Born from an offshoot of the most popular and richest MOBA ever, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story marks the return of one of the most respected artists in the world of comics, namely Joe Madureira.
After having worked for a long time in the Marvel house on the Uncanny X-Men series, the artist has decided to devote himself to another passion of his: video games. He did this by founding Vigil Games, which under the THQ label published the first two chapters of Darksiders, of which Madureira has mainly taken care of the artistic side. In the meantime, he also found time to collaborate with the Italian Naps team (Baldo’s boys!) For the last chapter of Gekido and other secondary projects.
The failure of the US publisher forced Madureira to return to the world of comics … until 2014, when she founded her second development company, Airship Syndicate. Together with the Texan boys the good Mad has developed Battlechasers: Night War (based on the fantasy comic series made between 1998 and 2001) and Darksiders Genesis, both released by the new THQ Nordic label.
Thus we come to the present day, in which we find Madureira still being an avid consumer of video games, while her “brushes” never get tired. His style seems perfect for League of Legeds and when Riot decides to expand the franchise, that’s what he turns to. Thus was born Ruined King: A League of Legends Story and it is precisely it that we talk about today.
Surely you have had the opportunity in recent months to see some trailers or images of the game and you will have convinced yourself that you are facing yet another Diablo-like. This is not the case and we are much much closer to Battle Chasers, a story-driven role-playing game which, however, grants the player a fair amount of freedom of movement, in order to allow him to unearth the many hidden secrets.
The narrative, however, has a much more marked importance in Ruined King, do not forget that we are talking about a game set in the universe of League of Legends, which never as in this period is experiencing an expansion in all possible directions.
Knowing the world of LOL certainly helps but, if you have never had anything to do with it, you can still enjoy a story told on parallel tracks that often and willingly make the characters that are protagonists cross. It doesn’t matter if their faces aren’t known to you: it takes little to fall in love with the characterization of beautiful and determined criminals like Miss Fortune.
What about Illaoi, the Kraken priestess whose build is at least as large as her faith? Our favorite champion, however, remains Braum but you will not struggle to find your / or after a few hours of play. The videos that tell the salient points of their stories and the numerous dialogues that reveal their hidden sides contribute to outlining their character traits as much as their voices, located in Italian in an excellent way. The game is completely dubbed in our language and really lends itself to very few smudges … on the other hand, Riot’s budget is not lacking and anything less than this would have disappointed us.
The play structure of Ruined King: A League of Legends Story therefore rests on solid foundations and in the first hours it accompanies the player through mechanics that most of us have already experienced dozens of times. The pseudo-tutorial, however, is absolutely not invasive and believe us, it will serve you above all to assimilate the peculiarities of the combat system. This apparently resembles one of the many turn-based systems seen in the past and indeed its backbone is inspired by those, but Airship Syndicate has added a couple variations that spice things up quite a bit.
The first time you engage in a fight you will notice that on the lower part of the screen there are three tracks that represent as many approaches to the fight: Speed, Balance and Power. Choosing one moves the “pawns” of the protagonists and their opponents, modifying attack times, damage inflicted and any buffs / debuffs present on the field. The first lane offers speed at the expense of power, the third the exact opposite and the middle one … well, somewhere in between of course.
But it does not end there because during the game you will find yourself facing monsters that can only be hit using one of the three tracks or alternating speed and power as needed. To make the most of the potential of this system it is essential to know the characteristics of the opponents, which can be consulted during the battle.
We warn you, if you are the type of player who hates grinding, Ruined King may twist your stomach. In fact, there will come moments when you will necessarily have to face enemies initially much stronger than you, which will grant you very little chance of victory. As always, the best way to come out victorious will consist in increasing the attack and defense statistics of your group which unfortunately tend to go up slowly in this game. For this purpose, a system borrowed from the Souls-like has been included in the game: every time you rest to recover your energy, the enemies in the surroundings will come back to life and you can hunt down.
The difficulty level is consequently higher on average than other RPGs. Played in Normal mode Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is already a challenging challenge, but if you want to really test yourself (maybe because you have already gutted Battlechasers in all its forms) try one of the two upper steps … but then don’t say that we didn’t warn you.
Vital in this sense is the management of the progression of the characters, which despite being quite simple in its mechanics can give life to very different outputs. Initially being able to find the right combination is not easy, but the ability to move the Skill Enhancement Points even after they have been assigned makes everything extremely flexible and customizable. Add to this a Rune system that affects the assets of each character more or less heavily and you will find yourself in your hands one of the most concentrated and effective party customization systems ever.
In support of various explorations and fights we find a small series of secondary activities that are not particularly original but which still contribute to making the experience lighter and more varied. The inevitable fishing will be paired with the passion for collecting, stimulating you to fill the pages of the Fishing Diary with the rarest and heaviest specimens … to be resold on the black market in exchange for strange coins that we are sure you will learn to invest in things as well. precious.
You can also go around looking for materials and essences of various types, to be merged with weapons and equipment in your possession to increase their power and rarity. And if you feel particularly inspired, you can give vent to your creativity in the kitchen.
Aesthetically, the imprint of Madureira can be seen in all, in the richness of details of the scenarios (which even if framed from a bird’s eye view are incredibly evocative and animated), but above all in the quantity of main and surrounding characters, who share a hypertrophic style typical of the American artist.
Again, if you’ve played Battle Chasers before, you’ll have an idea of what awaits you in Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, a moving artwork where you can lose your eyes from start to finish. From an artistic point of view, therefore, nothing to object to the work done by Airship Syndicate, but to achieve absolute excellence a little more foresight was needed in balancing the experience … which still remains extremely pleasant, demanding and lasting.
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