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Will League Of Legends New Game Mode Bring Battlerite Back To Life?

Will League Of Legends New Game Mode Bring Battlerite Back To Life?

Remember Battlerite, the top-down arena-based action brawler from V Rising developer Stunlock Studios? If your answer is anything other than “Oh yeah, kinda!” or “Nope, not at all”, then you’re probably a fellow Battlerite fan, and I’m truly sorry that things didn’t work out for us. Despite a fairly positive reaction, the game failed to penetrate the public consciousness; peak player counts today sit in the early hundreds, while ‘similar’ games like Dota 2 play host to millions every month. Battlerite has less in common with your typical MOBA than one might assume, though, and this misunderstanding could well be a major reason for its bleed-out. And who never misses the smell of blood in the water?League of Legends developer Riot Games, that’s who. 

battlerite gameplay pic

League of Legends is a game about strategy; in between all-out explosive teamfights, a great deal of meticulous planning and intuitive coordination is required. Matches can run for upwards of forty minutes, and the skill ceiling is mighty high, making it somewhat intimidating for new players. Battlerite was supposed to fix that with its simpler, deathmatch-style gameplay had it not been left to gather grime in a dark and long-since forgotten corner of the Steam storefront. Riot is quite happy to slip on its pinny and dust it off, though, as they mould the formula into something fresh for their brand new Soul Fighter game mode, arriving in League of Legends on 20th July as part of its upcoming summer event pass.

soul fighter arena pic

Grab your most trusted ally because Soul Fighter forces players into four tiny teams of two and squashes them all into a variety of boxy arenas. That’s not all: as each match progresses, you’ll also be battling to build up a collection of game-altering augments. Want your Sett to start firing Blitzcrank hooks every few seconds? Nab the Extendo Arm! Or perhaps you’d prefer some added mobility with Now You See Me, which grants access to a new summoner spell that will teleport you back to the location of your last movement ability. 

Add in brand new map features and hazards to watch out for, and it looks like Riot is set to take all that was great about Battlerite and breathe some much-needed life into it – a move that gets a big thumbs up from me. Both Battlerite and its sister game, Battlerite Royale, supplied my friends and me with hours of enjoyment, even after it found its way onto life support. Part Dota, part Diablo, even part Street Fighter or Tekken, Battlerite is a fast-paced brawling game that dismantled some of the most popular components of classic titles and reworked them into something fresh, action-heavy — something exciting. V Rising makes use of the same foundations, and that game’s tremendous success, even as an early access release, is proof enough that Battlerite always had good bones — and that some games fall face first simply because.  

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Beginning life as a mod for Warcraft III, League was already certain of its identity when it introduced itself to the world in 2009, and it’s never looked back. It experienced great success from the get-go, and I’ve been on quite the journey with Riot’s flagship title myself, despite only hopping on the bandwagon a mere three years ago. When my partner first drew me in -– with a heavy hand, I might add — I could not crack the MOBA code at all. I failed to grasp its cadence, or the series of moment-to-moment, split-second micro-decisions that make all the difference between victory and defeat. It’s too complicated, I’d say; I just don’t get it. With a live-in coach propping me up from behind, I eventually did get it, and I daresay that I began to enjoy it. Eventually, though, my skill plateaued, and I simply had no inclination to improve. After a few hundred defeats and a dozen clumps of my hair lying miserably on the carpet, I mostly called time with the game. Mostly. 

league map

League features a sprawling map that’s packed with objectives to be aware of.

And thus began my thirst for something simpler — a thirst that may soon be quenched by the very game that bestowed it upon me. I truly hope that Soul Fighter will emerge as a new bastion for those who still enjoy Battlerite but loathe the lack of fresh content, or as a somewhat lower entry point for those of us that love some League but can’t handle the heat. Perhaps, with Riot having yet to confirm whether the mode will be permanent, it will entice League players to go back and check out Stunlock Studios’ diamond in the rough. I might just take a wander back myself.

Battlerite absolutely deserves a second chance. It may not see a resurgence in its own popularity, but it might just live on by allowing its DNA to trickle over to an entirely different game. Whatever happens, Soul Fighters certainly looks to be another stellar notch in Riot’s belt, and I can’t wait to get stuck into it and relive the best parts of Battlerite when the arena opens in just a few days time. 

Conor McGuigan

Conor McGuigan

Staff Writer

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StupydHors - 02:50pm, 25th July 2023

I absolutly agree. Battlerite (or Bloodline Champions for that matter) did not deserve to die. It was an innovative/unique experience that I still remember.

(I feel the same way about Gigantic too)