So I decided to finally play League of Legends and felt it was time to add a review of it to this website. Unlike some of my other reviews, this one is going to be quick and dirty… If you couldn’t tell by the title of this post, it’s actually going to be a rant.
[ed. note: for ease of reading, Sean has broken this "rant" down into a pros and cons list like our reviews]
To be quite frank, I think I spent more time installing the game and fiddling around with the tutorial than playing the actual game. While this is free to play, my first impression of it wasn’t good. However, I’ll get to the pros first before I delve into the nasty bits.
Good Music and Sound: The character sounds are quite detailed, the stage music is good and catchy, and the sound effects are top notch.
Decent Cartoony Graphics: As far as games go, I found the graphics colourful and cheery. There’s a splash of cel shading here and there which a lot of folk dislike, but I actually don’t mind a bit of cel shading.
Player Control: When you know what’s going on, things are smooth and intuitive. You can tell where you are, where you’re headed on the HUD map, and can check out your friends as they are fighting while you move around. The tutorial was spot on, and taught the basics of the game. And it wasn’t lengthy either!
Bad Load Times: A minor gripe, but the loading times are a bit long before a match. I may not have the best system to play this on, but most other games with even higher graphics take far less time to load.
Graphics Get in the Way of Your Aim: The game uses a top down perspective and certain abilities require you to aim to a target which makes it difficult to do with so many other things going on around you, obscuring your focus. So if “Joe Barbarian” is swinging his weapon to make a tornado, you can’t exactly see who you’re pointing at since it’s getting in the way. Your only option is to re-fix where your mouse was before and hope for the best. There should be more indicators on who you’re targeting.
Rediculously Cheap AI Opponents: The AI cheats. And it cheats a lot. I’ve never seen an AI cheat so bad in a game since hard 150CC in Mario Kart. Computer opponents gain levels during the match and get to be these power houses that automatically know your weaknesses. And sort of like Mario Kart, they appear to be able to move faster on the map if you don’t see them on screen. Another sign of the AI cheating is their ability to get gear from the shop when they would not have the gold required for it (gold accumulates with time and kills). Also, some character champions are better against others, kind of like rock-paper-scissors. The game automatically creates computer opponents to match your weaknesses, ergo, each of the 10 matches I had ended with our obliteration quickly.
On the other hand, the developers did intentionally increase the difficulty recently since the opponents were far too easy. I know the tougher AI ruined my initial impression of the game, but I hope they decrease the difficulty and find a happy medium soon. I confirmed this with other players which is how I found out about the cheating and rise in difficulty.
It’s clear the game is popular because you couldn’t visit any gamer website without hearing about it for some time. Though it’s not bad for a free game, the AI and the graphics obscuring your view needs to be addressed. The game did win Gamers’ Choice Awards for PC Game of the year for 2009. However, I really have to wonder how much they paid Gamers’ Choice to be on that list since there are far better titles that came out in 2009.