Apr 092013
 
Udyr, the Spirit Walker
Udyr, the Spirit Walker

Udyr, the Spirit Walker is able to channel the ferocity of the tiger, the resilience of the turtle, the strength of the bear and the mysticism of the phoenix. Such a multifaceted champion is ripe with potential for complex skins but his options are currently very limited. When choosing your look there’s no need to let your rage get beyond your control, just pay a visit to his skins’ review.

Black Belt Udyr
Black Belt Udyr Splash Art Black Belt Udyr Model
Category: Regular
Price: 520 RP
Concept: Udyr wearing a green gi with a Riot logo and caucasian features.
Model: New textures for Udyr.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: Without a proper background to speak of Udyr stands on, let’s say, a cliff surrounded by phoenix flames that are the consequence of his immense power. His forced pose evidently tries to communicate his incredible physical might but the piece’s focus goes too far. Half of the piece is empty and Udyr isn’t well depicted. His body isn’t well proportioned as his limbs appear stubby and his body too broad. That’s not to speak of the uneven shading which makes part of his body acceptable, around his face, but the rest simply sketchy. It seems that in pursuit of dramatic impact the piece forgets to get the basics right. At least his expression is clear even if a wolf skin isn’t really one of his choices. All things considered, this is a disappointing splash art. It barely gives a basic idea of Udyr’s look but also with obvious flaws.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Black Belt Udyr is a skin that offers so little that it’s difficult to find something attractive about it. If you are a rabid fan of green or like the idea of sporting the Riot fist on your very champion then the skin delivers. However, it practically looks like Classic Udyr except it has a price. Even the most fanatic Udyr fans and collectors may find trouble justifying the expense of this uninspired skin.

Primal Udyr
Primal Udyr Splash Art Primal Udyr Model
Category: Legacy
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Udyr dressed as his chosen animal spirits.
Model: New models for each of his stances.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: No new animations.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: The background is a rather messy affair that hardly offers a true setting. Only a few bamboo stalks on the left, a hint of water on the right, some fire at the top and a cloud of smoke on the bottom try to fittingly match the quartet of Udyrs. The group of stances pose in an eye-catching arrangement but the portrayal’s quality is uneven. The centre of the group seems rather clear but the borders look quite rough; especially near the smoky frame. Besides, the Phoenix Stance also looks a bit crude with its thread-like flames and dull colours. This piece has obvious problems but manages a very nice composition that offers a useful representation of the primal look.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Primal Udyr isn’t a revolutionary skin due to its technical merits but it’s certainly an awesome skin as far as visuals go. While the classic base remains, each stance adopts new clothes to clearly represent the associated animal spirit. The effect can be a bit flamboyant and impractical but it surely compensates with attractive visuals. At its best is like having four skins in one and at its worst it seems like looking at a maniac cosplayer. In the end, the stances could’ve been better developed, Phoenix stance lacks claws for instance, and also could separate themselves better from Classic Udyr; the skirt is an obvious re-use of his gi. Nonetheless, the result is definitely appealing and any fan of Udyr will find Primal Udyr as the true interpretation of the Spirit Walker.

