Ruined King, a spin-off, turn-based, single-player game set in the League of Legends universe, was published by surprise in mid-November and I became quite interested in it a few weeks ago. I’ve never played League of Legends before, but I’m already addicted.
Ruined King, in contrast to the main League of Legends game, is a role-playing game set in the port city of… Bilgewater? and the mysterious Shadow Isles? Help Illaoi (? ), Fortune (?) and the non-human Ahri (?) defeat the strange and lethal Black Mist (? ) with your assistance. This “monster” called the Black Mist is causing havoc throughout the region, bringing with it creatures of the night whose sole purpose appears to be to kill everyone.
My lack of knowledge about this non-filmic universe is shown by the question marks, as some of those names have been used in the series before (in fact, looking it up, all of them have apart from the Black Mist). Before I started playing Ruined King, I had no idea what to anticipate, and I have to say that, as an LoL-noob, I’m engrossed in the lore and atmosphere. An exciting journey awaits the reader in this tale.
For those who missed the opening sequences, Miss Fortune is here, and she has decided to exact revenge on the pirate Gangplank and take over Bilgewater in the process. When Gangplank’s ex-girlfriend, Illaoi, from the Buhru faction, learns of the Black Mist, she swears to stop its anticipated agony in the region.
The game’s visuals are stunning, to begin with. The cartoony style of the artwork immediately grabs the viewer’s attention and beckons them in. After a few tutorial battles, the gameplay is straightforward and easy to understand. Using a “lane” move, which takes place later in the combat and is depicted in the visual timeline, gives each character the option to do an immediate action such as a low-powered attack or a brief defensive shield. Only a few “ultimate” attacks have been recorded so far. With the gold coins you collect along the journey, you can upgrade and buy new weapons, healing potions, and armor as you see fit.
Characters acquire points after each victory, which eventually leads to a rise in their level and the probability of improving immediate and lane powers in turn. This is standard practice in the genre. There are a variety of rings and trinkets each character wears that might improve their attack power or stamina at the cost of altering other skills, such as magical and physical defence, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for those. Class distinctions aren’t strictly enforced, although other RPG elements like maintaining mana throughout combat are there.
Fighting can take place everywhere, as both human and otherworldly entities are always on the lookout for you as you walk the streets. Combined with a fair amount of backtracking and walking around in certain regions, these battles may become an irritation, but a wonderful cause to admire the working developer Airship Syndicate has done to establish Ruined King’s environment.
In addition, the voice acting is excellent, and I only wish there were more opportunities to hear it. Ruined King’s narrative and lore are mostly based on the notes and diary entries that you pick up as you go about your day-to-day activities. Compared to Trine, where the snatches of other people’s life are narrated by an ancient and humorous male voice, it would have been wonderful to hear a few of these numerous scribbles readout, rather than making you read like an undergrad at the library. It reminded me of that.
In the roughly 20 hours I’ve spent playing this, there have been a few actual glitches. The first thing to consider is how long it takes for the page to load. As gorgeous as Ruined King looks, the game does not use an overly complex ray tracing engine. Given this fact and the Series X’s superior loading speed, I am baffled as to why the game often takes a few solid beats to load the next screen while switching between different portions of a map. In the same way, even attempting to see the map results in a sporadic buffering nightmare. In the coming year, Airship Syndicate has promised updated, native Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 versions, so maybe this issue will be addressed.
Additionally, despite the fact that sprinting is an option, Ruined King still felt sluggish to me. Apex Legends is my current obsession, so I can’t really draw any meaningful comparisons, but even so, this was a sluggish game even in 2021. Additionally, there is the continuing Riot Games workplace discrimination complaint that is difficult to ignore.
Airship Syndicate has done an excellent job at filling the gap between those who can’t get their hands on an actual MOBA and those who can’t get their hands on a real one. Even if you’re not a fan of fantasy, you’ll find this game appealing because it’s not terribly complicated and the tale isn’t overly stuffy. Consider me an LoL convert or at the very least a willing participant in the universe of the game, if not the actual game itself.