A giant mechanical wolf is chasing me and the whole building collapses. One wrong step and our beloved Ekko is dead, but down there I see the escape. It’s now or never, I make a daring leap to escape the beast and fall directly into the abyss. Oh well, can happen, nothing a Rewind can’t fix. Within seconds I am back at the precipice to take the jump again. Should I still manage to do it, and if not, we’ll just do it all over again anyway.
Riot Games has been expanding their own League of Legends universe, better known as the world of Runeterra, for a while now. A world that has grown tremendously in recent years. It is full of interesting characters, stories, cultures, creatures and much more to explore. Yet League of Legends is often not the best game to tell these kinds of stories in. Moreover, there are not too many players who would enjoy playing the hyper-competitive game for the stories.
Runeterra for a new audience
Now this is not a review of League of Legends, but of Convergence: A League of Legends story. That original game is still in the name, and you can tell. Indeed, the world of Runeterra and its interesting characters are wonderfully portrayed in this game and introduced to a new audience. Indeed, players take on the role of Ekko, a favorite of Riot and a character that fans have already been introduced to while watching Arcane.
Fans of Ekko will immediately see how well the character has translated to the 2D platforming genre when playing Convergence. The boy who broke through time has taken all his iconic skills and attacks from League of Legends. From the time-delaying Parallel Convergence fields to the ultimate power of Chronobreak. In addition, these attacks fit perfectly into the platforming genre. For example, Ekko can not only slow down enemies with his time-delay field, but also immobilize entire obstacles. This gives League of Legends fans a different perspective on the character and ensures that new fans can be perfectly introduced to Ekko and his powers.
Outside of Ekko, there are plenty of other things to make my Runeterra heart beat faster. For example, we see characters like Camille, Jinx and Warwick returning in abundance. Background characters are also fleshed out in Convergence. Think, for example, of Orianna’s father or the illustrious baroness, Corina Veraza.
The story told in Convergence begins quite simply. There is a new kind of resource that is spread throughout the city in one explosion. Then you have to gather it all together to avoid disaster. It’s not a very unique story, but it serves as a simple hook to grab players. Without giving too much away, though, I can safely say that the story soon becomes a lot more complex and interesting, though it remains no literary marvel.
The story is not the only thing that becomes more complex and interesting over the course of the game. The most essential part of a 2D platforming game, the platforming, follows this build-up in complexity.
Convergence begins quite simply. You jump from one platform to another, but soon new powers are introduced to explore the world with and overcome obstacles. This gives you access to climbing walls, using ziplines, slowing down traps, teleporting to objects and much more. You would say that all these powers would make the game easier, but nothing could be further from the truth.
“You’d say all these powers would make the game easier, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
With each new power, Convergence makes the levels harder. By the end of the game, I had to run from one platform to another wall while dodging multiple projectiles and stopping each platform at the right moment in time. Later in the game, everything must be done perfectly or you simply won’t make it.
Fortunately, Convergence gives players access to a skill to make that demand for perfection just a little less frustrating: the Rewind. If you make a mistake, all you have to do is press a button to go back in time and undo that mistake. Didn’t see an obstacle coming or an enemy suddenly appears and kills you? A simple Rewind takes care of it for you. This skill ensured that the game actually never became frustrating, but also never too easy. The game takes into account that players have access to this action and therefore asks a lot of them.
Puzzles of battles
Outside of platforming, many of these new skills are very useful in fighting. Although this was one part I was a little less of a fan of. The first impression of fighting was not very good for me. Enemies felt simple and boring, and the controls didn’t seem to quite lend themselves to combat. Over the course of the game, this did become a lot less so. This was mostly due to the new skills, which allowed me to finish most enemies with ease.
The battles with the bosses, on the other hand, were very engaging and fun to figure out. In fact, these pieces really feel like a puzzle, where clever and quick use of your skills is essential. For example, there was one boss who threw the entire screen full of falling projectiles. The game did not explain to me how to dodge them, as at first this seems impossible. After some quick and smart thinking, I found out that you could stop some of the projectiles with a just unlocked skill. This allowed me to take cover under the delayed attack while the rest of the bullets whizzed past me. Fighting this way remains fun and innovative. Moreover, it really gives a satisfied feeling when you defeat a boss like this. It even reminded me a bit of the fighting style used by Ekko in his original teaser.
Other than the bosses, the enemies are on the less fun side. There are not that many different types, and many of the enemies you encounter later in the game are just stronger versions of the opponents in the beginning. There is a lot of reuse, which was a bit disappointing to me personally.
Achievement and time
The game actually runs perfectly. I did not experience any performance issues during any play session and did not encounter any bugs. I do have to say that I played on a fairly powerful PC and there are other reviewers who have experienced performance issues, especially on the Switch. If you plan to play the game on the Switch, it is important to take that into account.
Convergence: A League of Legends Story is a great game to play, but it is over quickly. After no more than ten hours, I was pretty much through the entire game. On the one hand, this keeps the game fresh. You constantly feel like the next skill is right around the corner and that you are constantly getting stronger, but after ten hours you have already reached the climax. I noticed that after completing the story, aside from playing it out on a higher difficulty, there really isn’t that much to do. There are a few collectibles, but even within an hour I had collected them all.
I should add that one of those collectibles is really fun for League of Legends fans to look for. Namely, you can get statues of redesigned characters from the original game, each with a little story. I was constantly scouring every undiscovered part of every level to get those statues together and see what the developers had done with my favorite characters.
Convergence: A League of Legends Story translates the extremely interesting world of Runeterra and its characters almost perfectly to the 2D platformer genre. Fans of League of Legends can enjoy all the references and discovering new and improved background characters, but fortunately there is plenty to enjoy for newcomers. The game offers challenging platforming and combat that only gets more interesting with each new skill. Unfortunately, at times the game is held back by its short gameplay and the constant reuse of many enemies.