Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, the review of the new RPG from Riot Games



The review of Ruined King: A League of Legends Story tells us about the new role-playing game from Riot Games that tries to capitalize on the fame of Arcane

If you know Battle Chasers: Nightwar and its particular aesthetic (by none other than Joe Madureira), then Ruined King: A League of Legends Story will seem more than familiar. If in addition to having a clear idea of what we’re talking about you have played, and enjoyed, the turn-based RPG developed by Airship Syndicate, then you will not have trouble letting yourself be captivated by this small, but fascinating extract of the rich narrative universe of League of Legends, thanks to the Netflix series Arcane (here the review), lives a new, well-deserved glory.

It is still a turn-based role-playing game, whose mechanics do not differ from Battle Chasers, and therefore may seem two products too similar, but the heart of Ruined King beats more thanks to the narrative component. Which is not intended in the slightest as a demerit side gameplay, but as a specification on what, in the end, differentiates the two games.

To find out in detail, join us in Bilgewater at the court of Sarah “Miss” Fortune, where our review of Ruined King: A League of Legends Story begins.

Una storia di League of Legends

La copertina di Ruined King: Una storia della Lega delle Leggende

After an introduction set just over a millennium before the events narrated, we are in Bilgewater: Sarah Fortune has for some years obtained the city for herself, tearing it from the control of the cruel Gangplank after killing him, avenging the death of his mother at the hands of the pirate himself. His rule over the city has yet to find the balance and is not helped by the presence of the Shadows, from the nearby island. Having emerged victorious, not without heavy losses, from a previous Rebellion (the moment when the Shadows unleash themselves without control over anyone in the vicinity), Sarah will face an identical if not worse threat. Along with her, once again, is the Kraken priestess, Illaoi, and a host of new companions who, for one reason or another, will walk the same path. The objectives are different but all seem to lead to the same place: between unlikely alliances and ancient enemies, the story of Ruined King takes shape.

Told through beautiful footage and dialogue supported by equally good character portraits, although static, the events take their time before taking off. There is a way to know well all the characters, from Sarah Fortune to Yasuo, before going there where everything seems to have origin. The dialogues are well written and the Italian dubbing enhances them even more in tone, making them pleasant to enjoy even at their own pace. The same goes for the optional conversations, small events that are unlocked during the phases of rest and give way both to better understand the characters and to see how they bind to their companions. Overall we are satisfied with the narrative that, in addition, also sees dubbed some NPCs, giving the game world even more depth.

The question that arises at this point is: can a neophyte of League of Legends play Ruined King without feeling at fault? No doubt: the beauty of this game is right here, in the fact that you do not have to know necessarily characters and events to enjoy the story. The latter is, in fact, set after the events of Burning Tides, a story used to introduce the town of Bilgewater, but knowing them is irrelevant to the understanding of the plot – as is knowing Sarah and the others. It can come in handy to better appreciate certain nuances, but if you’re talking about the plot of Ruined King per se, you can go easy.

Familiar gameplay

Il cast di Ruined King: Una storia di League of Legends

The play structure of Ruined King is as linear as can be. Picks up with both hands from the previous Battle Chasers and brings to the screen an experience simple in its exposure but no less fun than others to which we may be accustomed. There is the main mission to follow, any secondary to unlock, some bounty here and there and a lot of exploration, especially if we think that the main environments of the game are two. The game knows how to keep us, especially thanks to a level of challenge already demanding in normal mode (can be changed at any time): the fact that above this there are two others makes Ruined King the excellent test for those looking for a challenge of a certain level. At your own risk, though.

Although similar to Battle Chasers, the title is not the carbon copy and, indeed, evolves in many respects, first of all, the growth of the characters. With each level increase, our champions obtain consequent benefits that can vary from learning skills, obtaining runes, power-up points and, finally, the possibility of increasing the effectiveness of both runes and skills. All this works in a rather simple way and can be subverted at any time to find the most suitable combination in battle. All skills are learned autonomously by leveling up, while their effectiveness is dictated by us through a tiny tree of development (the same in form but different in substance depending on the skill): spending upgrade points we can improve that skill according to the path that we like more, choosing from time to time A or B according to the effects applied. The variety may seem limited, but the difference in the fight is felt, not making it necessary to a tree of development unnecessarily lengthened.

Abilities are accompanied by runes, which have a dedicated menu and follow more or less the same concept as the upgrades. You can improve them by spending rune fragments, but they must be progressively spent in larger quantities to be able to unlock the next skill. They are also locked until you reach a specific character level, making grinding necessary if you want to boost your champion to the max. Like power-ups, runes also have two possible approaches to choose from for character development, with the difference being that one does not preclude the other. You just need more time to improve the way you want to.

