reviews\ Nov 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm

League of Legends - PC - Review

Ask any WarCraft fan to compile a list of their favorite mods, and Defense of the Ancients will almost certainly appear on that list. Centering on the popular hero class characters of WarCraft, Defense of the Ancients grew rapidly into a popular office distraction that no RTS-fan could resist. Not surprisingly, it falls upon the shoulders of development studios to capitalize on the success of Defense of the Ancients, with a standalone game that came to be known as League of Legends.

The battles can take place online, but there is also a solo mode that utilizes AI-controlled characters, focusing on the player’s ability to manipulate the flow of battle between them. League of Legends is relatively friendly for a title of its genre, but the challenge should keep even veteran RTS fans on their toes; in some situations, flocks of baddies can chew through you in no time. Utilizing your heroes’ respective abilities in each situation will be the key to your success. As the summoner, it is your task to manage these hero characters. This also reinforces the persistent qualities of character development, as your progress and success allows you to continuously upgrade, lending a rather addictive potential to the game.

Fortunately, League of Legends does a pretty good job of guiding newcomers to the battleground. The heroes themselves (or champions, as the game prefers to call them) are diverse and visually interesting. Their strengths and weaknesses become readily apparent right from the start of the game, so you can decide which attributes best suit your style of play. Some of them appear to be based on archetypal figures, while others are a bit more… well, let’s say “memorable”. There’s really nothing like seeing a tiny fellow wreaking havoc on the battlefield.

The underlying premise of each battle should be familiar to RTS players: outwit your opponent in the old “tug-of-war” style of conflict. This means the standard rules of risk vs. reward will apply. If you capture a control point, should you fortify your position, or pursue retreating forces? Naturally, anyone who plays too conservatively or too aggressively may find themselves in a heap of trouble before the game is over. Generally speaking, strategy fans should feel right at home. The controls are largely conventional, and the interface is very accessible, making League of Legends an exceptional offering for hardcore players and newcomers alike.

Despite everything that occurs on screen, League of Legends is very presentable and runs fairly smoothly. The visual density is amplified by a vibrant color palette, which lends an appropriate “fantasy” feel to the experience. The flickering and blooming of dazzling effects keeps the battlefield looking like a party at all times. League of Legends also features a nice array of sound effects, although the voice-overs tend to get a bit repetitive. There isn’t really much else to gripe about here. League of Legends offers great online support with the promise of new content, such as an in-game store. It is absolutely a distinct and improved experience from Defense of the Ancients, and deserves to be played for hours on end – which you most certainly will do.

Review Scoring Details for League of Legends

Gameplay: 9.0
Plenty to keep you busy, but not excessive or overwhelming. This is one of the finest examples of how RTS combat should be.

Graphics: 8.5 
Stylized characters and striking colors aplenty, League of Legends will dazzle the eye.

Sound: 8.0
Some of the voiceovers can be irritating, but the rest of the audio holds up nicely for a fantasy-style game.

Difficulty: Medium
Definitely more accessible and helpful for newcomers, but this game isn’t going to coddle you.

Concept: 8.0 
A fairly brilliant mod becomes a beautifully executed standalone game.

Multiplayer: 9.0
Frantic, bombastic, and addictive. This is absolutely where most of your time will be spent.

Overall: 9.0
With a continuous reward loops for player progress, who can resist working to get that precious rune unlocked? League of Legends has replayability in spades for anyone who loves romps in real-time strategy format. It’s attractive, accessible, and above all else, League of Legends delivers heaps of fun.


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