Legends of Runeterra Review

Does the world need another fantasy-based card game?

Card games are a genre that has transitioned into the digital era with grace but also with a lot of legacy features that some of us don’t really find appealing.

Sure, you can justify that the business models that underpin games like Hearthstone by pointing out all of the free content you get but it still makes it a bit annoying to have to shell out cash each and every time you want to upgrade your deck.

At least with a physical game you have cards to hold. In the virtual world, you have nothing other than a printout of your receipt (if you want that).

One game that is charming enough to make us forget the DLC tax that holds it all together is Legends of Runeterra, a fun deck game based on the League of Legends IP.

You don’t need to be familiar with that game, but it might help make everything click with you that much more. One thing that we had a hard time wrapping our head around is the “why” behind this game. Does the world need another fantasy-based card game?

The jury is still out on that and it is a shame that almost any contender in this genre is compared with the aforementioned Blizzard property or the real OG, Magic the Gathering.

It might strike you as a copy of something superior at first glance, but what we have on offer here is innovative enough to warrant a second look.

For one thing, the action of the game moves much faster than either of the other games we mentioned. There is some tie in with the League of Legends lore but it won’t impact the game nor how you play it.

Again, we enjoyed how it assumed we knew nothing about one of the world’s biggest multiplayer games and that helped acclimate and establish the game as its own thing.

Another thing that we appreciated is that the game somewhat holds your hand or even helps guide your strategy.

A gameplay feature called the “Oracle’s Eye” will show you the impact of your moves down the road and this gives you loads of insight into how the mechanics of everything works. It’s pretty invaluable, especially if you’re not familiar with this kind of card game.

Graphics are serviceable if somewhat bright and generic from some perspectives. Overall, Legends of Runeterra delivers where it matters but there is one nagging issue.

The purchase of new cards is just a frustrating feature for a video game. We get it: If you’re used to this kind of thing, that mechanic probably isn’t a big deal. And for gamers raised in mobile ecosystems, the occasional purchase is justified. But when you’re trying to fall in love with a game and decide whether or not you want to put more of your time into it, the last thing you want to think about is a potential tax on your fun.

Because let’s face it, you’re going to have to upgrade your deck eventually. That’s just the way these games are. If you can stomach that, then Legends of Runeterra offers just enough of a change in the core game play that we think it merits a look.