I have gone on record many times saying that Riot Games' decision to expand the lore and universe of its flagship franchise, League of Legends, is one of the smartest in recent memory. After a decade of introducing dozens of characters both playable and non-playable – as well as descriptions of the world they all populate – we are finally now getting glimpses behind the curtain. Convergence: A League Of Legends Story is the latest of that ilk, and it is every bit as enjoyable as its predecessors.
Convergence follows Ekko, a LoL Champion that both seasoned players and those who watched Arcane on Netflix will be very familiar with. Ekko is a tinkerer, and his prowess in building and inventing has allowed him to invent a device with the ability to reverse time in short bursts. That mechanic plays a major role in Convergence, though in my experience it mostly serves as a "oops, let's try that again" saving grace when I miss a jump.
Traversal is huge in Convergence, and Double Stallion have done a wonderful job in building a playground for Ekko to move around in. What starts as simple platforming becomes a labyrinth of wall-running, swinging on posts, and wall-jumping in one big chain, which tests Ekko's mobility and my precision. It's very easy to get lost in exploration while playing this game, as the level designs make getting around this Metroidvania-style world a ton of fun.
This is a Metroidvania game through and through, which means as Ekko progresses through the story, he's going to gain a lot of extra powers. Most of these perks have utility both in and out of combat – one power slows time for extra attacks on enemies while also freezing moving platforms for easier traversal. Convergence mostly plays it safe in this regard, however, and sticks to the genre's known formula rather than trying something new. This isn't a bad choice, per se, but it's a safe one, and players looking for a new take on this well-trodden land won't find it.
Likewise, combat in Convergence is fun, but nothing terribly exciting. I have melee attacks, a long-distance disc which will damage enemies multiple times for as long as it's touching them, a dodge roll to escape attacks, and the aforementioned abilities found throughout the game. Mixing these up and toying with different combinations is cool and all, but again there's nothing here that moves the needle for the format. It's well-executed, and I enjoy fighting these enemies, dodging their attacks, and hitting them with cool time effects, but again nothing sticks out so much that it will change the game forever.
As for that time reversal mechanic, Ekko can activate it at will in order to take a different approach to a jump or defeat enemies in a different order. However, as I mentioned earlier, I mostly used it as a failsafe. If I fall into a pit or lose my last pip of health, the game slows down and immediately lets me reverse time and retry. Having the assurance of being able to try again is a double-edged sword: I'm willing to take more risks, but some challenges devolve into a trial-and-error scenario instead of being a test of skill.
I think Double Stallion realized this might happen however, and they made the smart decision to limit Ekko's time reversal powers. After I've used up all of its instances, the next pit I fall into or next health-depleting attack I absorb will send me to the Game Over screen. I respect the decision to not give the player this power infinitely, as it eventually forces me to think critically about a jump or group of enemies instead of just charging in with my weapon drawn. This, in turn, slows the gameplay down a bit and lets me enjoy the world I'm running through before deciding what to do.
The dozen or so hours of Convergence: A League Of Legends Story accomplished what it's set out to do: It told me a great story set within the League of Legends universe, and it did so with fun gameplay and a cool world to explore. Ekko is a fantastic character, and his time-bending kit is a lot of fun to mess around with while running, jumping, and climbing through the world of Zaun. However, the game plays it safe a lot of the time, which I feel holds it back from its true potential. I enjoyed Convergence, it is worthy of the franchise from which it was born, but it won't be the first game I think of when I look at the library Riot is building.
Full Disclosure: A code was provided by PR for the purposes of this review. Reviewed on PC.