Double Stallion’s Convergence: A League of Legends Story, Riot Games’ latest indie project, is an explosive, high-octane journey through the sprawling city of Zaun. In his quest to control the dangerous Syntixi crystals created by the Poingdestre Chembaron family, Ekko recruits a number of unlikely allies and comes face to face with some familiar foes, culminating in a charming, entertaining, and thought-provoking story.
In order to keep Zaun safe, Ekko has to get his hands – or rather the sword stick – a little dirty. Convergence’s combat is smooth and fast-paced, making the most of roaming environments for raid encounters and purpose-built levels for manic, acrobatic platforming action as you frantically try to take down gangs of enemies. Combos are fluid and dynamic, Ekko’s abilities are fairly easy to master, and combine well to pull off some huge knockouts. However, towards the end of the game, combat does become a little too easy and a little too repetitive, and it’s at this point that the game introduces some enemy types that skip “challenging” and go straight to “nasty”, Damage to your limited health is almost guaranteed.
On the other hand, the game’s boss battles are certainly a highlight. As a fan of League of Legends’ extensive lore, it’s great to see the characters leave Summoner’s Rift and return to their natural habitats. Seeing how ordinary people in Piltover and Zaun react to these characters and their stories is fascinating and only fuels my desire to play them in The Rift. The character’s move sets in the game, like Ekko’s, are creatively implemented, and boss battles are often a great tool for mastering Ekko’s ever-growing arsenal of gadgets.
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Crossing in Convergence must have stripped Ekko’s weapon of its sharpness, as it’s a double-edged sword. Overall, the game’s environments are well-designed, with enough platforming elements to keep simple travel and exploration interesting. Much of the travel style is similar to 2D Titanfall, and brings the same fluidity and joy of connecting skills. Having said that, some areas of the game are designed to be annoying – if not downright bad. On challenging levels, simple travel is often more difficult than combat, and not as enjoyable. A single bad move will often see Ekko stuck in a time loop, dying in the environment if he doesn’t rewind, but unable to rewind far enough to be safe, an extremely frustrating experience , and kill the momentum of a level. Additionally, other areas – once completed – have no easy way to exit, meaning completers wanting to go back and collect any hidden treasure chests they might have missed have to travel all the way to the end of the level to return to the main map.
Speaking of collectibles, it’s safe to say the order structure could be a little better. Going into the late game, players have likely already figured out their Ekko’s gadgets and specific playstyles, and are therefore looking for hidden figures and cosmetic rewards, so chasing chest after chest just to get one (borderline useless) gadget The elements don’t feel great, but there’s no denying that the ultimately found collectibles feel more impactful and valuable.
It might be an odd thing to do, but sound design is one of the many little details in this game that makes it so good it feels like a project with some passion behind it. The sounds of Ekko’s abilities are dense, mechanical, and heavy, so they’re recognizable in hectic combat situations, and the directional sounds scattered throughout the game are a lovely touch. In addition, the game has a great soundtrack, the background music is appropriate without being intrusive, and the themes build smoothly and powerfully from safe to dangerous.
Convergence’s narrative is probably the highlight of the whole experience. With plenty of new and familiar faces, the game manages to make each character stand out, if only for specific functions, and to really get to know Ekko as a character, not just a set of abilities. The game’s story is pretty serious, dangerous and dark at times, but seen through Ekko’s eyes – like Zaun’s – it’s not that bad. The perfect mix of drama and comedy makes for some genuinely funny and genuinely poignant moments (Chapter Three is my favorite), and elevates the game from simple platformer to genuinely entertaining experience. With some well-written twists and turns, and a decent exploration of black and white and gray moral justice systems, it’s a very entertaining ride.
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All in all, Convergence: A League of Legends Story is a very solid platformer with an even better story. There are some minor annoyances throughout the game, the game’s peaks are fairly quick and the middle is slow, but the end payoff is certainly worth the full sit-through as it gives you a deeper understanding of the worlds of Piltover and Zaun, and maybe even lets you Challenge your moral compass.
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