Otherwise, between inventory, fishing, map, journal entries and whatnot, Ruined King is similar to one of the many RPGs out there. It should be noted that during the progression there is no on-screen indicator that shows the direction to take, either during the story or in the middle of a side quest. From time to time you have to open the map and check where you are based on the objective – that is in fact reported but the tokens are the same for story and missions. It’s up to us, based on the indications, to figure out which one corresponds to our needs at the moment. Moving along the different environments is quite fast, the characters can run or keep a slower pace and depending on who we are using you can see a slight difference in speed. Within Bilgewater you can also use fast movement to macro areas of the city, while dungeons tend to have shortcuts to unlock on the way.

Overall, while familiar to those who know Battle Chasers, Ruined King offers an approach if not new at least fresh and in line in some respects with the mechanics of the original League of Legends – like the runes.

Fighting in the Lane

Un combattimento di Ruined King: Una storia di League of Legends

There is, however, one real novelty within Ruined King’s system and it is found in its combat system. Conceptually, the game once again looks to the past and offers us instant attacks, skills, waves and the mechanics of overload. The real strength, the one that rewrites a bit ‘approach to RPG and is the basis of all the strategy in the game, is the mechanics of the Lane. There are three in total: Lane of Speed, Balance and Power. The names are pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re wondering, the first one allows you to position yourself favorably along the timeline and act quickly at the expense of damage, which will be slightly lower; the second one is instead well balanced in terms of both speed and damage done; the third one is all about brutality and, sacrificing the speed of action, delivers devastating attacks.

The entire combat system is built around the Lane not only as a matter of priority, but as a matter of structure. Enemies in fact have abilities that often require the judicious management of lanes to emerge victorious, and this is where you need to make equally good use of the ability to examine the enemy. Some fights, in particular, require you to use specific lanes for the duration of the fight, or to switch between them as the need arises; in some cases, there are even lanes that are closed to us, not because they are literally, but because using them would accomplish nothing. Every new fight, as long as the difference between levels isn’t enough in itself to ignore some of the logic, is a challenge, particularly since Ruined King hardly puts us at a marked advantage.

As we’ve written, even at normal difficulty the experience is challenging, and sometimes all it takes is the slightest thing to find yourself defeated. It’s not just about brute force, Ruined King requires a judicious use of champions and their abilities, whose concatenation of effects can prove to be the discriminating factor between victory and defeat. The fact, then, to see the weakest enemies run away in front of us helps to understand which battles are worth facing: an implementation not so obvious, that of premature escape, because not all RPGs apply it and there are times when enemies ignore their safeguard to launch to suicide. In this case, however, you know in advance which battles might be worthwhile, especially since the grinding is heavy – and that’s perhaps the main criticism of Ruined King.

The experience points obtained are more or less equally divided between all members of the group, active or not. The maximum cap to level up is always a thousand, which softens the issue a little, but when the group members begin to increase you feel even more the weight of a rather invasive grinding. This is especially noticeable with the bosses or an “evolved” version of the basic enemies: their strength, even at the same level (or even lower), can be enough to kill a champion on the spot but the experience points obtained at the end do not do justice to the effort required to come out a winner. We would have preferred, with such a system, a greater generosity in the exp if only with the bosses, but also in small part with the most common fights, given the appreciable difficulty of the fund. We understand the need, given the level cap, however, would not hurt a greater balance.

Technical and artistic aspect

The art style of Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is remarkable

As anticipated, Ruined King is a game that boasts the art direction of Joe Madureira and for this reason is very appreciable. There is not much variety in the environments, being after all only two macro areas of the adventure (Bilgewater and the Isle of Shadows), but you can see an undeniable attention to detail that offers an added value to the total yield. Design of characters and monsters excellent, whether they are portraits during the dialogues or models in game, and as already mentioned the Italian dubbing makes it all much more appreciable. With regard to the soundtrack we have made progress compared to Battle Chasers and some tracks are pleasant to hear, although not shining to the point of being impressed in the memory. From the technical point of view we have not seen any uncertainties whatsoever: the game is fluid, no crashes or bugs.

Comment

Ruined King: A League of Legends Story can be defined as the natural sequel to Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Aesthetics always beautiful thanks to the hand of Joe Madureira, familiar gameplay but renewed and, thanks to the Lanes, able to give a small turn to the genre of turn-based RPG, all within a well-written story, which enriches the lore of League of Legends and makes it accessible even by those who do not know the original game, enhanced by an excellent Italian dubbing. The grinding seemed excessive, given the disparity between the experience points obtained, how they are distributed and the difficulty of some bosses, but beyond this we can say that Ruined King evolves what was good Battle Chasers had already done. If you liked the first, in spite of a certain familiarity will know how to do this.

PRO

  • Visually splendid
  • Very good Italian dubbing
  • The game structure has evolved
  • Strategy is key
  • Excellent lane mechanics
  • Grinding a bit too much
  • Sometimes unbalanced exp distribution
  • Have you noticed any errors?

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