Spirit Guard Udyr
Spirit Guard Udyr Splash Art Spirit Guard Udyr Model
Category: Ultimate
Price: 3250 RP
Concept: Udyr as a mystical guardian monk.
Model: New model for Udyr and moderate model modifications for each stance and additional modifications at maximum rank.
Particles: New particles for each stance, changing stances, recall and death based on stance and at maximum rank. New particles for killing enemies and emotes in each stance.
Animations: New animations for changing stances, emotes and recall. Additionally, for standing idle, walk, run and auto-attacks; based on stance. Also, for his death below and at maximum rank.
Sounds: New voice-over with additional quotes for recall, respawn, start of match, defeating neutral monsters, placing wards, changing stances at maximum rank and some champion specific interactions. New sounds for his stances and auto-attacks.
Extras: Four Summoner icons and banners, one per stance. Animated splash art for the champion’s profile overview. New in-game champion portrait.
Splash Art: A direct look at Udyr rampaging towards the viewer in a feral state surely attracts anyone’s attention and desire to flee. In this case the portrayal speaks loud and clear about the power bestowed on Udyr by his bear spirit. The shading also helps with a good amount of lighting effects and details like dents and folds. The bear spirit on the background reinforces the portrayal but that’s all it does. The rest is just rocks and night sky which serve as a frame but tell nothing. Moreover, as there’s no hint to the other animal spirits the piece seems limited. All things considered, this is a great portrayal of Udyr; even if his pose makes looking at his whole body a bit difficult. Still, it communicates his power and mysticism very well. As a whole it could’ve had a more interesting background and better integration of his animal spirits but it’s a good piece nonetheless.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: Spirit Guard Udyr refines and furthers Udyr’s core theme retaining his classic feel with a clearer visual expressiveness. The aspect believably presents him both as a martial artist and a monk in equal measure. This balance is maintained by the subtle manifestation of the spirits: Udyr’s arms are bestowed the abilities of each animal. At the peak of their power they alter his human appearance with bestial traits but keep the human monk below. This way the skin stays grounded but it also feels like there’s wasted potential. What if at maximum rank Udyr had became an anthropomorphised animal instead?
The particles don’t disappoint at displaying Udyr’s mystical powers. The stances’ effects provide a fantastic show, especially at maximum rank, but the summoned animal spirits steal the show: they almost come to life with each stance as they act and react in unison with Udyr. They finely display the communion between monk and spirits.
The animations make Udyr shine as a martial artist with different combat styles for each stance. This lets an attractive facet of Udyr surface and also supplements the relationship with each animal. Additionally, it’s noteworthy how Udyr keeps a special pose between attacks and how he stops after actions: each move leaving him ready for combat.
As far as sounds go, they aren’t a standout but manage to add extra impact to his actions. However, the extensive voice-over is the actual highlight: practically every action is accompanied by one of multiple quotes. It can feel as if Udyr is narrating his battles.
It’s worth mentioning that Spirit Guard Udyr provides a neutral model at the beginning of the match instead of starting in bear stance. Besides, the visual changes reveal when you have reached the maximum rank of a stance. These elements could be a concern for competitive players. Furthermore, the beginning of match quote doesn’t seem to play.
All things considered, Spirit Guard Udyr is deserving of its ultimate label. Regardless, it still doesn’t seem spectacular or impressive enough for its prohibitive price. The initial sale makes it a product worth recommending but its regular price remains rather high. It’s certainly a skin that goes an extra step of usual expectations but also asks for quite an investment.

