When the flow of time is broken past and future become mixed and present is all that remains constant, fluctuating between ages. Such an event can be catastrophic for all existence but if controlled and healed it can allow for unlimited opportunities. Is there anybody with the talent to take advantage of such a dangerous game? Meet Ekko, the Boy Who Shattered Time. He’s seen things that were never meant to be and things that should’ve been. Learn more about his adventures in time with his skins’ review.
|Concept:||Ekko pays homage to the Prince of Persia and the Sands of Time.|
|Model:||New model for Ekko and his sword plus new glow for his sword.|
|Particles:||New golden particles for his abilities, auto-attack, recall, taunt, joke, dance and death.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||The whirlwind of sand from where echoes mark the movements of our hero has failed to trap him, this time. The background gives some context to the action but the setting is actually invisible. There’s only the diffuse whirlwind, unless it’s some sort of sand worm, and blurriness in the background. Ekko looks at his enemy, probably with relief but his pose, though dynamic, doesn’t allow a clear view of him. It’s possible to get a general idea of his aspect but not clearly enough; especially with regards to details. That’s also because the stubborn sand covers most of his body though his face is, conveniently, clearly depicted.
Truth be told, it’s a rather interesting splash art with an unusual composition with a touch of abstract art. The arrangement is different from the usual and attractive but, ultimately, isn’t very useful to display Ekko. Nevertheless, it serves as a distinct presentation card.
|Conclusion:||Dressed like a bandit of the desert with a touch of steampunk Sandstorm Ekko is quite a nice tribute to the Prince of Persia; mostly his Sands of Time incarnation. The comfortable and loose clothing added to his hairstyle and covered face convey a ninja aesthetic. Nonetheless, the baggy trousers and golden sand clock affirm the intended theme. To be fair, Ekko does look like a fantastic, bright coloured ninja or bandit more than a prince but the aspect is attractive.
The new golden particles sprinkle the Sands of Time over all his actions and the changes are both consistent and distinct. They reinforce the skin’s identity with a different feel: less technological and more mystical. When sands are used the abilities stand out but when they rely on parts that are essentially coloured yellow they let down. The new sounds aren’t as impressive in comparison with the visuals but are effective: one can hear the sands being in use.
As it should be, the ultimate doesn’t disappoint. The golden sand trail left by Ekko that is followed by his hologram when Chronobreak is available cements the identity of the skin with a unique style. Sadly the activation only seems to be a yellow version of the same ability so the ultimate is more interesting as a passive.
The other addition worth mentioning is his new recall. The animation tries to reference his sand clock but it seems rather simplistic and unexciting.
In conclusion, Sandstorm Ekko accomplishes a different style that has some really attractive features as long as the Sands of Time are in use. When they lose focus the abilities merely feel like a re-coloured version that disappoints. Regardless, the skin has a distinct feel that fans of the Prince of Persia and time manipulation will appreciate.
|Concept:||Ekko dressed as a wellborn intelectual student.|
|Model:||New model for Ekko and his sword.|
|Particles:||No new particles.|
|Animations:||No new animations.|
|Sounds:||No new sounds.|
|Splash Art:||Four cool students posing at class; maybe between lessons. The intellectual can evidently be found by the blackboard, the aristocrat reassuring his looks, the tough guy displaying his might and the lady absentmindedly checking her phone as the sunlight bathes her clothes. To start with, the arrangement of the piece allows each champion to claim a part for themselves. The classroom is serviceable as it conveys a setting but is a bit diffuse to display any specific details. The people seen at a corner are almost unidentifiable and the notice board looks sketchy. At least the champions’ portrayals are clear but the sharp quality of their depictions contrasts too much with the draft-like quality of the background. Regardless, they manage to expose part of their personality like Ekko’s echoes, Vladimir’s elegance or Darius strength. It’s only Ahri who seems lost and even out of the picture with only her eye-catching tails to grab attention. Fortunately, the champions don’t compete for attention and, even if they don’t really work together with a unified objective, manage to coexist in a certain harmony.
All in all, it’s an effective splash art that shares the available room between the four champions in a reasonable way. There’s a bit of their character in each depiction and the context is clear. More could’ve been done but the result is definitely good.
|Conclusion:||Wearing the best clothes and with access to all the best toys we find in Academy Ekko the stylish yet rebellious intellectual that is too smart for this slow world. The smart clothing and technological support clearly show his personality and he could pass for a spoiled brat that always gets what he wants; he surely has the means to do so. In this regard, the re-model presents the theme in an appealing and eloquent way. The absence of any additional features means that the skin is straightforward and simple. It does its job without much fanfare and while that can be an advantage the lack of any measured flamboyance leaves the concept lacking in depth.
