Convergence: A League Of Legends Story Review (PS5) – A Surprising Metroidvania With Real Heart And Innovation – PlayStation Universe

Convergence: A League Of Legends Story Review (PS5) - A Surprising Metroidvania With Real Heart And Innovation - PlayStation Universe

Convergence: A League Of Legends Story PS5 review. For the longest time League of Legends always seemed like this impenetrable online MOBA that was solely the purview of PC owners and folks with far too many cans of energy drinks at their disposal. As it turns out, thanks in no small part to the success of a sterling Netflix adaptation in Arcane and a wealth of lore being infused into the game itself, League of Legends has a deeply fleshed out world with a cast of characters to match.

Convergence: A League of Legends Story then is the latest console bound spin-off to tackle this mammoth setting and it seems that each of these offshoots from the source material attempts to channel a different genre. 2021’s Ruined King: A League of Legends Story for instance is a turn-based strategy RPG, while Convergence instead offers up itself as a two-dimensional Metroidvania platformer. At the very least it’s commendable to see IP holder Riot Forge embracing variety this way. Perhaps most surprisingly (either because I didn’t expect much from a League of Legends spin-off, or because I hadn’t heard much about Convergence before playing it – I’m not sure which), Convergence makes its mark as a resoundingly solid take on the Metroidvania formula with an abundance of innovation and most unexpectedly of all, heart.

Convergence: A League Of Legends Story PS5 Review

A Surprising Metroidvania With Real Heart And Innovation

Taking place in the city of Zaun, a dystopian undercity rife with pollution from its economic betters that live above in Piltover, Convergence puts players in charge of Ekko, a young inventor who with his ability to rewind time desperately wants to make life better for his family and friends as he struggles against the various Chembarons and other nefarious individuals that seek power and little else. Throwing a wrench into all of this, Ekko also finds himself visited by his future self who is hellbent on working with his younger counterpart to avert a disaster years later by any means necessary.

Quite unlike many other Metroidvania offerings, Convergence has a story and cast of characters that you actually care about. For his part Ekko is an extremely likeable sort – almost a Peter Parker style character that balances genius with real affection for his loved ones, but he isn’t perfect and Convergence feels as much a coming of age tale as it does an epic struggle against dystopian powers. Likewise, Ekko’s many supporting cast members such as his shy but good-hearted friend Lem (complete with adorable augmented pooch), the brawny and stout but caring Rungs and Ekko’s own ailing but affectionate parents all add to this overall collage of characters that tug on the heartstrings and thus, invest you in the story as a result.

What also helps is that the voice acting is absolutely top-notch and right up there with some of the best I think I have ever had the pleasure to hear. Though all of the characters are voiced superbly, given the heavy lifting that Ekko has to do within the overall plot it’s a credit to his voice actor (Reed Shannon – who coincidentally sounds extremely similar to Nadji Jeter who voices Miles Morales in the Marvel Spider-Man games) that Convergence’s protagonist comes across in such a very grounded and emotionally deep way that other heroes in similar fare simply do not.

Before we shift gears and start looking at the game design side of things, it’s also worth mentioning that Convergence can still be enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the League of Legends property. Given how sprawling and expansive League of Legends is and continues to be, credit should be given to the writers for not only making Convergence feel approachable, but also embedding its story in the League of Legends lore in such a way that long-time fans will get a hoot from the various recognisable characters and worlds too.

At its heart Convergence is very much a Metroidvania platformer in the most traditional sense in that you’ll spend a whole heap of time leaping across a variety of hub areas and bespoke worlds, getting mildly annoyed at the fact that there are inaccessible areas that you can’t reach because you don’t have the ability to do so at that point in time, only to come back later when you do.

