The Mageseeker review: Light up the dark secrets of Demacia

Demacia’s destiny is in your hands.

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Image via Riot Games

The Mageseeker: a League of Legends Story goes beyond sharing the backstory of one champion from the Riot Games title and embarks on a political journey dappled with magic. The story follows Sylas, a former Mageseeker, as he breaks the chains of his imprisonment and vows to free Demacia from the corruption and fear installed by the ruling regime. The Unshackled Sylas will join the same rebellion he sparked and will learn to put aside his own desire for vengeance to be the leader his people need. 

Image via Riot Forge

It’s a story of fear, hope, revenge, and forgiveness all encompassed in a challenging political environment that dives deep into the hypocrisy of the great nation of Demacia. The Mageseeker is a solid standalone game that can be enjoyed without prior knowledge of the main League of Legends universe that inspired its creation. But fans of Runeterra’s lore will be thrilled to explore the Dark Forest surrounding the Great City of Demacia, Terbisia, Meltridge, and all the other locations that were only dots on an interactive map before

The Mageseeker teaches how a rebellion can grow from a little spark to a roaring flame that can brighten the future of an entire nation. The main missions provide unique storylines and interesting combat encounters, while the secondary ones can feel a bit repetitive at first. Fortunately, the ability to change which boosts you use for which spells alters each run enough to add depth that ensures these missions remain interesting.

The music and animation will put a spell on you

While the political theme runs through the entire game, moving the main story towards the evolution of a nation, the shades the plot takes interchange from lighthearted romance to plunging despair. Even before the characters have a chance to interact with each other, the tone of each encounter is set by ambient music that fits every scene, perfectly conveying the subtle emotions of each moment.

Gareth Coker is credited for The Mageseeker music and has also worked on The Ruined King game. His work continues to be the perfect fit for Riot Forge’s titles, and Mageseeker’s songs would feel just as at home in an epic Game of Thrones episode. The dark and corrupt side of the nation of Demacia is felt through every note of the organ in Eldred’s office, the sadness of regret or the loss of a friend is highlighted perfectly through every cello solo in the game. 

Every set and environment has its own track that mimics the visuals you see, and the spot-on sound effects give the game that extra touch that makes everything feel more immersive. The small details that make Mageseeker shine even brighter are not only found in sounds but also in the slight changes in the environment as Sylas walks by and in the spell’s animations. The art and animation team at Digital Sun exceeded our expectations with the dedication put into every pixel of The Mageseeker.

Image via Riot Forge

More evident adjustments can be seen in the mages’ hideout throughout the game, which makes for an entertaining yet relaxing environment for players to explore in between missions. In the ever-changing base, League fans will be thrilled to spot familiar items and recognize descriptions of well-known characters from other regions of Runeterra. 

While there aren’t as many Easter Eggs as lore fans probably wanted, iconic objects, names, and even games from the Riot Games’ universe intertwine in The Mageseeker—but they’re for you to discover yourself.

Complex but rewarding combat style to make your own

Sylas’ unique combat style combines brute force with carefully crafted—or stolen— spells to make for a unique take on the combat and movements within the game. Much like in League, Sylas can use his chains to physically smash his opponents, grab and leap towards them—or towards an object—and steal the enemies’ spells to make them his own. While encountering new and old faces, you will also catch sight of familiar spells and learn new ones to combine and find their own fighting style. 

Narratively speaking, there’s little room to carve your own path in The Mageseeker, as the game leads you towards a predestined fate, but how Sylas fights his way to his destiny is up to you. It’s not immediate to fully grasp the optimal way to fight, which demands you to combine both physical attacks and spells. 

Image via Riot Forge

You can learn new spells by stealing them from their owner, usually an opponent, and unlock them by receiving help from one of the allies in the mage’s hideout. The secondary missions are a great way to experiment with various combinations of spells that you will unlock as the game progresses. Combat is quick and demands you to be reactive, even at the lowest level of difficulty, and it asks you to chain physical attacks into dashes into spells into special moves while avoiding enemy attacks. 

Special moves and combos can be learned by acquiring followers and bringing them on the mission with Sylas. Their distinctive moves require a specific key combination that will make for a good challenge for even the fastest and most coordinated gamers out there, but it might be difficult at first for less experienced players. Still, blindly smashing buttons is equally entertaining. 

Bright colors and stunning visual effects make it easy to recognize the spells and elemental magic used by various enemies. And while the frequent opponents can only use one spell, Sylas can steal them all and store up to four of them—plus an ultimate ability of his choice. Unfortunately, it is not well indicated how to change between the saved spells while in combat or when not near a save point.  

Three ways to enjoy tearing down a kingdom

The game’s greatest assets are its high potential for great speed runs and its perfect balance between story and gameplay. At the beginning of the game, you can choose the level of difficulty of your run by giving priority to either the story or the combat, pleasing gamers of all kinds. 

Image via Riot Forge

For lore lovers, the “Rebel” level of difficulty will be the most obvious choice since it gives you the chance to explore and unveil all hidden bits of the story in the game. For combat-driven gamers, the “King Slayer” might be where you will find most challenges—the same choice could be made for speedrunners who want to dare to defy their limits. League players who want to try out a different kind of game than MOBAs can tap into the “Chain Breaker” level of difficulty, which weds a medium level of difficulty in fighting with plenty of opportunities to explore the lore of Dmacia’s territories. 

Overall experiencing The Mageseeker as a League fan is an entertaining break from the Rift accompanied by a stellar soundtrack, visuals, and engaging gameplay. For the moderate price of $29.99, The Mageseeker: a League of Legends Story gives Runeterra’s fans a unique way to explore more of their favorite universe. 

Score: 8/10

Disclosure: Our review copy of The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story was provided courtesy of Riot Forge.

Author

Cecilia Ciocchetti
Freelance writer mainly focusing on the League of Legends and VALORANT esports scenes. Sometimes at events interviewing professionals of the scene, from players to the talented people working behind the curtains. You can reach out to me via Twitter.