League of Legends: Wild Rift Review

by in League of Legends | Dec, 28th 2020

More players have access to League of Legends: Wild Rift than ever before, so let’s do a somewhat quick review in case you’re wondering whether it’s as good as it looks! First of all, let’s not build any unnecessary suspense: Wild Rift is absolutely, stupendously amazing. It truly is. It’s a small wonder; the fact that Riot was able to translate the game we all know and love onto mobile devices with such staggering ease and precision is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

It’s not perfect, mind you, but it’s darn close. 

Of course, Tencent already pulled off a similar “miracle” with Arena of Valor. While the two titles share much of the same DNA, Wild Rift has more than enough original content (and unique gameplay elements) to be judged and analyzed as a standalone release — one that in no way stands in AoV’s shadow. 

So, without any further ado, let’s go over the most important stuff! 

The Gameplay

The one thing Riot knew they had to accomplish was to translate the full-fledged League of Legends experience from PC to mobile. That was the most important (and challenging) part of the job, and fortunately, they’ve passed the test with flying colors. 

Playing MOBA games on your phone — on paper — should be about as good as a visit to the dentist. In other words: a nightmarish experience. It is a gargantuan challenge and a somewhat stimulating (and potentially lucrative) one. When approached by the right team (and with the right mindset and expertise), this endlessly complex genre can not only translate to mobile devices, but it can also be equally as entertaining. 

It’ll never be an apples-to-apples comparison, but the point still stands. 

Wild Rift is all about playing League but in a wholly unique way. And it just works, despite the odds. It should never have been this good. We’re supposed to do so darn much with just our thumbs, and yet it all somehow feels natural and intuitive after just a couple of games. 

With time, as your skills grow and evolve, you’ll be able to experience the same sensations LoL is known for — the plays that make your hands shake, along with moments of monumental triumph and crushing defeat. And, well, most of the bad stuff too: arguing with teammates, intentional feeders, multiple players wanting to play the same role, and so on. 

Fortunately, games rarely last longer than fifteen minutes, so even if you’re trapped with a couple of aggressive Poles (one of which is probably an insufficiently talented Yasuo main), you’ll endure — it’s not as taxing or damaging to one’s psyche. 

And that’s perhaps the one thing no one’s talking about: it’s a lot less draining than regular Summoner’s Rift. It’s faster, it provides nearly the same experience, but it won’t leave you feeling quite as empty after missing that oh-so-important Smite or after your team gets wiped for the nth time in a row.

Resetting mentally is a lot easier, and that holds true for ranked games as well. 

The Items

Champion itemization is just one of the many integral gameplay elements that survived the transition onto mobile unscathed. It still needs a lot of tuning, but Riot will get there in due time. You feel every item purchase. And, much like in the full-fledged game, you’ll find yourself desperately craving a certain powerspike or an item that’ll allow you to survive just a little bit longer for it to make a difference. 

Plus, if you’ve played League on PC, then you already know what to build and often in what order. You know the rules of the game and the geometry of this vast world. That was the whole point, after all: to allow seasoned players to “drop-in” and play without skipping a beat. The altered (touch-only) control scheme will take some getting used to, but it’s not as bad as it might look at first glance. There’s a button for everything, and your screen real estate is well optimized. You have a button for recalling, your Summoner Spells, an active item, abilities, wards, a slew of pings, suggested item purchases, along with a dedicated set of buttons for attacking. The first one will prioritize minions, the second will go for turrets, and the third will make your champion hit anything in sight. 

That’s a surprising amount of control all underneath your fingertips! And, if you’re precise enough, it’s all you’ll need to dominate on the Summoner’s Rift. 

User Experience

Most mobile MOBAs have a laundry list of pitfalls and flaws that will get the better of you sooner or later. Fortunately, Riot had great examples to learn from, which is why they didn’t make the same mistakes with Wild Rift. There are still some similarities (pop-ups, an overwhelming number of buttons, tokens, and the like), but it’s pretty subdued by mobile MOBA standards. 

In short, it looks and feels like a triple-A title — only on mobile. 

Perhaps the most surprising thing in our review is just how feature-rich Wild Rift is. Friend lists, in-game (and in-client) chat, match history, in-depth stats, analytics, graphs, practice mode, a full-fledged champion model viewer, player profiles, achievements, seasonal events, emotes, skins, champion poses, player configurable pre-game item builds and loadouts, etc. 

It really has it all. 

And the best part? It all runs so darn well. There are no hiccups whatsoever. And it’s not particularly demanding hardware-wise either. Plus, if you have a beastly device (think Snapdragon 835+ CPUs), you can tinker with the settings and make Wild Rift look so good your mouth will water. This includes a constant 60 FPS at the highest possible settings. Not too, shabby! 

The Ranked Experience

This is where things get a bit divisive. Overall, it’s pretty much the same as on PC — a lot of fun and often a bit too toxic. However, the biggest pitfall is that there’s still no role queue, along with the fact that most newcomers start playing ranked without really being proficient at the game. There’s a surprising number of people who don’t have any prior LoL experience, so temper your expectations. When it’s good, it’s mind-blowing, but when it’s bad, it can get quite dicey. 

If you’re in Europe, you won’t wait longer than 10 seconds to get into a ranked game, and if you’re into normals, your queue times are often no longer than just two or three seconds. Many people are playing Wild Rift, and it’s easy to understand why — it’s a guaranteed hit.

And everything about the core gameplay is mesmerizing, too. Between the moment you queue up and the second you spawn on the Summoner’s Rift, you’ll encounter a bevy of lavish animations, exceptional design, and staggering attention to detail. Everything is moving in unison, thoughtfully designed and crafted with care. Wild Rift is more beautiful (and faster) than even the full-fledged LoL client. Granted, that’s not exactly a hard thing to accomplish, but the point stands nonetheless. 

It’s insane. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was just a video playing from start to finish or a well-made mockup created by a talented motion graphics artist. And yet, it’s all actual gameplay, happening in the palm of your hand. If you’re looking for proof as to whether mobile gaming is the future — look no further than Wild Rift. 

Closing Remarks

If you’re lucky enough to be located in a country that’s currently a part of the open beta, do yourself a favor and hurry over to your appropriate app store and download the game — you won’t regret it! And if that’s not the case, then hold tight as your time will come! Wild Rift is well worth the wait, that’s for sure! 


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