Riot’s lately been handing out their coveted League of Legends property to a couple builders who (I assume) they belief to make a high quality title utilizing their characters and world. I had the pleasure of reviewing Ruined King: A League of Legends Story with glowing reward. The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story is the most recent of those hand-offs within the type of a top-down motion RPG with a pixelated aesthetic. Undoubtedly, the pixelwork is phenomenal with its degree of element and little touches, like strolling by a series related to a wall and watching it momentarily sway. Contributing to the aesthetic, the music is first rate sufficient to take care of one’s consideration. What in regards to the precise gameplay and writing, although? Effectively, that—is one other matter altogether.
Mageseeker follows Sylas, a still-popular melee mage in League of Legends who makes use of chains tethered to his arms to thump enemies over the pinnacle and generally steal their spells. In Mageseeker, he’s a lot the identical, and we get a bit extra element about his background. Out of the gate, we witness younger Sylas serving as a mageseeker—somebody who hunts those that use magic for the Kingdom of Demacia—but unable to manage his personal magic capability, inflicting a catastrophic accident that kills innocents in an enormous explosion. Following this, he stays chained to a wall till he steals the magic of an expensive buddy, Lux, to interrupt out of his jail. The extremely buff former prisoner with no capability to maneuver whereas in captivity joins a mage-led rebel to get revenge on his captors.
For almost all of the sport, gamers have interaction in a circulation between strolling across the rebel base, speaking to rebels, and taking missions to chip away on the mageseekers and Demacian rule. Whether or not saving captured mages or pulling down a number one determine within the Demacian hierarchy, Mageseeker is a drained affair that’s not solely cookie-cutter however shockingly bland. Whereas I don’t thoughts formulaic gameplay—I like video games with the same circulation, like Shadowrun—it’s definitely not the easiest way to design an expertise as a result of all the pieces else must justify it.
Mageseeker’s characters are archetypes. We’ve got the offended child, the benevolent insurgent chief, the gristly elder, and the revenge-driven and flawed protagonist. The story beats aren’t simply predictable: they’re cliché. At hour one, I knew all the pieces that was going to occur as a result of nothing in regards to the starting screamed innovation or depth. Each character sounds the identical and doesn’t have a lot to say exterior of what’s instantly related to the story, but one way or the other the conversations Sylas has with every of them drag on with out conveying something of import or fascination. Each dialog, whereas ostensibly about one thing else fully, at all times falls again on the singular character trait we find out about that NPC. Sylas isn’t significantly better together with his one-track thoughts on revenge. Scribbles littered round each map aren’t any higher, as they’re partitions of textual content seemingly supposed so as to add taste to the world however find yourself feeling like pointless lore dumps with none aptitude.
Okay, so the writing doesn’t do Mageseeker any favors. What about gameplay? A key characteristic of any motion RPG is sound controls. Even in video games like Darkish Souls the place heavy swings and restricted stamina bars can hinder mobility, they at all times really feel genuine of their supply. We select to be an enormous hulk of harm, and we pay the worth for it. Right here, Sylas looks like he’s supposed to be cellular, however fight and transferring round maps at all times feels stiff. I don’t have a way of circulation. Each time I zip round with dashes, I really feel like I’m hitting a wall and might’t get what I would like finished. Mageseeker options combos that enable Sylas to make use of particular talents with out expending mana, however these are exceedingly laborious to drag off regardless of the straightforward mixture of heavy and light-weight assaults. Up till the 15-hour mark, I nonetheless couldn’t constantly pull off a light-light-heavy assault combo. I had higher luck button mashing, which is extremely deflating.
Sometimes, Sylas enters a map and has to get from level A to level B. He ultimately finds himself in a bit of the map—a sq. with a pair obstacles in the midst of the room, often—the place enemies spawn and the partitions to exits and entrances go up. Combat the enemies, get out, transfer across the map, discover treasure, battle extra enemies, and proceed till a boss battle. A recreation that includes spells ought to make fight thrilling, as a result of magic can do something, proper? Right here, now we have hearth, ice, wind, nature, mild, and darkish. Sylas can seize spells from enemies to make use of them on the fly in the course of the mission with out expending mana and later study them completely after the mission is over. We’ve got all types of patterns, together with missile shot, area-of-effect, damage-over-time, teleports, and so forth. But, fight is so extremely uninteresting and repetitive that I didn’t care about enemy assault patterns. Sylas is robust sufficient to get by all the fights on regular issue with out even coming near dying, but enemies sponge injury even after maxing out Sylas’ injury output on the town. In essence, the stakes are low, however each wave of enemies feels exhausting as a result of they take so lengthy. The one fights that matter are boss fights, that are, admittedly, well-designed.
I had a number of enjoyable exchanging blows with many of the bosses in Mageseeker. Studying assault patterns, adapting to altering boss weaknesses, and puzzling out tips on how to break by a boss’s defenses was a breath of recent air in a recreation that feels constructed round padding. Sadly, attending to the bosses is laborious, and never simply due to the fights encountered alongside the best way: Mageseeker boasts branching paths that both result in treasure or progress the mission, which devolves into the participant attempting to guess which is the best or “mistaken” path in order to not miss foreign money. This can be a drained, annoying mechanic as a result of discovering a checkpoint to replenish one’s well being and mana clearly means the participant missed a collectible or treasure.
Treasures don’t quantity to a lot, although. Each treasure chest holds a nominal sum of money used on the town to improve a primary stat of Sylas’ or educate him newly found spells. The stats are unimaginative in that they improve a nebulous bar of protection, magic energy, well being, and so forth; as advised earlier, growing Sylas’ injury output doesn’t appear to assist him kill enemies any sooner, however I’m reluctant to think about what it might be wish to battle enemies with out growing my injury. Studying spells looks like it’d be thrilling, however with solely 4 spell slots, gamers are more likely to maintain what they’re snug with or simply use the most recent, most potent spell regardless of the assault sample.
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story is a harrowing mixture of unimaginative, drained recreation design and off writing. I hate tearing the sport down as a result of I imagine the builders labored laborious on it, however it is a League of Legends recreation that’s going to draw followers of the Multiplayer On-line Battle Area (MOBA). Whereas this $30, 15-hour recreation appears like 45 hours to finish, that’s $2 per hour of ache. I couldn’t anticipate the sport to be over, and if I weren’t reviewing it, I might have give up by the fifth hour. I don’t care how a lot of a League of Legends fan you might be, engaging pixel artwork and first rate boss battles aren’t sufficient to justify this funding.