Of course there’s much more to Convergence than just the fundamentals. Firstly, the manner in which traversal is handled is highly gratifying to say the least. Though you only begin with just a basic leap (and not even a double one at that), you begin to augment your abilities with wall-runs, rope-slides and more besides – allowing you to reach those inaccessible areas I mentioned earlier. But where Convergence really shines is in how it often combines all of these different abilities in a single setting, creating a skill-based obstacle course of sorts that creates a focus on speed and momentum.

Perhaps the best example of how this achieved in-game is by Ekko’s pursuit of robots stuffed with loot, encouraging him to catch them before they jump into a convenient hidey hole positioned at the end of an obstacle course. From leaps onto swing bars, chaining into wall-runs and then linked into rail-grinds all performed at a swift clip, the feeling of speed and momentum that you get from the platforming shenanigans in Convergence really makes it stand out among its more pedestrian peers. Also, Convergence separates itself yet further still by allowing Ekko to employ his Zero Drive device and rewind time should he plunge to an unfortunate doom – though use of the ability is finite and must be considered duly.

Happily, I can also report that the combat in Convergence is also similarly innovative and is a whole heap of fun to boot. Primarily melee focused, combat in Convergence often has Ekko fighting a number of different enemies at once all with their own strengths, weaknesses and a range of unique abilities to keep things spicy.

It’s also a beautifully acrobatic affair too which makes full use of Ekko’s increasingly powerful time manipulation abilities and in many ways these battles feel appropriately analogous to the platforming assault courses I mentioned earlier. For example, in a fight with many different enemies you can find yourself leaping behind shield-wielding enemies to strike at their weak spot, all the while using a ranged disc attack to stymie projectile enemies and then employing a time slowdown ability to prevent highly damaging enemies from getting in close. Combat in Convergence really is quite extraordinary in how it allows the player to be creative in how they approach each and every combat situation and it always feels nothing less than super satisfying because of that. And yep, much like the traversal side of things, Ekko can use his Zero Drive to rewind time should things be taking a turn southward, too.

When it comes to progression, beyond the central Metroidvania staple of tasking players to unlock new abilities to more fully explore Zaun, Convergence also allows Ekko to collect cogs and all manner of rare parts to craft gadgets that augment his various abilities, while his friend Rungs can teach him a wide variety of offensive moves in return for a quantity of cogs. Beyond that, Ekko can also track down and locate various trinkets that can be traded in for cogs and components, while handing in special items to his best friend Elie can be used to fashion cosmetic changes to his outfit.

As one might expect seeking out these secrets also runs concurrently with Ekko gaining new abilities, since you’re not only encouraged to backtrack in order to gain access to previously visited areas to progress the story, but also delve into those previously unreachable nooks and crannies to maximise the amount of loot you can collect too. It’s Metroidvania 101 for sure but it still feels as compelling here as it has in the likes of such genre luminaries as Dead Cells, Hollow Knight and others.

At around 15-20 hours for full completion, Convergence boasts a fairly chunky map. The problem is there’s no fast travel, or at least not an obvious way of engaging it as far as I could see, so this essentially means that there is far more backtracking than you would normally have in a game of this type. And this is especially galling not least because the core of the Metroidvania formula is backtracking, so having to do a whole bunch of it on top of that isn’t exactly great (though you can exit previously visited areas at any point, though doing so merely takes you the entrance rather than anywhere else).

In addition to its superb audio presentation, Convergence also absolutely looks the part too. With colourful, comic book style flair evident in both its characters and their surrounding environment, coupled with super fluid 60 frames per second action and a range of beautiful particle effects (especially when Ekko engages his time manipulation abilities), Convergence is certainly right up there with some of the best looking Metroidvania efforts out there.

Convergence: A League of Legends Story doesn’t just manage to stand on its own two feet as a gripping spin-off to the League of Legends property at large, but so too does it also craft an astoundingly accomplished Metroidvania that stands on its own two feet, tying together innovation and heart in one of the most welcome surprises of the year so far.

Review code kindly supplied by PR.

Convergence: A League of Legends is out now on PS4 and PS5.