Definitely Not Udyr
Definitely Not Udyr Splash Art Definitely Not Udyr Model
Category: Regular
Price: 975 RP
Concept: Udyr wearing animal costumes for each stance.
Model: New model for Udyr with major model changes for each stance.
Particles: No new particles.
Animations: New recall animation.
Sounds: No new sounds.
Splash Art: As a shared splash art five champions need to distribute the spotlight in equal parts and, for the most part, that’s accomplished; though the effect is diluted. The setup is believable but some elements stand as predictable. The idea of a costume party is well chosen: it allows the champions to stay together while also adding multiple references as miscellaneous items: like the Urf banner, the bannana skin or the champion head balloons.
The selfie angle seems like a way to standardize and even freeze behaviour. A photograph in the middle of the fun is reasonable but it would’ve been more interesting to see how each of the champions behaves and what they do at the party. The spotlight is effectively shared like this and the champions manage to instil some of their personality with their poses but the feeling remains that more could’ve been revealed.
What can be an irking element is the ever depressing situation of Amumu. While his sadness is a defining characteristic he appears to have been left out of the fun instead of being a victim to his moods; as would be expected. Perhaps if he was in the party but unable to partake in the fun, hiding in a corner, it would be a better representation, and probably less cruel, of the champion’s nature.
The shading and lines used in the piece are correct even if the colours can look waxy in places. The aesthetic is stylized but in a fitting way that doesn’t detract from the picture. What does affect it negatively is the arbitrary and profound depth of feel effect. It might be a camera with a narrow focus but it also seems to clearly display certain elements from the background which are surrounded by fog, because they might be relevant, and not others; regardless of how believable that might be.
All in all, it’s a correct piece that does a good job at displaying five champions in a relevant setting. The composition is good, some elements are unsurprising and the impact of each champion is weakened but, ultimately, it works.
Rating: Star clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZeroStar clip art used in skin reviews at StrategyZero
Conclusion: As a disguise, the costumes used in Definitely Not Udyr hardly make a good job at concealing his identity. At a glance, the costumes are self-explanatory and the huge geta remove any shadow of a doubt. Speaking of the costumes they have a clearly unrealistic style resembling the ones used for promotions. Their most significant difference might be the opening for Udyr’s face and classic beard to emerge. The designs are in all cases correct but not exciting. They communicate the animal aesthetic but in a simplistic way. Perhaps this design would’ve been better used in a funny skin where Udyr dresses up to sell products. It’s not a bad style for Udyr but it’s neither impressive nor funny. In addition to this, the Usain Bolt pose used for the recall makes little sense and seems an afterthought.
All things considered, Definitely Not Udyr has its charm but only scratches the funny angle that it appears to suggest. Its direct competition is Primal Udyr and in that case the more serious and evocative designs of Primal pose a great challenge. Definitely Not Udyr is neither serious nor really funny so it seems to suggest an identity without defining it. If you like the appearance then it’s a skin with something to offer but there’s ample unexploited potential.

Conclusion

In spite of his long time on the League of Legends Udyr doesn’t have much of a wardrobe to depend on. The recommended skin is visibly Primal Udyr due to its fantastic and explicit version of animal stances. Udyr’s fans will find it a superior choice to his classic incarnation despite its unfeasibility.

Definitely Not Udyr is a skin of costumes that isn’t as funny as it could despite appearances. The visuals can seem simple and the caricatures stay at that. It’s a skin with a distinct style but also without a well defined identity.

Black Belt Udyr is a skin so simple and unimpressive that is difficult to find something attractive about it. There are some changes but they seem irrelevant and hardly worth the expense. Unless the new colour scheme particularly appeals to you Classic Udyr will surely suffice.

Finally, Spirit Guard Udyr is a great skin that distils his mysticism and martial arts into one refined whole. The skin effectively turns him into a fantastic monk with a flair for narration. At its discounted price no fan of Udyr should miss it but its regular price makes it a product only for the most devoted. It surely refines his core concept but Primal Udyr still stands firm as an appealing and cheaper alternative.

  39 Responses to “League of Legends: Udyr Skins’ Review”

  1. Excuse me but how is Blackbelt Udyr colored green when it’s infact Orange in color…

    And by the way, although I enjoyed reading your skin reviews, I find it hard to believe that some review of yours are inconsistent. For example in the Lord Darius skin, you mentioned it not having the scar and dead-white like eyes but if you look alot closer, you will see that they did have it on such skin.

    • We checked and we could only see Udyr wearing a green gi in Black Belt Udyr regardless of the stance he’s in. We do know that there is an orange version as the LoL Skin Viewer shows but we are unable to find it in-game. Could it be a regional difference?

      We certainly can make mistakes as we are far from infallible. However, what we mentioned in the Darius review was “Darius face looks plain, especially in comparison with the splash art where his eyes have an in-human glow and an imposing scar marks his ferocity.” We checked closely with a skin viewer and both scar and glow are very faintly added; to the point that without a really close view they are practically indistinguishable.

