Monday, 6 February 2012

League of Legends Review

Last summer, whilst talking to some friends about a new game to play, someone (who previously dabbled in a spot of DOTA) brought up the idea of having a go at League of Legends, one of the newer MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games to hit the free-to-play market. I'm not usually one for PVP-orientated games but this one became a small addiction over a few months and can really suck up time (as one game can last anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour and half.)

After having a few months at this game I feel like I could write quite a bit about this game as it has many, many amazing features and qualities but there are just a few things that let it down.

The graphics in this game, I believe, are superb. While selecting characters (known as Champions) to play, the champion portraits are extremely well drawn and seem to have an amazing attention to detail (for example, here we have Xerath and also here we have Master Yi) and do make excellent wallpapers! Then while in game, the character models and map seems to have a certain cartoon-y feel to them, with the vibrant colours and even adding in small things such as bugs running around on the floor and snakes slithering in and out of the bushes which all just add to the games charm.

The character abilities also have some really nice effects as well, for instance we have the character Ezreal, 'The Prodigal Explorer', and he has an ability named Trueshot Barrage (see here: click). This is where he slowly ascends into the air and a holographic bow appears from his wrist which he proceeds to fire this across the map (literally, it can reach any area on the map, meaning he can hit opponents from the other side if he aims carefully!) And the way this is executed is brilliant, the pixel effects and colours used really go well with the overall cartoon-y feel of the game as a total.

Sound, as a whole, in this game is average. The music is nice at first but after a while the drums that bang before every game get a bit repetitive, so I tend to mute the music and listen to my own, or my friends over Skype. The only thing that stands out in this area is the character interactions you can have while playing the game, such as if you open the chat (by pressing Enter) you can type out a few different things and the character will perform certain moves or actions - such as '/joke'. This makes the character say a comedic sentence or perform a funny action, such as the champion 'Vladimir' (a vampire!) having a joke saying "Go ahead, be negative, you'll be just my type..." connoting that the player has a B- blood type and he is happy to drink his blood!

Other than these character interactions, this game doesn't have much to offer in the way of sound.

This section is not something that can simply be explained in the confines of a blog, you have to play the game and watch live streams of professionals (yes, this is a competitive game, with which professional players can earn a LOT of money) playing the game to really understand how to execute moves and strategies correctly. But because this is a review I will try to explain the simple underlying gameplay qualities.

Essentially the goal of the game is to eliminate the other players' 'Nexus' which is a large crystal in the middle of their base, surrounded by powerful Turrets which attack enemies on sight. This is done by progressively getting stronger and levelling up (you always start at level 1 and aim to reach the level cap in the game which is 18) and also a technique called 'Last-Hitting' which is where you get the last hit on a little creature called 'Minions.' These are team based creatures (a number of them are spawned at both Nexus' every 30 seconds) that automatically attack the enemy on sight and give the killer a certain amount of money when they are eliminated, allowing them to purchase better items in the Shop back at base and gaining an edge over the other team.

There are many, many different ways to 'build' your champion (building is where you purchase different items to achieve different results, such as focusing defensive items to become a damage-absorbing tank, or offensive items to become a hard-hitting damage dealer.) and I don't even fully understand this and neither will anyone unless they get down to the nitty-gritty details of number-crunching, which to me, is very boring.

So truthfully, I don't think I can fully describe all aspects of this games playing styles without making a 20,000+ word dissertation! However if you have played DOTA, or have been playing DOTA 2, then this game should be right up your street.

Unfortunately, I haven't delved into the Lore of League of Legends, but I do believe there is a very extensive storyline behind all of it with all the information on the main LoL website. All I really know is that there is (or was) a war between two factions, Noxus and Demacia, and most of the champions belong to one of those, with a few stranglers here and there.

If you would want to learn all about the lore and history of League of Legends, just click here.

The lasting appeal of this game is huge as the roster of champions to play is constantly expanding (with the free champions being rotated every week, as to consistently use a champion you must purchase it) and recently Riot (the company behind LoL) have released a new game-type named 'Dominion' which I haven't played much of as I do enjoy the classic gameplay style! Also, every game is different because you are against 5 different champions every time, meaning you have to change your tactics to adapt to your environment.

The only problem with this game in terms of lasting appeal (and gameplay) is the community. If you are a bit of a lone-ranger and don't have a lot of game-playing friends (or friends who just don't enjoy MOBA's) then the community may get to you. Unfortunately a large portion of the players just resort to trolling if you make a simple mistake or your team ends up losing the game - which really can get to you. Sometimes I have been playing a game and made a really simple mistake (accidentally not killing an enemy due to a bad decision on my part) and my team will just lay into me with insults and telling me to uninstall the game. Unfortunately this can make you not want to play the game often with randomers, as they all tend to be *ahem* dicks.

Of course that comment shouldn't completely put you off of the game if you were looking to try it because sometimes, you can have REALLY fun games, the ones that are literally hanging on a thread and you really have to give it your all to win, these are the games the real players look forward to.


86 out of 100

This game is very fun, and has a huge fan base (which can sometimes let you down...) and should be tried by everyone who is looking to get into a new game which has unlimited potential! This can literally suck hours away from your day so if you have nothing else to do, give this a try!