Riot Games’ surprise release, ‘Ruined King: A League of Legends Story’ is a smash hit that will satisfy fans and regular gamers alike

Courtesy of Riot Games

A spoiler-free review of “Ruined King”

“Ruined King” is a single player JRPG, based on Riot’s massively popular flagship game “League of Legends,” and offers both familiarity to longtime players, and a brand new opportunity for those who haven’t been introduced to the world of “LoL” yet.


Released under the Riot Forge brand and developed by Airship Syndicate (known for “Darksiders: Genesis and Battle Chasers: Nightwar”), “Ruined King” was originally slated to be released in 2019, but was delayed due to COVID. In a surprise announcement during Riot’s stream about upcoming projects on Tuesday, the game was launched worldwide. 


Instead of PvP centered gameplay, “Ruined King” focuses on the lore and backstory of various characters from “League of Legends” in its RPG format. Players will adventure across iconic locations like the pirate haven Bilgewater and the mysterious Shadow Isles, controlling some of their favorite champions, and battling others. 


Despite not being a massive AAA game company, Airship Syndicate has done an excellent job of meeting and even surpassing the expectations for a title carrying this much recognition. Both the 2D and 3D artwork look amazing, the gameplay is smooth and the game runs easily even at 60fps with max settings. 


In the genre of JRPG’s, “Ruined King” holds its own with a significant degree of specialization and variety available for multiple play-styles. Characters have a wide ability tree that can be customized to fit your preferred style and can be changed at will. Combat is fluid and easy to understand and the mechanics will be familiar for anyone who has played turn-based games before. On harder difficulties, strategy and optimal customization are essential, but the game offers casual difficulty modes for those who are more interested in just seeing the story play out. 


Unlike many spin-off games, “Ruined King” does an excellent job of introducing you to the lore of the world without relying much on previous knowledge. League players will of course be quick to see how the champions they know are fleshed out in this game, but newcomers will be introduced to the world and its inhabitants just as well. Characters like the Pirate queen Miss Fortune, the lone swordsman Yasuo and the cheerful brawler Braum all have stories that will be explored, their relationships with each other shown in detail. Some of this will actually be new to everyone, making the game just that much more intriguing


As a MOBA game, “League of Legends” has never been particularly heavy on the lore side, so seeing characters come to life in stories of their own, strengthening them over time and overcoming challenges as them will offer some much desired insight into the world of “Runeterra.” The combination of a well crafted story, exciting gameplay, and adventuring aspects of a well constructed RPG is sure to grab and keep any gamer’s attention.


Fans of longer single player games can see “Ruined King” as a sort of RPG snack, as it primarily focuses on a linear-driven storyline, with a scattering of side quests and optional objectives to fill out your time.  At about 15 hours played, the game shows 49% completion, including some leisure time spent quietly fishing. 


One of the only downsides to the entire game is the lack of fast-travel, as you will be forced to run around the map the majority of the time. As the background art and character animations are superbly done, and the music, be it jolly pirate themed or dark and moody, never seems to get old, this may not be so much of a problem. Odds are, the worst part about playing the game will be when you have to put it down. 


“Ruined King” is available now on a variety of platforms including the Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, and Playstation and uses 10GB of memory. Base price starts at $29.99, with some optional DLC available to be purchased for skins and gear. 


Updated Dec. 6 at 1:08 p.m. to add quotations on game titles