      The problem is that the look in-game doesn’t even come close to that in the splash art. The elements are faintly there but the aspect is far from the impressive statement made in the splash art; which disappoints.

  2. Are you going to do a first impressions with Spirit Guard Udyr, or do you not have a PBE account? I can tell you, that skin is much better than Pulsefire Ezreal. When Reviewing it I urge you to consider the enormous amount of interactions the skin has – they make the game feel much more… alive. On the forums I compared SGU to a book, in that it may look simple on the outside, but once you use it, it’s nothing short of amazing. Looking forward to your review/first impressions!

    • Indeed we are doing a preview of Spirit Guard Udyr though we’ll reserve our judgement for when the skin is released. We’ll probably just list characteristics and lay a few ideas around the way but nothing as detailed as a review.

  3. Now that Spirit Guard Udyr is released, I’m guessing a review of it is in the works…am I right?

    • Yes, you are right.

      • Wondering where you compare the splash art…do you compare the one they show when you load up or the one you go when you would purchase/browse through skins? I only ask because I noticed you can see Udyr change spirits after a few seconds when you view the skin from the shop and wondered if you overlooked that.

        • The splash art we consider is the one used when loading, the classic jpeg image. In fact, Pulsefire Ezreal also has a nice animation when browsing through his skins. However, the static image is the one that usually appears and is used the most to present a skin; which is why we centre on it.

          Still, thanks for the notice.

  4. Hm – I love your reviews yet somehow this feels a bit harsh (ie 3 stars). To me the multiple animated splash arts, the summoner icons, and all the various special details you listed in the review (vo, vfx, animations etc) would seem to warrant at least a 4 out of 5 stars. I guess it’s the price that’s dragging the rating down?

    • From reading the review, I think he overlooked the splash art as well because he mentioned only the bear form and stated the others were absent. Watching it change from spirit to spirit was something I thought was pretty cool too

      • We could add such animations as an extra even if they aren’t exactly the traditional splash art. They may not be seen much, usually, but they are something only ultimate skins have.

        Thanks for the idea.

    • Indeed, the ultimate price of the skin is something that severely affects the value of the skin. At its sale price of 1950 RP it would, at least, warrant an extra star but 3250 RP is a huge investment. There’s no doubt that the skin offers a lot and is quite visually and aurally attractive but it’s also very expensive.

  5. I agree with most of the things you say about SGU, and it’s definitely not worth 5 stars (maybe not even 4), but I don’t think you can give it the same score you gave PFE – it has so much more, and it is incredibly innovative as it “forces” you to play the skin to enjoy it – you have to experience the quotes, the reactions, the animations and model evolution. I guess that’s the limit of the 5 star rating system though.. 4 stars seems high for such a pricey skin, but 3 stars seems too low. Is there any way you could give it a 3 1/2 stars score? I know it sounds nit-picky, but it’s to differentiate it from PFE, which I think is inferior, at least slightly. Keep up the good work 🙂

    (I think that at the intro price it is a solid 5 stars, and would never go back on my purchase)

    • To be fair, Spirit Guard Udyr and Pulsefire Ezreal offer different experiences. Regardless, strictly speaking about technical merit both skins are awesome and provide a similar amount of changes. For instance, SGU has a new model which is modified to display each stance; whether at maximum rank or below, the base remains. PFE has an evolving model but instead of changing drastically it does so in small steps. By level 16, Ezreal’s armour is practically completely different.

      SGU has a huge amount of quotes but PFE is still the only skin with a dual voice-over: PEARL and Ezreal. SGU has new animations for each stance but PFE has his armour and cannon animated during many actions. In other words, both skins display a lot of work but SGU could be more evident and PFE more subtle about it. Both are complex skins that you have to experience to fully appreciate all they offer.

      In the end, we can agree that both are fantastic skins and that the release sale makes an ultimate skin a great recommendation.

