Review by GrayFlame

"League of Legends - Oh how I tried to like this game..."

Let me open this by stating that I initially came into this game with good impressions. When I heard that this game was styled after good ole DoTA, I was more than eager to boot it up. If you don't know by now, League of Legends is a free to play multiplayer game exclusive for the PC. When I heard "Free to Play" I had my doubts but hell, it's DoTA! What could go wrong?!

Gameplay:
As I said, LoL is a DoTA clone. Matches consist of two teams of 3 or 5 players duking it out against each other to destroy each others Nexus (a crystalline structure at each teams spawn point). There are 90+ champions to pick from in the game each with a unique design, backstory, and playstyle. However, not every champion is available from the start. Every week the game allows 10 random champions to be playable by all players for no cost. Every other champions however must be purchased with in-game credits earned after every match known as Influence Points (IP). There is also the option to pay real money for another currency called Riot Points (RP). Every champion is available with IP and RP but it can take a while to buy newer champions with IP. Once in a match, you can buy items from your spawn point that beef up your champion with various stat increases and even unique abilities to make you more of a threat in a fight. This is actually where the game begins to fall flat... With 90 champions in the game, it takes a lot of gameplay (or studying the wiki) to learn all the abilities and items builds of each character. But hey you can get used to it right? WROOOOONG!!! Well maybe if you are extremely patient. The problem isn't in the quantity. It's in the quality. As a game heavily based around strategy, you'd expect there to be balance between the maps and the characters. Unfortunately there isn't much. Riot Games is constantly patching the game to fix faults in characters and maps only to take one step forward and two steps back off a freaking cliff. Every week or two Riot adds a new champion to the game (hence why the game has 90+ champions). The new champion is then given a very high IP cost to unlock. Unless you have a ton of IP saved up (and you more than likely won't) the only way to obtain this new champion is to buy them with RP. Here is where it gets better... After a few matches you will more than likely see one or two players playing the champion. More than likely you will notice that the new champion is COMPLETELY OVERPOWERED! So for about a week or two after a new champion comes out, the game becomes a infuriating frag-fest for whatever team has the new champion. The best example is one of the newer champions to be released, Ziggs. Ziggs is a mage champion meaning he focuses on doing damage with his abilities over his normal attacks. Now every game I have played against this champion has gone something like this. "Alright. Both enemy champions on the bottom lane are dead so let's push onto their turrets! Oh hey it's Ziggs coming the ambush us. Ha ha he can't take both of---" YOU HAVE BEEN SLAIN! AN ALLY HAS BEEN SLAIN! ENEMY DOUBLE KILL! It's annoying... It's not just newer champions that are annoying and overplayed either. Some champions are rarely even seen and some champions are in every other match. I lost count of how many Caitlyns, Tryndameres, and Jaxes I've seen. Despite having over 90 characters to choose from, the game only has 3 maps and 2 game modes. Despite this the maps are well designed (except Twisted Treeline) and serve their purpose just fine. LoL also boasts a leveling system. Your profile or "Summoner" gains experience points as you play, gaining you levels which unlock some in-game abilities and attribute bonuses of you choice. It's actually a nice setup that continuously rewards you for playing, even if you lose a match. The gameplay wouldn't be bad if Riot would work on the balancing instead of filling their wallets. Although LoL's gameplay is also brought down by another thing...

Community:
Oh God... The community... LoL has one of the worst communities I've ever seen in gaming. It's rare to find a match where someone isn't spitting up insults at the other players. Sometimes the simplest mistake like accidentally not warding a brush will result in your teammates verbally assaulting you. While you have the option to submit reports against offensive players, the judges for the reviews are players themselves. At level 30, players gain access to "The Tribunal" where they can read and judge reports against players and look through the match where the offender was reported to see what happened. Then they vote to suspend the player's account or pardon him. Multiple people will judge one case before action is taken. So what if a player is unfamiliar with a new champion or is just a newbie in general? If he gets destroyed in a match his teammates may get mad at him. If he tries to defend himself, he looks like the jerk. Suddenly two or three people report him and the judges suspend him or even permanently ban his account. Bottom line: Just because someone is high level doesn't mean they should be trusted to judge reported players. In LoL, it's best to play with friends or to just keep quiet...

Graphic & Sound:
Not really much to say here. The graphics and sounds are fine but don't really stand out. They are varied and detailed enough to tell different champions from each other and what abilities they are using, ect, ect. This game does suffer from "repetitive looped music syndrome" so don't expect epic, spine chilling, nipple tingling soundtracks in-game.

Story:
Yes, LoL has a story or I should say "stories". The basic story is this: "Throughout time, nations after nations have risen to power. When war broke out, the overuse of magic would ravage the landscape creating disaster and chaos outside of human control. Eventually a group of powerful magicians formed an organization called the League of Legends. Using magic to summon champions from all over the world, nations could dispute matters with controlled battles within confine arenas, preventing magical wars from causing further damage to the world. You play as a summoner, a powerful mage capable of summoning selected champions to fight on the Fields of Justice." This game actually has a lot of very detailed history attributed to it's many nations, champions, and even alternate dimensions. Every champion has a backstory. Some are good (Galio), some are crap (Fizz), some are humorous (Teemo). To be honest, I found myself reading the histories of every person, place, or object because a lot of them were actually pretty good. I actually wanted to play most of the champions that had interesting backgrounds just because they felt more fleshed out and fun. Riot even periodically posts newspapers known as "The Journal of Justice" which describes current events occurring within the League. In the end though, the stories mean nothing to the gameplay and only serve to mildly entertain. Personally I really enjoy it and applaud Riot for it.

Overall: The game had tons of potential and could have been a great game if the gameplay was balanced and effort was put forth to strengthen the community. In the end, the game feels like a cash cow for Riot to milk off of. As the title explains, I tried and tried to like this game but no matter how much I played and no matter what I tried, the game hurt me more than I enjoyed it.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 03/02/12

Game Release: League of Legends (US, 10/27/09)


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