CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story is the newest game set in the League of Legends universe, just in case the name wasn’t clear enough on that.
Riot Games has been busy recently with the release of not only CONVERGENCE, but The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story too. CONVERGENCE follows the story of Ekko, a young boy genius inventor who has created a device that allows him to manipulate the flow of time.
Throughout the course of the game, Ekko is forced to reflect on how he chooses to use his powers, affecting the person he will become. All the while he is working to prevent a catastrophe from forever changing his own life and the lives of those he cares about.
CONVERGENCE is an action-platformer metroidvania that has a heavy emphasis on story. The defining feature is not only the combat, but the traversal as well is Ekko’s ability to manipulate time and space. Ekko’s defining ability is that he is able to turn back time several seconds, both in combat and out. His arsenal of abilities begins rather barebones but as he interacts with friends, enemies, and unlikely allies, his abilities grow.
CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story, like any game, has its share of good and bad. I came across my share of both, so the question is, do the pros outweigh the cons?
Well, starting with the negatives, my biggest issue with CONVERGENCE as a game is that it feels rushed when it comes to the finer details. Some of these issues are minor and irritate more than they really should. For example, many of the background characters are simply copied and pasted. I’d be standing still, and the same character would be visible in four different positions just to fill space. It really is a non-issue when you think about it, but it feels lazy, and I’d rather the characters just weren’t there.
Another thing that drove me crazy was that none of the spoken lines ever synced up with the character mouths. Every single time characters talked, it was like watching a poorly dubbed Japanese film. Not only that, but every character used the same few animations during these scenes, which just made them feel out of place. I found it incredibly distracting, which is a shame because the voice acting is actually quite good.
On top of that, cutscenes never played out consistently. Some story beats are told in game, but others come across using a comic panel style of storytelling, some just use slightly animated images, and others are fully animated. It feels weird that the climax of the game is told using panels with slight movement, while the fight scene in the act prior is one that is fully animated. Anti-climatic, and it just feeds into the notion that CONVERGENCE feels rushed.
Graphics are a secondary concern when it comes to a good game though, so how does the rest compare?
Well, CONVERGENCE happens to be one of the most linear feeling metroidvania games I have ever played. Your destination is always clearly marked and many times you come across a blocked path, as the camera will pan to your next destination.
There is very little exploration to do, with most detours only taking a couple of minutes. That being said, going off the main path will uncover chests and platforming challenges that give you upgrade materials. Those materials can be used to craft gadgets that improve your abilities. Beyond that, you pick up cogs over the course of the game which are used to not only build these gadgets, but unlock new combat abilities.
Ironically, these sections, while completely optional, are actually some of the best segments of the game just because of the platforming elements they take advantage of.
However, it is in the traversal mechanics in which CONVERGENCE really shines. Wall running, dashing between teleport points, and grinding on rails are just a few mechanics that make getting around fun. However, since Ekko can turn back time over a half dozen times, these sections never feel very difficult.
It does feel rewarding making it through some of the longer sections in a flawless run though. Especially since there are always upgrade materials at the end of them.
The abilities these materials give you are useful, although they are by no means necessary to beating the game. This is because the combat is not very difficult; partly because the rewind mechanic provides you a ridiculous amount of attempts to get each fight right, but also because the enemy AI is very basic.
Standard enemies come with telegraphed attack patterns, and bosses aren’t much better. Beyond the simple attack patterns, their targeting is also inconsistent. Several times they would start an attack on the edge of the screen while facing off-screen, which allowed me to just stand behind them and attack. There is also the reuse of several bosses, which makes them feel a bit more tedious.
It feels cool to encounter other mainline characters from the League of Legends universe, but they come across like pushovers when it comes to fighting them. Even the multiphase fights are more repetitive than an actual challenge.
CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story is definitely geared towards more casual platformer gamers and as far as metroidvanias go, there are better ones out there. The linear layout of the game and objectives alone sees to that. As a platformer, it does a decent number of things well, but the combat leaves a lot to be desired. Overall it’s not a bad game, but it also feels like certain aspects haven’t had the time invested in them.
Maybe it’s League of Legends fatigue. Riot is partnering with different studios to push these games out faster, but having multiple games set in the same universe releasing back to back starts to cheapen the experience. After all, The Mageseeker released just prior to that of CONVERGENCE. They are both very different games, but The Mageseeker felt a bit more refined and cohesive with how it told its story compared to CONVERGENCE.
Overall CONVERGENCE: A League of Legends Story isn’t a bad game, but it falls flat in the areas in which you’d expect more.