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League of Legends Review
publisher: Riot Games
developer: Riot Games
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Oct 27, 09 (released)
|» All About League of Legends on ActionTrip|
Regarded by many as the spiritual successor to the Warcraft III mod, DoTA (Defense of the Ancients), League of Legends marches onto the gaming scene at the best possible moment. What we have here folks is a competitive and a rather imaginatively designed game experience that sees two teams of players locked in intense battles across different maps. It's all quite basic and, at the same time, surprisingly addictive.
Ok, let's begin the mating dance.
This is where I keep my personal skull collection.
Here's how the whole thing works. Gamers may select one out of a total of 40 cool champions, each with specific abilities. It's sort of like playing a new Warcraft III, with different hero characters taking center stage as AI-operated minions fight to take out powerful turrets and opposing heroes (i.e. champions). There are 1 vs. 1, 3 vs. 3 and 5 vs. 5 battle variants, all are fun but adding more players to the mix ups the action.
Meanwhile, getting your hands on as much gold as possible is a crucial gameplay element. This is done by killing grunts and heroes. Gaining cash means you can make purchases from the in game shop where you can purchase a variety of items that augment your hero granting more health, defense, more damage, faster attacks, health regen, boosts to speed or other goods to turn you into total bad ass. It's easy to customize your hero with these items but with the large variety of items available, finding just the right mix for your play style may take you a few tries to discover your optimum build. As I've said, it's addictive and fun.
Leveling is, of course, another important aspect of this game. This is also done easily and while your hero has 4 skills unique to the character, there's a huge choice of skills spread among all the heroes, so don't fret if you're looking for that particular brand of RPG goodness. Apart from that, one more thing sticks out in this game that made me come back quite a few times once I've finished my first battle. Games are quite quick, amounting to something like 30 to 45 minutes of mostly very challenging and exciting gameplay. Coordinating your tactics with other people and focusing on team spirit is one of the most gripping facets of League of Legends and an absolute must if you want to win the round.
League of Legends does a surprisingly good job of providing a smooth start for any inexperienced player that dives in a match for the first time. The commendable auto-matching system that helps connect gamers with similar play skills eases things, in addition to recommended characters and items for newbies. This makes players taking a first time stab at the game practically effortless.
The game is not without faults. The team-based strategy is at the heart of this game, while there are certain features that might make it slightly less appealing to some people. If you are a lone wolf kind of player who thinks you are going to go out Rambo style and bring the other team to its knees, think again. Team work is key and if you don't coordinate with your allies, your chances for victory are greatly reduced.
There, now you made me trip.
Visually, League of Legends offers pretty, eye-pleasing cell-shaded graphics that make it quite fun to watch. I've also come to enjoy the cartoonish look of this game, spiced up with an array of awesome-looking combat animations that give a special and unique flavor to each of the characters. Some of the effects caused by a few of the spells are particularly cool. The sound could use a bit more variety, both in terms of music themes and sounds, but overall it's perfectly satisfactory.
There are two maps currently available and loads of skills to choose from with the promise of much more to come through expansions later on. All of that -- in addition to some of the other features I've mentioned -- amounts to a pretty tasty package, considering it's free. Well, there's the free version of the game, a boxed edition which gives you access to two-thirds of the game's characters and a $10 card for the game's store (more of that and other cools things can be seen on the official League of Legends web site).
The fact remains that if you're looking for a fast, smart and fun fantasy themed team-based strategy game, you can't go wrong here. If you've taken the time to appreciate the popular Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients, well, then, you're more than likely to get a kick out of this. You can always decide to have a go at the game against AI bots, but mark my words, that's not how this game is meant to be played. It encourages team spirit more than anything else, and that goes a long way. Here's hoping for more spiffy, new content from the folks at Riot Games.
8.7 Very Good
An extremely addictive team-based strategy experience and a fair tribute to DoTA, with cool-looking graphics and plenty to keep you occupied gameplay wise;
Still needs more content, which we hope will become available soon.
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