Ruined League of Legends RPG
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is a turn-based RPG from Airship Syndicate that aims to deliver an epic and story-rich experience in the League of Legends universe. He fails for this purpose. It’s still an engaging game with great art direction, and the combat system is a successful evolution of the old one. Grandia formula. However, under review, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is crippled by its uninspired narrative, wobbly user interface, and a distracting number of technical issues big and small on Nintendo Switch.
This is what a League of Legends RPG looks like
Ruined king at least makes a good first impression. Every aspect of the artistic design is great, and aside from frame rate issues, it doesn’t feel like anything has been sacrificed on the journey to Switch. The environments make good use of lighting and color, and master artist Joe Madureira has created beautiful character portraits and hand-drawn cutscenes.
Even the story begins at least on a promising note. One of six playable protagonists, Miss Fortune, coldly executes one of her enemies onscreen in the first 10 minutes, something you don’t see very often in games. She and the other main characters are all inherently interesting as they are already established from League of Legends. The problem is, the narrative rarely gives them anything compelling to do.
The plot of Ruined king Essentially is that fate brings together six champions in the small port town of Bilgewater to stop the spread of the mysterious “Black Mist”. But in practice, the whole story plays out like a credits Dungeons & Dragons campaign, where the party constantly stalks MacGuffins or has to travel through a 45-minute dungeon just to power or purify a trinket you already have. Much of it feels like artificial hard work – your ship even gets wrecked at one point just to shoehorn into another arbitrary dungeon and a slice of character development at the end.
In fact, despite Airship Syndicate’s utterly sincere desire to make a game rich in stories, Ruined king Most of it gives up and becomes another dungeon crawler RPG around halfway through the game. Dungeons vary in quality, with some of them feeling monotonous and some of the traps being heinous rather than engaging. There are some interesting puzzles later in the game, however.
Every now and then, you need to use a character’s unique special skills to level up or get optional items. However, the game makes the bewildering decision to only allow you to change your party of three at designated resting spots, so sometimes you might run out of the right character to get an optional item. Also, the movement speed in the game is somewhat slow in general. A silver lining is you can save anywhere.
Ultimately, Ruined king can be beat in 30 hours not counting the completion of each side quest, but with all the narrative padding, it feels too long even at this length – which is not a criticism that I often have on RPGs.
That being said, hardcore League of Legends fans will probably still enjoy the experience. The actual writing Ruined king is proficient, and the voice acting is great. The main characters can engage in a myriad of optional conversations that build camaraderie and choreograph a slight character development. There are also a hundred or so little pieces of lore to be found in the game world, for fanatics who will literally take every bit they can find. It’s just frustrating that the story never adds to anything, even remotely, original or thought-provoking. Even the side quests draw on familiar topics, with little to tell them apart.
Ruined King is clumsy and buggy, sometimes to the point of being frustrating
Structurally, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story is a typical CRPG in every way possible, except with its more Japan-inspired turn-based combat system. Incidentally, this makes the UI sluggish and clunky in a lot of places when playing on Switch, as it was probably designed for PC first. It can take multiple attempts to interact with the items, and navigating the maps and quest lists can be a chore. Additionally, load times on Switch are approximate, with the largest screen transitions taking over 30 seconds.
More seriously, Ruined king has so many frivolous little bugs on Switch that I eventually became unresponsive to them. A selection cursor may disappear in combat. The game will keep asking if you want to see tutorials for things that you have been using for tens of hours. Collision detection may not activate when trying to stealthily attack enemies in dungeons. Once a catastrophic bug prevented me from selecting different targets in any battles (and it resulted in death); at first I thought it was a obtuse status effect that I couldn’t understand, because even reloading my save data would not remove the bug. But turning the game off completely and then reloading it ultimately fixed the problem.
The game has also crashed three times, including once immediately after a boss fight. And after another boss fight, the screen suddenly changed color, getting so bright that I missed an entire, critical cutscene for the story. All in all, the cruel lack of polish in Ruined king on Nintendo Switch is unforgivable.
The combat system is the saving grace
Finally, there’s the Lane Initiative System, the turn-based combat system that is easily the highlight of Ruined King: A League of Legends Story. All hero and enemy combat actions take place on a visible timeline, Grandia-style, but it extends that traditional timeline by adding parallel tracks of “speed” and “power.” If you choose to use a special skill on the speed lane instead of the normal lane, it will activate faster but be weaker – and vice versa for skills used in the power lane.
Airship Syndicate prompts you to attack at certain intervals in order to access bonuses or avoid physically marked traps on the battle timeline. It ultimately works quite well and is quite fun overall. However, the physical timeline itself is impractical, with all of the characters appearing tiny on it and often with portraits grayed out, which makes it a lot harder to read than it should be. (This is the most important instance of clunky UI.)
Special attacks cost MP, but there are many ways (for example, just using regular attacks) to generate “overload,” which is essentially a free MP bonus that exists only for that battle. As a result, on Normal I never ran out of MP except in the final battle. The game can contain a ton of challenges if you choose to increase the difficulty, but conversely, the Story difficulty allows you to skip all battles completely and gain experience from those fights ignored anyway. It’s a nice concession.
You do, however, have all the tools you need to be successful. Each character has clear combat roles, like attacking, tanking, and healing, and each special ability can be fully customized for different bonus effects. There are also custom “runes” bonuses that can further customize character stats. You can also create enchantments that boost your equipment in a number of ways. The result is a fantastic amount of control over the growth of your party. You can even re-specify the characters at will. I think, however, that Miss Fortune (and Ahri, to a lesser extent) seemed to be the most obviously powerful character.
Finally, the combat status effects are complex by typical standards of turn-based combat systems and seem to draw more inspiration from Western RPGs. Status effects are numerous, they often seem to have similar effects (i.e., do extra damage), and some of them rely on “stacking” for more effect. it doesn’t help that Ruined king uses esoteric language like “proc” in its descriptions of abilities, which will mean nothing to someone who comes from the streets to try this game. The game is not very good at explaining its more complex elements in general ; you will discover it as you go. Fortunately, in the long run, that doesn’t take away from the fun.
Ruined King could be better than on Switch
In the end, a formidable combat system and excellent art direction is not enough to save Ruined King: A League of Legends Story of its lackluster narrative, clunky user interface, and a wide array of bizarre technical issues on Nintendo Switch. Hardcore League of Legends Fans and fans of hardcore RPG mechanics will always enjoy the game, but everyone had better play something else this holiday season.
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Number of players: 1 player
Category: Role-playing games
Publisher: Riot Forge
Developer: Airship Syndicate
A Nintendo Switch review code for Ruined King: A League of Legends Story was provided by the publisher.
Our review policy.