Back when MOBAs were the flavor of the day – replaced, in time, by CCGs, Battle Royales, and farming sims – I found myself a little at odds with League of Legends’ character designs. Specifically, they were fantastic…but at the time I never managed to play the game. All kinds of cool characters bait-and-switched their way into my heart with fantastic trailers that eventually disappointed with the revelation that, alas, it was just more MOBA stuff.
These days I’ve come to both play and enjoy League quite a bit, but that just means it’s extra nice to see these characters showing up in their own non-MOBA games. Convergence: A League of Legends Story follows one of my favorites, Ekko the time-traveling inventor, as he embarks on a Metroidvania quest all his own. You don’t even have to know where to place wards!
Ekko’s a gadgeteering punk in the techno-dystopia known as Zaun, home to the underclass of the city of Piltover. He’s recently invented a time-warping device called the Zero Drive, which allows him to rewind time in a suspiciously Prince-of-Persia-inspired fashion, and he’ll need it to help save the city from a new, dangerous chemical being pushed by the local gang leaders. Also, his future self is around, which may or may not be particularly helpful. It’s all your favorite time travel tropes in one place!
That Prince of Persia comparison applies to Convergence in a lot of ways, really. You’ve got your rewinding, for instance, which serves as Ekko’s main form of defense; if you take some bad hits, end up in an untenable spot in combat or just fall in a pit, well, try, try again. There’s also plenty of parkour to go around, including wall-running, ziplining, flipping around on poles and more. As for offense, Ekko’s got a big ol’ sword to smack enemies with, a time-turning boomerang grenade and his classic Chronobreak ability that deals damage while simultaneously rewinding to avoid incoming hits. Your arsenal gradually grows in true Metroidvania fashion, so you’re not too overwhelmed by the many available options right from the start.
As you progress, though, combat becomes a pretty interesting beast. Ekko’s not particularly strong and can’t take a particularly large amount of damage, but you’ve got that rewinding ability on your side. Any given battle might result in twisting things back ten or more times, figuring out how to precisely avoid pain coming in your direction from every which way. There’s not a lot like it – outside of the aforementioned Prince of Persia – and it makes even the most minor of Convergence’s fights feel memorable.
Other highlights: Convergence looks fantastic. We’ve got a graffiti-inspired cartoon style that really suits Zaun and its inhabitants. There’s a lot to be said for these League spinoff games doing their best to bring the world of Runeterra to life in a way that couldn’t really be achieved in the MOBA. Likewise, fans of the League-inspired Netflix series Arcane are going to find a lot to love here.
It’s a little shocking how much effort has gone into most of the League of Legends Stories. It would’ve been simple to release throwaway titles that just bring in familiar characters to sell games to fans of the MOBA, but it’s clear there’s plenty of room for a big Runeterran tent where newcomers can enjoy the setting. Convergence: A League of Legends Story is a great example of this, as a high-quality Metroidvania adventure that’s fully enjoyable by League fans and newbies alike.