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CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story Review

CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story Review

The latest Riot Forge game has been released, and this time Ekko, the boy who shattered time, spearheads it as the protagonist. In this new 2D metroidvania, explore the sunken lands of Zaun and figure out the secret behind a conspiracy that could start — or end — a catastrophic war.

I'll be the first to admit: I'm obsessed with League of Legends and anything that comes from that IP. So when Riot Games announced that the S in their name would finally be of use back in the game's 10-year anniversary, I was excited for many of them, but perhaps more so for CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story (CONVERGENCE henceforth because really, I am not about to write "A League of Legends Story" through this all!). Now, a couple of years later, the game is finally out, and I managed to get my hands on a copy. But did it live up to its expectations?

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The narrative follows a political struggle between Zaun and Piltover, but not in the typical way you'd expect. After discovering orange crystals that are reminiscent of Hextech crystals in Zaun, Ekko finds a stranger that needs his help with something. A quick boss fight later, he soon discovers it's himself from the future, and these orange crystals pose a severe threat from when Ekko comes from.

Now, if you're a League of Legends lore fan, the things mentioned in this game won't be too unfamiliar, but as a newcomer, it can become a bit overwhelming. Hextech, Syntixi, Ferros Clan, Zaun, Piltover... strange names and teams, wars, magical objects are thrown around expecting you to understand all of it, and at first, it is very much unintelligible. But after a while — surprisingly — CONVERGENCE manages to tie it all together and give you good enough context that you understand what's at stake, even if you don't know anything about the lore.

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Conversely, as an avid League of Legends player, familiar characters from both Zaun and Piltover will make occasional appearances, with cameos aplenty and recognisable abilities from Ekko that feel bordering nostalgic. Getting to know more about the characters I cared for and seeing some new connections being made enrichened the lore that League of Legends otherwise doesn’t give you.

The story is quite exciting and tackles unique topics that I feel relatively unsafe touching in a spoiler-free review. Although it'll definitely be far more intriguing to fans of League of Legends, I can safely say that I think it's a great story all around — the lovable and memorable characters ensure that. From Ekko's great personality to the friends and allies you make along the way, there wasn't ever a dull moment in the narrative. Not that the gameplay was any slower, either.

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As a platforming metroidvania, CONVERGENCE doesn't forget its action-focused roots, and I was surprised at how well the developer, Double Stallion, was able to encapture Ekko's gameplay so perfectly in a new genre. There are numerous abilities that you'll unlock in your eight-chapter run, and each one adds a new gameplay element and a new way to fight, keeping the gameplay fresh with each new level conquered.

The bosses are inventive, but their patterns start becoming relatively simple to capture; this isn't necessarily a complaint — in a game about rewinding time and performing pristinely with each encounter, it fit that I soon learned the different movesets. At this point, it's worth noting that I played on the hardest non-custom difficulty, and although I passed most bosses with relative ease, there were three in particular that stumped me for a while, all of which were late-game battles.

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Whether you're fighting the bosses or fighting random goons, fast-paced combat is very much CONVERGENCE's highlight. You can rewind time using charges that work essentially like extra lives that let you try your hand at a mistake once again, allowing you to perform better the second (or third, or tenth) time around. My favourite part is that the game managed to make me feel cool rather than dumb with the number of times I had to rewind — learning and succeeding or analysing the battle meant I was piecing together a puzzle on how to win.

Each chapter (and Entresol — the overworld) is filled with various collectibles that you can find and get. While you have the typical notes to gather that tell a short story, you can also find numerous skins, rewind charges, and parts to craft modifiers to Ekko's abilities! The informative map shows you pretty much every area you need to explore and later modifications show you the locations of missed items, so heading out to complete the game is a treat because you know where to look.

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Every new world introduces new enemies and bosses (alongside mini-bosses) to fight, but this is one of the few areas CONVERGENCE fell short — the new foes added started becoming uninventive. Instead of bringing in new mechanics, each enemy is recycled from the previous world with a new modification; they either explode on touch, have more health, or do a different attack. And considering most enemies only have one — rarely two — attacks they utilise, it becomes relatively simple to predict. The way this is remedied is by changing other aspects of each encounter, including the battlefield and the number and types of enemies present.

Although this has notoriously been my least favourite form of difficulty, the way CONVERGENCE is built is perfect for these sorts of encounters. Instead of dreading the simplistic enemy design, it was interesting to feel like I had mastered their patterns because I'd witnessed them doing their attacks dozens more times than they'd done it, thanks to rewind. Learning a new foe’s timing wasn't as dreadful because I wasn't punished for each hit — all I had to do was go back in time and try again. So when it came to repeating foes and amassing more difficult types, I knew how to move around the battlefield and who to target, which made me feel good and the combat gratifying.

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That said, I can imagine that this might be a bit niche for some — memorising enemy patterns may be a masterful amalgamation of gameplay and narrative elements, but it doesn't stop it from becoming simplistic near the end. After eight chapters of different enemy variants, I was ecstatic because I'd learned how to dance around the battlefield, but others might find the absence of reaction-based combat a bit lacking in that area.

The platforming is also another area that CONVERGENCE manoeuvered perfectly. Although the precision aspect can become a bit difficult in the later areas (especially when you have the world layout set to "Complex", an option in the customisable difficulty that chooses how hard world traversal is), the capability to rewind your mistake and try again made it enjoyable and stopped it from becoming grating. The fast-paced nature of jumping around and mixing and matching abilities was a welcome addition — the platforming was done well thanks to various abilities that you need to change between mid-jump.

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Although this sounds menacing and irksome, it never feels so because of the numerous rewind charges that are more than enough to make it out the other side and masterfully placed checkpoints. And even when you auto-save into an unfavourable situation (like it happened to me several times — having zero rewind charges), the game slowly increases your charges by one with each death, ensuring you eventually have enough to get out.

It's hard to look at any area of CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story and find something to complain about. The ingenious combat keeps you entertained long after you master enemy patterns, the narrative picks up and becomes a treat (primarily because of the lovable characters), and the platforming is an excellent mix of enjoyable and precision that hits the right spot. That said, the repetitive elements that border memory-based gameplay might become boring to some, but its narrative ties just made it an enjoyable experience for me. Whether you love League of Legends or metroidvanias, it feels like a sin not to recommend picking up CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story.

9.00/10 9

CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Take control of Ekko and roam the streets of Zaun to unravel a mystery about Syntixi in this great metroidvania title! Great combat and platforming make this an easy recommendation.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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