Convergence: A League of Legends Story Review
Convergence: A League of Legends Story takes the fantasy cyberpunk city of Zaun and hits the ground running. The world of League of Legends has always fascinated me, especially Zaun and Piltover. I was very excited to see what this new single-player action/platformer could make of the setting. The results didn’t let me down. Riot has done it again with another great League of Legends spinoff title.
Teen genius Ekko has invented time travel. He uses this miraculous technology to parkour across the underground city of Zaun. You might think this would be overkill, but Zaun is flooded with gangs, would-be mad scientists, and all kinds of biomechanical threats. After Poingdestre Spire collapses and dumps mysterious orange crystals down on the population, things get even more dangerous. Even with the power to bend, shatter, and reverse time, Ekko might be in a little over his head.
Fortunately, his future self comes back in time to explain things. The orange crystals are Syntexi, a potent and unstable power source. If left alone, they could blow up the whole city. Their creators are planning something awful. And Future Ekko hails from a devastated future where Zaun is inhospitable, war is brewing, and Ekko’s family has fallen apart. That last one might even be his future self’s fault. To save the city, Ekko must come into his own and become the hero Zaun needs.
The City of Iron and Glass
Convergence feels a lot like a Metroidvania, right down to picking up power-ups and new abilities. There’s even backtracking in some areas. Ekko outright acknowledges when you’ve found an area you don’t have the ability to explore yet. Slick controls and fast-paced action make for an overall great experience.
Story-wise, this game seems to be aimed at a younger audience than I was expecting. I associate League of Legends with adult gamers, especially after Arcane. But Convergence’s sense of humor and portrayal of Zaun seems aimed at the teenage crowd. I’m not complaining about this. Ekko is pretty young himself, so the more youthful, energetic, and optimistic tone suits his adventure.
As the game’s plot develops, both the game and Ekko gradually become more serious and mature. His concerns grow to include the brewing tensions between Zaun and the wealthy overcity of Piltover. The clash between these two cities is an important element of the overall franchise and it’s executed pretty well here.
Ekko really does feel like a plucky young engineer. Watching him break out the tools right after beating a boss or clearing a challenge is neat. In a city ravaged and raised by mad science, the protagonist being a mad scientist himself feels incredibly appropriate. Zaun is covered with graffiti and filled with roving gangs. Every major NPC has been affected by poverty, inequality, and the crushing weight of supporting Piltover’s economy. At the same time, Zaun and its people feel vibrant and full of life. They’re surviving, but you understand why Ekko wants better for them.
Convergence: A League of Legends Story is a Great Spinoff
The game’s portrayal of Zaun is absolutely stunning. This neon punk wonderland is every bit as fantastical and anarchic as I hoped. From the searing lighting to the ever-present sickly green and orange glow, the level design is gorgeous. However, it is kinda hard to tell what Ekko can interact with since everything is drawn in the same graphic novel-inspired style.
The character designs are fun and fit easily in with Ekko’s design and the established Zaun aesthetic. The voice acting is less expressive than I’d like, but is generally pretty good. Ekko stands out as especially charming. This is important because he’s the only one talking during most of the levels. Speaking of sound design, Convergence’s soundtrack is electronic, industrial, and often droning. It’s very fitting for the cyberpunk fantasy environment of Zaun. At the same time, it sounds adventurous and even optimistic. Ekko is an idealist at heart and the music reflects that.
Convergence offers three difficulties: Balanced (easy), Heroic (normal), and Legendary (hard). Balanced is a good mode to master the controls in. Heroic is the intended Convergence experience. And Legendary is for players who want a serious challenge. On all difficulties, dodging is your friend. Ekko is not a tank and he dies very quickly if you lose control of the game’s glow. Fortunately, there are plenty of accessibility options available.
Spinoff games based on franchises with large, iconic casts can suffer from forced cameos. Convergence does feature several other characters from the League of Legends roster. But their inclusion doesn’t feel forced–it adds to the depth of Zaun. And the Warwick chase sequence is absolutely terrifying. At the same time, the story remains close and intimate. It uses Ekko’s ability to reverse time and retry his decisions to examine the difficulty of salvaging a relationship, much less a city.
Gangs, Graffiti, and Gas Leaks, Oh My
The game does feature combat, exploration is the most important part of Convergence. And you know what exploration-heavy video games specialize in: fantastical parkour! Ekko can run on walls, grind on rails right side up or upside down, and jump up marked walls. All of these are required to solve the game’s puzzles. I had a great time soaring all over Zaun, taking in the sights and hunting down collectibles.
There are plenty of points where you flat-out can’t touch the ground. Combined with how many stage hazards there are and how easy it is to misjudge a jump, this should be annoying. However, you can always freeze time to buy yourself a minute to think. And Ekko’s Zero Drive means you can just rewind a few seconds if you slip up. Unless you’ve run out of charges, in which case you’re out of luck.
One thing I noticed is that the game didn’t seem to expect me to backtrack as much as I did. Sometimes, when I revisited an area, old cutscenes would re-play out of context. Also, the difficulty ramps up exponentially towards the end, even on Heroic. Convergence is also pretty short and with relatively little replay value once you’ve collected everything. There’s definitely room for DLC expansions in the future.
In the end, Convergence: A League of Legends Story is a game about choosing who you want to be and forging bonds with others. No one can save the world alone. Isolation will only make you lose sight of what you were trying to save. It’s also a game about how awesome time-bending parkour is, and I respect that.
***PC code provided by the publisher***
- Slick controls
- Fun parkour mechanics
- Clever time travel puzzles
- Emotional storytelling
- Great worldbuilding
- High difficulty curve toward the end
- Cutscenes repeat sometimes
- Pretty short
- Relatively little replay value