interactivity, except for the odd decision, which will also lead us back to the path the game wants us to follow. Understandably, we can't get too side-tracked by the characters' actions either, since what the game is precisely trying to convey is this inevitable conflict they must face together. There is a certain amount of freedom in what you can do, such as chasing the marked objectives on the rewards board, going fishing on the docks for a while in a mini-game, or grinding enemies in the darker, more remote areas to earn experience and collect materials or potions. Quickly, though, we will see that the same thing happens for the characters' progression and for the enemies' levels, which is that they are closely tied to the main story path and everything in it is geared, if we may say so again, towards dealing with the story.

And while you can get out of some situations using diplomacy, our favourite method of facing challenges is through intense turn-based combat in which the choices made by the adventure main heroes shine through, as each of the heroes plays a role in the team just as if we were back in Summoner's Rift. For example, Miss Fortune delivers powerful ranged shots with her pistols, Braum protects the party by tanking and using magic damage, and Illaoi offers support with his spells as well as doing damage summoning Mother Serpent's Tentacles.

It is essential to develop the skills of the characters as we earn experience to avoid any unpleasant surprises. There is a huge range of weapons, armour and items we can equip our hero with, thus increasing the stats that benefit the team in combat. There is a dedicated enchantments submenu for upgrading equipment, which can be done with materials collected from all over the map. This will also force us to heavily farm minor enemies if we want to get our hands on these powerful permanent upgrades.

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story

The combat system is divided into three types of attacks, depending on when they are performed and the mana drain involved: Instant, Lane and Ultimate. Instant abilities need no mana and are generally ineffective at dealing damage, but create the right conditions to unleash the potential of the more powerful Lane attacks. The latter, in turn, are distinguished by the intensity with which they are performed (speed, balance or power), which is reflected in one of the three lines of the initiative bar that marks the attack turn of enemies and allies. It is crucial to think through and plan thoroughly when to perform an attack and the power of the attack, because the game is quite demanding even in the first stages.

Finally, on rare occasions and only if the meter is full, we will be able to perform Ultimate attacks, with which we can eliminate the most powerful opponents. There are also active environmental effects during combat that can affect us, such as healing or poison clouds, which we can also take advantage of and try to make enemies be affected by them.

We found very few drawbacks in our gameplay. We will say, though, that the autosave feature could be a little more frequent. As we chained some fights in our session of several hours in a row or we were surprised by a powerful enemy and the whole team was weakened as a result, usually we need to go way back to find the autosave point, which made us repeat huge parts of the game and replay the last hour or even more.

But, apart from that, the whole Ruined King package managed to surprise us, and we say that in a good way. Riot Forge and Airship Syndicate has managed to create a solid RPG with a very complex combat system, with many variables to take into account, and with a brand and expectations as high as the ones that the community holds for League of Legends. The exploration of the scenarios is fun and the secondary objectives, although scarce, lengthen the game experience without making it lose value. I'm sure we'll see more titles like this one to explore other areas of the huge world of Runeterra. Let's get into battle!

Ruined King: A League of Legends StoryRuined King: A League of Legends StoryRuined King: A League of Legends Story
08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
+
A story that expands on the lore of League of Legends. Rewarding combat with a lot of strategy. Superb visual art.
-
Auto-save should happen more often. Can be a bit confusing at first for RPG newcomers.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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