|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Riot Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Riot Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Targeting the enemy's Nexus is your ticket to success. The Nexus is located deep within the enemy base and is guarded not only by enemy characters but by incredibly devastating turrets. The turrets closest to the Nexus are the most powerful ones and should never be tackled alone. The in-game tutorial will give you various hints as to the best way to progress in the game, and one of the best tidbits of advice I received is to choose an ability that sustains your health for as long as possible. You can increase your other powers later once you get the hang of the gameplay.
Sure the game is free, but that doesn't mean you can't spend some money. Fortunately, these acquisitions are purely cosmetic. You can't purchase upgrades for skills or anything that would affect the gameplay, so you can't buy yourself a win. Matchmaking software makes it easy to find players with the same skill level so that you don't have to worry about getting bullied for experience points by those losers that hang around the spawning grounds awaiting the arrival of new, ignorant hillbillies. Dying isn't a huge deal in any case, since you'll respawn almost immediately. This allows you to act really aggressively if the strategy calls for it, typically when you're being outplayed. But the game isn't necessarily trying to promote run-and-gun, balls-to-the-wall action, there are many different strategies to adopt including stealth. The environment has rivers, hills, trees, and bushes where you can hide from your enemy - as long as you don't attack you won't be seen. It's a great way to flank your enemy, but it can also be a great place to hide if you're retreating.
Champions are diverse and range from all-the-rage to the ridiculous, but in a good way. The game is presented in a fun, cartoon style with just enough of a degree of seriousness to belie the depth of the gameplay. Some characters are better suited for ranged combat, as they are vulnerable to melee attacks. Others are equipped like tanks and can mix it up in the middle of the maelstrom but can be easy targets due to their size and slowness. Such is the case with Alistar the Minotaur. He's got some powerful attacks such as the headbutt and a pulverize move that will almost clear the screen, but the lithe and deadly, blade-wielding Master Yi can get in and out quickly while performing some invasive surgery on the behemoth. Another interesting character is Annie. She's only eight-years old and carries around a teddy bear. She's as vicious as she is cute, and that bear can also become a monster. I suspect there will be some balance issues among these characters but it's too early to tell - this is a community-based game you play for months or years. My limited time reviewing it just scratched the surface, but so far it appears that any weaknesses are a result of lack of skill on the part of the player, something I'm not always comfortable to admit.
League of Legends is a good looking game with stylized graphics and huge, detailed environments. Unlike Defense of the Ancients, there are three maps instead of one. The sound effects, music, and voiceovers are surprisingly good, with convincing dialogue and a variety of sound effects. Commands are simple to execute thanks to a streamlined interface void of the layers of windows required with excessive micromanagements. Technically, the game runs smoothly. Getting hooked up with players in the lobby is about as easy as it gets. The matches are short enough and challenging enough to suit virtually all skill levels. The time I spent with this game has been fun, and with a good community base, it can only get better with time.
CCC Senior Writer