Ruined King: A League of Legends Story comes at a very important time for the franchise Riot Games. With Arcane, the Netflix series that came to an end a few days ago, the brand of League of Legends it has never been more widespread outside its comfort zone.
If spectators from all over the world have known, perhaps for the first time, this world made of characters with an over the top and iconic design, even the players have the opportunity to enter the world of Riot Games from another entrance, so to speak. .
Ruined King it is in fact the attempt to give to LoL a different videogame context, which is far from the logic of MOBAs and free to play – and their often toxic communities, it must be said – and which can welcome those looking for more classic videogame experiences. In short, the proverbial landing on other shores.
The landing which is not a casual suggestion for anything else, because Ruined King is set in Bilgewater, an area of the world that players from LoL they know well. A city of pirates, cutthroats, mercenaries and people trying to make ends meet in more or less legal ways. A place of opportunity and secrets, dark alleys and cultists of a sea deity, run by Sarah Fortune, aka Miss Fortune.
While the piratess finds herself having to manage the city after finding her revenge by murdering the bloodthirsty Gangplank, who is not quite dead, the mysterious King of the Shadow Isles has created an unstoppable evil that lashes out on the rest of Runeterra, which has influenced the lives of many people. At least six heroes.
Ruined King, an RPG born from experience
Ruined King is a project wanted by Riot Games within Riot Forge, the new label which will welcome all the products of League of Legends which are not League of Legends. It is developed by Airship Syndicate, the team of artist Joe Madureira who produced Darksiders Genesis but most of all Battle Chasers Nightwar, GDR from which Ruined King inherits many of its characteristics.
The RPG structure is very similar to the title released in 2017, with the classic three-character party and turn-based combat. In the course of the adventure you will come to compose a group of six heroes in which Braum, Miss Fortune, Ahri, Yasuo, Illaoi and Pyke will find themselves sharing a fight against the Shadow Isles, and the creatures that come from it.
Characters that fans of LoL they know well, and that it will be interesting for the uninitiated to discover. In parallel to Arcane, curiously, too Ruined King introduces the cast in a very fluid way, making the stories and characters of these whimsical heroes perfectly understandable even without knowing anything about the world of Runeterra.
They are so characterized from the aesthetic and narrative point of view, but above all in terms of gameplay. Each character has its own specific role, also made explicit by the game itself, and an extremely peculiar style of play. Finding the most suitable party configuration for you will be a lot of fun, and even for the types of enemies and game situations that you will face it will be impossible to find the perfect party.
Beyond preferring, for example, Braum’s defensive abilities, Pyke’s invisible combos, or Yasuo’s high damage at the cost of a very low defense, each hero also has a dungeon ability with which to expand the phases. exploratory. The aforementioned Pyke can dive into the pools of water and separate from the group to explore hidden areas, for example, the mighty priestess Illaoi can strike the ground in front of her breaking what she finds, and Yasuo generates a tornado that can engage enemies from a distance and slow them down at the start of the fight.
Beyond that there is one very well structured character progression. Along with the classic items to equip, the heroes unlock new moves as the levels progress, which can be enhanced by skill points that you can spend very freely to improve them. Added to this is the Rune system, which will give you the freedom to use the points available to build at least a couple of main builds ideal for each character, plus the hybrid you can try to create according to your tastes.
The game structure is therefore very linear, with many side missions (some very well written) and things to find. But with only two large play areas, Ruined King it never gives the sensation of finding oneself in front of a castrated world, on the contrary.
Accomplices of the settings built with maniacal care, always suggestive and with views that differ considerably in some cases, and many of the secondary assignments mentioned above, you will soon find yourself captured by this simple and effective game loop.
AND if you love challenges, Ruined King it has two levels of difficulty above the standard one, which already requires some attention especially in the most important clashes. In this sense, combat, which inherits, as we said, the turn-based structure of Battle Chasers Nightwar, adds a system that ideally recalls the lanes of League of Legends.
Instant abilities act at the same time they launch, and are basic attack, defense, and a different buff for each character that can work on themselves or on the entire party. Lane skills are the heart of the hero’s offensive and defensive possibilities. Each of them, which recall the same dynamics that they have in the MOBA of references, can be launched on one of the three lanes: that of Speed, that Balanced, that of Power.
As it is easy to guess in the first case they are faster but less powerful, in the second they are standard, and in the third they are slow but more effective. This applies to both attacks, heals, buffs or debuffs, and choosing how to cast them affects the composition of the combat turn. Casting a quick but less effective heal can allow you to do so on an ally before the enemy attacks, as well as reverse planning a powerful attack following a series of turns (even by allies).
The system is very tasty, and when there are enemies with important immunities or triggers to activate, but also environmental dangers always placed in the lanes, each turn becomes a strategic issue – to try to exploit it in the best possible way.
In this, though Ruined King is a role-playing game with many similarities compared to the competition on the market, a certain uniqueness is found in this combat system. Making potentially devastating combos, countering deadly attacks from enemies, and rescuing allies for the sake of the headset becomes a game within the game, and generates a very pleasurable satisfaction with this system.
A world to be discovered
If you hang out a bit around Riot Games, even if only with a fleeting glance, you will have understood by now that there is a team of artists among the best in the world of video games. In this sense the collaboration with Airship Syndicate and Madureira’s peculiar artistic direction do even more justice to Runeterra, and in this specific case to Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles.
The game world is fascinating in itself, but the characters hatched with this new aesthetic are even more intriguing. History torn between a prophecy, a pirate returning from the dead and an evil that comes from deep within it is exciting and captivating in its own right, and the storytelling through films made like cartoon tables in motion is a notable extra touch of style.
As compared to Battle Chasers there is also a step forward as regards the construction of character models and settings, which in some situations has nothing to envy to the most famous productions, at a glance. All supported also by a high quality sound system, from dubbing in Italian to the soundtrack which, while not darting with memorable traces, supports the narrative and the fighting moments with effective and pleasant traces.
Version tested: PlayStation 4
The world of League of Legends it is very vast, to find out we recommend the official guide to Runeterra.