      • I think SGU is more subtle about it’s qualities, as the quotes don’t pop up just by running around, they pop up by interacting with the environment. I might be looking at this from a subjective point of view, but keep in mind that when Udyr kills things, he has a huge amount of “soul animations” that change for each stance, and even between large enemies and small enemies. PFE has one. This has nothing to do with Udyr having 4 stances, because they could’ve easily used the same soul animation recolored 4 times, instead of making something like 8 different ones (just compare the soul animation of phoenix when you kill a minion and when you kill a champion – the champion has an additional phoenix sound on kill). I guess you could say that the environment quotes even out with the dual VU, and it probably comes down to my personal preference. I don’t know. I respect your opinion entirely, but I just feel that SGU has a slight edge over PFE, not to mention more depth. Cheers!

        • It could be that SGU has a slight edge over PFE because, to be fair, ultimate skins are very complex. However, we still don’t think it does enough to offset the high price. At the sale price, it’s a fantastic purchase, no doubt. Still, at the regular price it’s so expensive that it really has to impress in all ways to seem like it’s great.

          We look at it this way: the more expensive a skin is the more it has to do to stand out. So, at this price point we think it’s reasonable to ask the skin to do quite a bit to impress.

          • Yup I agree with that. All I was commenting on was the limitation the 5 star system has – you can’t differentiate between PFE and SGU really. Great review anyway 🙂

          • Glad that you liked the review.

            Indeed, the five star system does have its limitations. However, it seems clear enough to show if something is good, great or excellent (three, four and five stars). Nonetheless, in the event of direct comparisons more detail is necessary, as you explained.

            On the whole, it works well for recommendations but for a more specific analysis we agree that it isn’t as effective.

  6. i really expected more from Spirit Guard Udyr, even if i am disappointed i still think it’s a 4 stars skin

    • We understand that the skin offers quite a display but we simply don’t feel comfortable giving the skin a higher rating due to the high price. In our humble opinion, the price is an integral part and unavoidable obstacle to enjoy a skin. A skin should be worth the price it asks for and unless we are completely convinced we simply wouldn’t recommend a purchase. You deserve to get the most enjoyment from what you purchase and we try to guide you in the best way we can so that you can make informed decisions.

  7. So here’s my bag with the 3 star rating for Both PFE and SGU – even your review lists them as spectacular skins. Yes they are expensive – but so what? Does the price tag of a Ferrari make it any less an awesome car? I actually bought Udyr and the skin based on just the multiple splash screens blowing me away – (truth be told I did the same for Ezreal but I researched his skin first – Udyr’s was so awesome I just jumped right in!) I’m sure you’re going to throw a line like “but cost has to be considered when deciding whether or not the purchase of a skin is worth it” at me – Here’s the thing – based on your review – (3 stars for both) these skins are on the same level as the 3 star rated Rusty Blitzcrank, a skin that as it’s feature is (your words) just a re-colour.

    Really? A re-colour skin is equal to these two skins because of the price?! Not so much.

    Bottom line – if the cost is such a huge issue – maybe knock a star off. Maybe. But I think just mentioning the prohibitive price will do just as well and just rate the skin on it’s merits and flaws.

    While not everyone can just drop $25 on a skin – there are more then a few who can. Does that make the skin any less desirable? Let me put it another way – you should review the skins as if they were free – I’ve been through almost all of the skin reviews here and those two are the only ones that cost was a factor. Your way makes it seem like if someone offered you the skins for free you’d take them but not be over joyed about it more like “meh” – call me crazy but if I offered you a free Ferrari I’m guessing “meh” would not be your response.

    • We always take into consideration the price of skins along with what they offer. That’s why Unchained Alistar has five stars: it’s a nice re-model for free. That’s also the reason why Riot Girl Tristana only received two stars: it may be free but it seems almost the same as her classic skin.

      In other words, the features of a skin are important but so is the price. Some skins manage to justify their price, like iBlitzcrank, others don’t. Besides, we hardly take our view of the subject as the only valid one. You make a good piont that if price isn’t an issue then the features of a skin speak for themselves.

