Ruined King is something special. Using its surprise release in the Riot Forge Showcase on Nov. 16, many people had not heard of this game or were just finding out about it. While League of Legend fans had a brand-new game to enjoy, League of Legends skeptics wondered what this game was. Having a diverse set of Champions, a unique twist on turn-based combat, and an established world to explore, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story welcomes all to see an all-around epic adventure.
To get it taken care of right at the top, you don’t have to know anything about League of Legends to understand and/or love this particular game. Ruined King, although it does exist within Runeterra and pull familiar League of Legends Champions in to the mix, stands completely on its own. And, for anyone worried that Ruined King is much more League of Legends gameplay, have no fear. It's a single-player, isometric, turn-based RPG that provides a lot of experimentation and exploration.
Combat: The Lane Mechanic
The shining star of Ruined King is the combat. The way that Riot Forge and Airship Syndicate make Ruined King’s combat unparalleled is as simple as adding a lane mechanic. No doubt pulled in the lane meta of League of Legends itself, the lane mechanic works to provide a risk-reward system to players, making combat always feel fresh.
It works like this: on each Champion’s turn, they are able to cast one of their mana-costing abilities around the speed lane, the balanced lane, or even the power lane. By choosing the rate lane, you sacrifice the potency of what you can do for a higher initiative which may be needed to play prior to the enemy or perhaps fellow teammates. The power lane, by contrast, makes your ability stronger but slower, meaning you’ll often wind up attacking following the enemy as well as your teammates. The balanced lane, since it's name suggests, is a little bit of both speed and strength.
The lane mechanic creates more player-driven moments in battle. When the enemy is attacking and also you need to heal your teammates, you can strategically make use of the speed lane to visit right before the enemy attacks. For those who have a strong attack all set to go, you should use the power lane to complete max pain while other teammates take another turn or two to pay for you. It's an ingenious system that successfully revolutionizes the turn-based formula.
Combat: Hazard Zones
In addition to the lane mechanic are Hazard Zones. Like you’d expect in a turn-based RPG, each enemy brings something new towards the fight. In Ruined King, each enemy and boss place a specific Hazard Zone on top of the lane mechanic, and when they don’t, a random Hazard Zone is going to be selected. These Hazard Zones produce a specific field on the speed, balanced, and power lanes (sometimes on all lanes, sometimes on just one) where a specific positive or negative action will require place.
For example, there may be a panic attack boost zone that will buff all player and opponent attack power for his or her next action or perhaps a black mist zone that will damage all allies who end their turn in the zone. While the lane mechanic on its own changes in the battlefield, the Hazard Zones create much more strategy and decision-making.
Champions and Team Synergy
Ruined King grants players six different Champions to play as but limits battles to a three-person team. Because of that, there are plenty of party combinations that are fun and distinctive. Each Champion can be boiled down to the three basic roles in most game titles: tank, DPS, and healer with many overlapping into another category. Because of this, successful party makeup results in sticking to the same Champions will little variation.
Once you've found the team which works for you, there is little change that needs you to break from might experiment with other Champions. Take, for instance, the mixture of Braum, Ahri, and Yasuo, a really powerful trio. Braum, the tank, uses Unbreakable to taunt all enemies into targeting him, applies damage shields with Stand By Me and Poro-Snax, and may apply buffs with Inspiring Presence and obtain eliminate debuffs with Porogeddon. Ahri uses stacks of Essense Theft to constantly heal her party while doing damage. Spirit Mend, once upgraded, may be used within the power lane to heal everyone and be used in the rate lane to bring back a KO’d Champion. Yasuo can compare Steel Tempest and unleash Raging Wind for zero mana. He can also employ Eye from the Wind to raise the party Crit Rate and have equipped items that already raise his Crit Rate for him to continually do devastating amounts of damage. Once I discovered this team, I'd no reason to change it up because it would be a winning combo.
On surface of this, some Champions, especially the DPS ones, often end up feeling the same. While special in their own right, Yasuo, Miss Fortune, and Pyke can all feel really similar, that is a bummer. With Ahri, Illaoi, and even Braum, the playstyles can vary greatly in any given party. Yasuo, Miss Fortune, and Pyke can feel stale in comparison. By adding a summoner Champion, totem user, or perhaps a sorceress, more variety could be achieved.
The main issue story within Ruined King is engaging, however the beauty happens between each Champion. With every Champion being seemingly unrelated in every way, especially Braum who doesn’t belong in Bilgewater whatsoever, their personal motivation and reasoning for why they get together and carry on the quest is believable and captivating. The interpersonal stories worth shouting out are Illaoi’s faith crisis and her curiosity with Pyke and Miss Fortune’s wish to rule and her feud with Gangplank.
The Puzzles, The Bugs, and Saving
When you aren’t battling Mistwalkers or corrupted trees, each quest will have you solving some kind of puzzle. While the puzzles are solvable and often fun, running around not knowing what to do is not. That’s not saying I would like golden arrows leading me directly where I need to go, however, many context inside the quest guide or map would go a long way.
Becoming increasingly more common in games these days are bugs. And while hopefully these bugs get ironed out with future patches, playing the sport on the first day can test out your patience. At the end of combat, after XP is allotted to Champions, my game would crash. This happened around seven or eight times over my 20 hours of playing. Little bugs here and there are forgivable, but game crashes following a 20-minute battle are not.
Ruined King has a lot of quality-of-life additions such as the Quick Strike and the Combat Speed times two options, but beyond combat, particularly associated with saves, it's abysmal. Combined with the annoying bugs of the game and especially on higher difficulties, saving constantly is necessary. Ruined King would benefit greatly by having a quick save button directly on the pause screen. Rather than needing to scroll up to the bottom of the pause menu, go into the save menu, after which save, you can press just one button, quicksave, and obtain back to the action. With a game that may already get repetitive quickly, making the mistake of not saving and dying simply to repeat the last hour of gameplay you simply beat is an avoidable slog.
Ruined King: A League of Legends Story isn't one to miss. If you're skeptical about League of Legends, don’t particularly love turn-based games, or in a way think farmville could be boring, do yourself a favor and play it. Farmville will surprise you using its exciting dungeons, dynamic boss battles, one-of-a-kind combat mechanics, and charming characters. As a first of its kind for Riot Games, hopefully more boundary-pushing entries like Ruined King will find space in the spotlight.