All in all, it’s an effective re-model that communicates its message well. However, it would’ve welcomed something extra to better round the concept.
|Concept:||Ekko as a cybernetic time traveller.|
|Model:||New model for Ekko and his sword. New glow for his sword.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, recall and death.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall plus processed voice-over.|
|Splash Art:||Virtual screens show a couple of recognisable past PROJECTS. Are they targets or potential allies? Only time will tell. Time also tells of Ekko’s activities as he slides towards and slashes a few barely displayed androids. The industrial setting has to be guessed because only a bit is suggested on the left, with a few hanging wires on the right and practically nothing shown on the centre. In spite of the interesting suggestions the background makes it ends up as a missed opportunity.
Ekko does not miss the chance to appear centre stage. His florid hair erupts against the rigid structure of his metallic body. He does seem to be enjoying himself at least. The bright colours on his body show the texture of the plates quite well but the rustic feel doesn’t fit the photorealistic approach of the abdomen and left thighs. The rest of the legs is concealed in a blur that doesn’t convey movement as much as it wants to. The same applies to his arms and hands. Even his sword appears made of plastic instead of a glowing energy as expected. The pose is surely dynamic but the strange shape of his right shoulder, arm, elbow and wrist convince that something is amiss; it surely doesn’t look like the outline of the left one. The added glow for his clock, with puzzling hints of sand, and other body highlights are appealing though timid. The light on his belt and the energy near the floor look rather solid for what they should look like.
All things considered, the idea behind this splash art isn’t bad. The context isn’t sufficiently developed but brims with potential. The portrayal is direct but a good depiction could show Ekko time travelling in combat better than is attempted here. The result doesn’t quite convey that and suffers from communicating a diluted message. This makes it an interesting piece that doesn’t come to fruition successfully.
|Conclusion:||The jump from steampunk to cyberpunk is a natural move for Ekko. The cybernetic suit and glowing sword feel familiar but contrast the vintage feel of the classic version with a more convoluted and perhaps also eye-catching style. At a glance, PROJECT: Ekko mostly ticks the boxes for the basic changes necessary to make the adaptation effective. The suit is elaborate but the dark tones for the lower body dilute the details into a homogeneous mass. The upper body, with the light-coloured artificial enhancements and green highlights is more interesting. The green sunglasses and white hair, much whiter than in the splash art, match the respective elements they share a colour with. There’s cohesion in the design yet, admittedly, there’s nothing groundbreaking either.
The green particles are, essentially, an adaptation that follows the recognisable classic design. Regardless, they feel fresh thanks to the use of polygonal shapes with Timewinder being particularly notable for how different it looks. The other abilities are stricter in following the classic layouts yet they manage to add some attractive polygonal patters that effectively deliver the expected virtual feel. It’s also worth noting that Chronobreak’s hologram distorts its image, from time to time, with horizontal lines which is a subtle effect that breathes life into the execution.
The sounds complement well the abilities’ visuals. Their soft, artificial, almost crystalline bursts offer a distinct aural landscape that further cements the theme. Individually, none stand out from the rest. However, collectively, they manage to instil the necessary virtual style to the abilities. The recall sums up all that the skin has available with a bit too much drama. Nevertheless, the acrobatics still suit Ekko’s personality and the particles which join the boy and his hologram are a good touch.
When all is added together, PROJECT: Ekko is a rather nice skin that conveys its message quite well. There’s not enough ambition to go beyond an adaptation of each aspect to synthetic features but everything is finely transformed. There’s still a certain familiarity, especially in abilities other than Timewinder, which indicates that some extra touches would’ve helped differentiate PROJECT from the classic incarnation. To a point, they share most characteristics only differing in the time they are set in. Thus, transporting the boy to a futuristic dystopia isn’t difficult but making him feel different requires some additional job. That isn’t really present so PROJECT: Ekko ends up like a rather attractive cyberpunk boy that occasionally reminds of the old times.
|Concept:||Ekko wearing golden armour.|
|Model:||New model for Ekko and his sword plus new glow for his sword.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation.|
|Sounds:||New metallic sounds for his auto-attack, abilities and recall.|
|Splash Art:||There’s no real background or setting to speak of. At best, we could say that the champions are framed by a sky of undefined characteristics. What stands out is the setup of the piece. The ensemble appears like a group of superheroes in a composition that brings to mind the Justice League. Their general appearance seems to convey a pantheon of Greek gods, each with their unique symbolism. There’s also a suited coach that stands in for the ward skin. While it’s good that such an addition is made part of the team it’s fair to say that his look doesn’t fit that of the heroes well.
Each champion shares the spotlight making use of uneven parts of the splash art. Champions on the left tend to be able to make use of more space while those on the right see their lower bodies abruptly cut off. There’s empty room on the left which means that everyone could’ve made some extra room by advancing a bit forward. In addition to this, it’s clear that the centre of the piece has sharper lines and more vibrant colours; though tones tends to be subdued to the point that all metal seems dull. The blur is particularly noticeable towards the left and bottom areas which does the portrayals no favours.
