Repost: League of Legends Impression Review

It’s interesting to try and review League of Legends when a lot of the functions of the game aren’t in place yet. As it stands now, the game’s core systems are all in place and provide a lot of fun for old Warcraft 3 players and along with the base of the game being free, most won’t lose anything more than time to give it a try.

League of Legends feels and plays like a RTS game that focuses purely on the combat between opposing teams. Gone are material collecting or building structures, this game is all about a careful chess game between groups of players who concede and gain ground to eventually overtake a base to win the game.

As the game is a free-to-play with microtransactions, I would have thought that a lot of the game would be based off the store, gaining items early to power-up the champions that are used, but I played it before the store opened and found a very polished game.

But with that polish, I did find a few nagging gameplay issues that make the rounds last at least 45 minutes and usually ended around a hour.

League of Legends has the player acting a summoner who is able to call upon a champion, the in-game playable character, who will fight for them. The only available mode as of right now was a 5X5 map. Once all the players have been chosen through League of Legends matchmaking server, I was given a minute to choose my champion, choose runes (power-ups), and check over other small tweaks.

Many of the champions were not available to be chosen yet and I had yet to unlock runes for my champion. After the champion selection was complete, the match began. Only one map is playable right now for the 5X5 which takes place in a forest. In each corner, each base is present and takes up a triangle of space in the square map. Bases are equipped with turrets and minion-spawning factories. Minions are the cannon fodder who will fight with champions as they attempt to take over the enemy base. As more of the enemy base is controlled, minions gain upgrades and become stronger.

Along using minions as battle aids, the champion is given a set of upgradable skills to use during battle. Leveling in League of Legends is fast and along with the base store, which sells upgrades and potions, champions can become very powerful quickly. Like many RTS, the title is a point and click, and most champions I played had either a targeted skill or area skill. Reading the enemy champions is important because those skills can be wasted in seconds if the opposing champion can run away.

The champions as well are an interesting controllable character. Health and mana regenerate over time and gold is accumulated over time as well as defeating enemies. Hotkey knowledge is paramount to succeeding in the game because champion versus champion combat is fast and a champion can be killed in a few seconds depending on the attack.

This was one of the problems with League of Legends, champions don’t seem entirely balanced against each other. Ranged champions are a little too powerful and have been given attacks that are gained a little too early in matches. On the other side, the tank class are either too powerful mid-level or utterly useless. I do feel that when the gamut of champions are released there will be more of a challenge between champions.

People familiar with any RTS title will be able to jump into League of Legends, though the gameplay structure has changed, action can get really frenetic.

Summoners gain XP and will experience throughout the matches they play, though the current length of matches might turn off some people. The turrets in the game are a little overpowered which causes the stagnation of matches.

League of Legends carries the same cartoon-influenced graphics of other RTS titles, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to see all the bells and whistles because my PC wasn’t to the best specs, but the game still looked good on low settings. I imagine the game running at full steam looks amazing. As for the sound, each champion has their own voice, but I was too drawn in the combat to really be able to notice a lot. The orchestral soundtrack is good, but when a team is rushing a base, it wasn’t something I was thinking about too much.

Riot Games’ League of Legends has the base in place for their title. And since the game is continually being tweaked and patched, I see a long life for the game. But again, as the game is in its Pre-Season and a lot of options aren’t enabled yet. Though when Season One begins in 2010, I believe the game will really hit the stride it’s looking for.

Review Copy Provided by Publisher