      Our idea isn’t to place all three stars skins on the same level. Both PFE and SGU are superior to Rusty Blitzcrank but we think that for the price you pay Rusty is acceptable. PFE and SGU are certainly spectacular but also very expensive. The higher the price the more we’ll ask from a skin as we think that it should make the expense as worthwhile as possible.

      Additionally, if you want to gift us a Ferrari you are more than welcome. However, be sure it’s a model we like or you might as well find a ‘meh’ as an answer. Just because something is free doesn’t mean that it’s good or desirable.

      Finally, we appreciate that you shared your view on the subject. It gives us another angle to consider so that we may continue to improve; thanks.

  8. hey zero! theres a new splash art for black belt udyr you should fix it and i am curious about yor new review of splash art 😀

  9. Hey zero. Isnt primal udyr has different images on top of his head when changing stances?

  10. Just wanted to say Definitelt Not Udyr is hilarious and definitely the best skin ever. Dont mean to be rude but seriously you have no sense of humour to say it isnt funny and give it 3 stars. Definitely 6/5 stars.

    • For the price we agree that the Definitely Not Udyr offers a good amount of changes. However, the models go the simplistic way and, while fitting, they aren’t particularly exciting. Humour is a subjective thing and we don’t think that the skin isn’t funny, at all. We just don’t feel the concept and humour sufficiently developed. Essentially, it’s just some silly costumes and that’s it.

      The idea could’ve been much better implemented. Perhaps that would go beyond the budget of resources. Nonetheless, we just don’t find it hilarious. It’s funny but not as much as it could be.

  11. Regarding Definitely-Not-Udyr’s Usain Bolt recall not making any sense

    There’s an on going personal gag, where I often refer to Udyr as Usain Bolt or Captain of the Kenyan track team… just cause this guy runs so fast
    so that recall was pretty amusing to me…

    So if Riot was also subtly poking fun at Udyr’s mad speed; it would make some sense

    • Indeed, that’s a way of seeing it. We could also mention other speedsters like Miss Fortune or Master Yi though the point in case is Udyr specifically.

      The main issue is that is arbitrary for a skin based on comical animal costumes. Had the skin a runner concept or something relating to speed we would understand. However, there’s no relation to speed in the skin so the recall appears out of nowhere.

  12. Hoping for a surprise Udyr VU within next year. His animations and skill effects are becoming outdated, and getting his ultimate skin isn’t a solution for those who can’t afford it. Other than Primal, Udyr’s other skins are…just poor taste(Definitely Not is too weird for me, and Black Belt feels like an insult to anybody who has it.)

    Would be nice if they did a VU like Kassadin(trip to the gym for his animations, and learning photoshop for his abilities), all while keeping his feral look. Like what Riot stated when they made SGU: the skin’s theme contrasts that of the Classic theme. I’ve read that alot of players were complaining about this skin not being his VU. To me, yes Udyr deserves a VU, but having SGU’s theme being the Classic theme I will disagree. The Classic and ultimate skin should have distinct identities with their themes, and the former definitely needs one.

    • We completely agree. There are many champions in the same position as Udyr where they need more polish than a reinterpretation. It may be a matter of time so we can only hope that Riot finally gets round to upgrade Udyr and the rest of the old champions.

  13. Oh dear… years have passed and Udyr still has his old title here.

    • We weren’t aware that it had changed. Besides, it can’t be that long since it was changed, can it?

      • I think it was all the way back during the Freljord event when Udyr’s lore was rewritten to tie him to the Freljord. If memory serves correctly, that was about three years ago…
        Can’t blame you though, really. I mean, just look at Udyr. He looks hideously outdated, who’d want to pay attention to him sans his Spirit Guard skin unless they like the champion. I can’t wait for his very distant eventual visual update, and I don’t even play him.

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