The Black Mist engulfs the streets and turns the night into pure horror. Two figures emerge from the shadows: one brandishes the form of the raven and the other looms translucent and pale. Their presence is eerie but what spells tragedy is the harvester with her ready scythe. What is to become of those poor souls trapped in this nightmare?
|Concept:||LeBlanc as an elegant aristocrat.|
|Model:||New model for LeBlanc and her staff.|
|Particles:||New particles for her abilities and auto-attack.|
|Animations:||New animation for Distortion and recall.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||Are we among ruins, in a dark cathedral or in the balcony of a castle? Maybe we are in all those places or even in none at all. The background suggests a dark place but is as ambiguous about it as it can be. LeBlanc on the other hand is rather clear: she’s casting a spell. The impressive shading displays surfaces that sometimes look flat, like the cape, and sometimes photorealistic, like her hands. The mentioned spell adds dynamism to the piece and helps fill space and separate the depiction from just another pose. In the end, it all amounts to little but the splash art manages to provide a good and interesting look at LeBlanc.|
|Conclusion:||At long last LeBlanc receives a skin that makes an effort to display her in a different light. The concept chosen is that of an extravagant aristocrat, something that suits the Deceiver rather well. The elegant dress with an abundance of feathers, the iconic staff and the elaborate cape are eloquent enough. Unfortunately, the colours lack enough contrast and so elements mesh with each other. Besides, some parts are just made out of textures and while not obvious at a distance with some attention it’s possible to find some funny shapes; like her shoes.
The particles add a fitting degree of flamboyancy proper of her style. They have a unique appearance based on ethereal smoke and feathers that feels aptly supernatural; even if too restricted in colours. The style is effectively reinforced by the sounds which add a fine background for an illusionist and even catch the ear on their own.
The result is a fantastic skin that suits LeBlanc in both elegance and illusion. Not everything is what it seems but in Ravenborn LeBlanc’s case it is: a wonderful skin that no LeBlanc fan should miss.
|Concept:||Soraka as a harvester of souls.|
|Model:||New model for Soraka and her staff.|
|Particles:||New particles for her abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for her abilities, auto-attack and recall plus processed voice-over.|
|Splash Art:||Is this an empty night sky over a rocky land, devoid of life, or simply darkness surrounding devastated earth? The setting is mysterious but also lacking meaning due to its ambiguity. Soraka looks clearer as the land trembles before her power. Her dramatic pose catches the eye and still allows a good view of her appearance. The lighting is good and her depiction detailed even if her right arm seem too out of focus despite not being that far; like her left hoof. Dents, scratches and tears give an air of plausibility and decadence that seems appropriate. Nevertheless, the heavily restricted colour palette, used for the whole piece, means that the elements barely stand out and only the light attracts attention. This results in a good portrayal of Soraka framed by an insipid background in a view that seems unnecessarily dim.|
|Conclusion:||In theory, the idea of having a healer styled as the Grim Reaper seems original and innovative. Conversely, maybe there’s a reason why it hasn’t been done before. It could be because the task of a healer and a reaper are diametrically opposite. To say that Soraka doesn’t look good and different would be amiss. However, the idea of a reaper seems imposed on her and, ultimately, doesn’t fit her nature at all.
Visually, the appearance is sensible and well done. The model is ghastly yet elegant and has a sinister appeal. The particles are nice too, with their creepy ghosts, but they are nothing out of this world. In practical terms, they seem like a dark re-colour of the classic ones; which is a letdown.
The sounds aren’t impressive but they fit the theme with some nice, eerie effects. The tune used for Salvation is particularly attractive though and Equinox manages to stand out. Unfortunately, the processed voice-over merely keeps things consistent as her healer quotes clash with the theme.
When all is added together, we find a skin with a preposterous concept for a healer with an execution that is acceptable but that fails to convince. The changes do their job but they feel insufficient: they don’t develop the theme so as to enable Soraka to embrace her ominous role. Therefore, Reaper Soraka is a skin that tries to be something special but stays as a curiosity unable to captivate. Better left for dedicated Soraka fans.
|Concept:||Wukong as a supernatural warrior.|
|Model:||New model for Wukong and his staff plus new glow for the ends of the staff.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities and recall plus processed voice-over.|
|Splash Art:||A cloudy night sky above a rocky region: the setting is as empty and pedestrian as it could be. Wukong doesn’t fare much better either. That’s because his depiction is a simple pose that doesn’t go beyond showing his aspect. At least, it’s effective in that regard. The elements are well defined and the colours bright so that materials look convincing; as long as they aren’t engulfed in the background’s blur. The translucent right arm is a good touch but, eerie glows aside, there’s nothing else like it. Ultimately, it’s a splash art that does its job but doesn’t go beyond that.|
|Conclusion:||Adding a supernatural vein to the Monkey King’s already fantastic concept can seem overkill. To an extent it is but aside from looking a bit too exotic Underworld Wukong avoids becoming a pastiche of themes. Nonetheless, while the aspect is certainly different Wukong looks more like a deranged old warrior than an actual apparition. A translucent right arm would’ve helped cement the concept as the lamp-like staff isn’t enough.
If it weren’t for the staff’s new glow his aspect wouldn’t really seem supernatural. That’s where the new particles come into play. There are some really great touches but not all abilities shine as they should. To start with, the ghostly trail added to Crushing Blow and his recall is simply fantastic; even if the actual blow doesn’t impress. Whereas, Decoy and Nimbus Strike seem to just have the necessary, uninspired changes and suffer from all too solid vapours. Cyclone is a case of its own as it looks rather unimpressive for an ultimate. Instead of adding the eye-catching trail used for Crushing Blow and his recall the ability merely has the same old motion blur. There are new sounds to accompany the abilities but they fail to stand out and add an eerie feel to the skin; unlike the voice-over.
Therefore, Underworld Wukong is a skin that doesn’t represent its concept well. Even though there are some good additions the sum of its parts doesn’t justify the high price. In fact, cheaper skins manage to look and have abilities that feel more iconic. In conclusion, aside from the processed voice-over nothing explains the skin’s price; it would more reasonably fit 975 RP than it does 1350 RP. Unless you really like the style and are aware of the noticeable shortcomings of the skin there are better options for less.
Besides, the initial ambiguity regarding the skins’ status this year’s Harrowing presents a very polarized offering. On the one hand, we have the impressive skin that is Ravenborn LeBlanc. With an interesting concept and an attractive execution it’s a skin that enhances LeBlanc’s inherent mystique as well as appeal. It is without the shadow of a doubt the recommended purchase.
On the other hand, we have the letdown that is Underworld Wukong. Not only does it struggle to improve on previous and cheaper skins but it also doesn’t even justify its high price; except for the processed voice-over. The idea isn’t bad but more is to be expected at such a price. If you can get it for less it could be an acceptable option but at full price it’s lacking.
In the middle, there’s Reaper Soraka. It’s a technically competent skin but the reaper theme clashes with Soraka’s role as healer. Therefore, the execution needs to develop the concept further to be really convincing. The result is curious and has some nice features to offer. However, it’s not as special as its price implies and may be better left for the most dedicated fans of the Starchild.