League of Legends is a tricky game to get started with, and I know this because it frightens me. The high skill ceiling, hundreds of characters, and rather odd terminology make it one of those titles that you seriously need to commit to.
So when Riot Games announced an all-new version of its legendary MOBA for consoles and mobile, it seemed like there was maybe some hope for those who remain on the fence. Well, League of Legends: Wild Rift is now mere days away from launch, and it looks set to deliver on all fronts.
This is a gorgeous and polished take on League of Legends that works a treat on touchscreen devices and is able to ease novice players into its world and gameplay with surprising grace. From the slick menus to the smart implementation of touchscreen controls, it’s clear that this is no half-baked mobile port.
Straight off the bat, Wild Rift is a real looker. Simply navigating its menus and enjoying the many flashy character animations might be a small thing, but it shows an attention to detail that isn’t always evident in similar mobile titles. This carries into the gameplay, with Wild Rift’s lush environments, effects work, and striking character designs appearing crisp and highly detailed.
I was able to run the game at max settings on my OnePlus 8 and still maintain a stable 60 FPS throughout heated battles. For those with lower-spec devices, there is a 30 FPS mode and a host of graphical sliders that you can scale to your liking. That said, it’s clear to see that Wild Rift is already well optimised for mobile, so you might not even have to make any major concessions.
This smart, mobile-conscious design is also felt in the game’s reduced match times and touchscreen controls, which take a little bit of getting used to but ultimately prove reliable and comfortable.
At first glance, a good chunk of the screen real estate is taken up by buttons, icons, and essential info of all sorts. It’s… a lot. But after a couple of matches, you’ll find that it’s actually quick and intuitive to learn what everything is and how it all works.
For example, holding down on a specific attack or ability reminds you of its effects, while the dedicated tower and monster attack buttons mean that you don’t always have to rely on manual targeting. When the need arises, however, switching between enemies – even fast-moving ones – is easy to achieve.
For those completely new to League of Legends, Wild Rift also offers extensive tutorials, though you’ll likely pick up most of the essentials through normal play. Once you’re feeling somewhat confident in your abilities, it’s probably a good idea to play a few rounds against AI opponents before jumping into proper PVP. And don’t expect to test your mettle in ranked matches straight away; you’ll need to hit level ten before gaining access.
Similarly, new players may feel confused by the sheer number of characters available as part of the launch lineup, but they’ve so far been doled out in such a way that the game feels consistently rewarding without ever bordering on overwhelming. And because everything looks so darn good, sifting through each character’s skills to determine what sort of role you want to play isn’t the tedious exercise it might have been.
By wiping the slate clean and giving even the most fresh-faced players a fighting chance, Riot has made Wild Rift an incredibly inviting proposition. Despite facing some stiff competition in the mobile MOBA market, League of Legends: Wild Rift may now be the one to beat – and it’s only getting started.