The ornamented armour characteristic of each champion in their SKT gear is noticeable but with varying degrees of success. Individually, Zac looks too subdued and solid with little attention given to his armour; which is the only characteristic that sets him apart from Classic besides the new colour. Jhin’s upper body is quite explicit but the rest is barely visible and the depiction seems rather pedestrian. Nami barely emerges from the blur and shows too much of her naked back and too little of her armour so that it’s more notorious her familiar mermaid body than the new gear. Syndra almost appears in full with nice shading and a good demonstration of power; despite small spheres and dull colours. Ekko is only partially visible and while the new look is prominent enough that’s because of the clothes more than the portrayal effort to make him special, even if the pose is dashing and dynamic. Finally, Olaf closes the formation with good use of light and shade but a partial depiction with much blur and opaque colours that is only saved by the suitable stance. Not to be forgotten, KkOma looks sketchy with a cartoony look that doesn’t suit the more elaborate shading used for the champions; much as his suit doesn’t fit the classical style of the champions.
All added together, this is a splash art that makes a brief but impactful presentation of the champions thanks to its composition. The individual portrayals are marred by several issues so that each champion struggles to attract attention and even convey their actual look. For all that the piece does well in its setup there is an evident need for a good layer of polish to finish the potential of this splash art.
|Conclusion:||While technically SKT T1 Ekko does offer new clothes for him in general terms the style is all Ekko. There’s no punk motif and the clothes are more elaborate, richer, perhaps even more aristocratic but particularly complex without good reason; there’s only a faint Greek aesthetic at play. Something supported by the new golden boots, gloves and headpiece; which match the golden lined clothes. Regardless, he still looks like a boy dressed in fancy clothes; more whimsical maybe. The new Z-Drive looks like an empty sand clock and the sword is designed as a ceremonial item.
Particles have more than some resemblance with Sandstorm Ekko. In fact, the colour is very similar and only the glow of the sword actually stands apart as well as some red in some initial parts of abilities. Z-Drive Resonance has an interesting indicator of concentric circles which is also used by Timewinder along an interesting red core. That design of curved parallel lines is also briefly used for Parallel Convergence as well as sword trails in the auto-attack; though they are rather brief and small. What stands out is the letters that quickly change under enemies after Parallel Convergence slows them. The parallel rings that indicate Phase Drive’s improved auto-attack are also interesting and that’s as far as things go. The rest of the abilities are essentially re-coloured. Chronobreak makes two exceptions: the SKT T1 letters over the hologram and the T1 logo when Ekko blinks to the hologram. While the former addition is an interesting touch despite the unimpressive message, to the point that it could’ve been used in PROJECT: Ekko, the latter is mere promotional material.
For sounds we have a dull metal clank for the auto-attacks that gets higher in pitch for the third strike of Z-Drive Resonance; much like a high-pitch version of the classic third strike. Timewinder vibrates like thin metal being scratched and Parallel Convergence starts with high-pitched tinkles that result in a powerful and deep metal clank. Phase Drive has a distinct and brief initial vibration that changes to a quasi-comical, loud vibration sound when Ekko strikes the enemy. The sound is quite appealing and seems rather suitable for PROJECT. Chronobreak, strangely, has a simple but distinct sound: that of a large but high-pitched bell ring that suits the fast teleportation very well.
The new recall has its appeal. The joint appearance of holograms and interaction with them is an interesting display of time displacement. Actually, it’s a good use of Ekko’s identity for a send-off.
All added together, there’s too much retreaded ground. The new model is different and even complex but convoluted without a proper message to tell. Particles are uneven as some are simply re-coloured and very similar to Sandstorm while others have an interesting design that isn’t expanded upon while sounds are straightforward. Thus, this is a skin that leaves too much room left unexploited, unchanged and worse: ignored. There’s some appeal but buried within the conventional.
For a release skin Sandstorm Ekko remains the recommended choice. The Sands of Time aesthetic competes with a fancy ninja or bandit style but when the sands fly the skin shines. There are times when things can feel like a yellow re-colour but, for the most part, the theme is realized. Fans of the Sands of Time and Ekko will find Sandstorm a nice even if imperfect alternative.
The only cheap option is Academy Ekko with its classy student style. The objective of the skin is fulfilled by the re-model but a bit extra could’ve helped state the technological side in a more attractive way. As it stands it’s a fine skin with a modest proposal that is good but could’ve been better.
Most expensive but also displaying a cohesive adaptation to future times PROJECT: Ekko is an appealing cybernetic take. The model follows the expected lines but the particles effectively adopt the expected virtual feel with good support by the sounds. The result still feels rather familiar due to how close steampunk and cyberpunk are. Regardless, PROJECT: Ekko is an attractive skin that only needs some extras to further differentiate from the classic version.
SKT T1 Ekko is a skin with little meaning in its model and only a few interesting particle designs; most is practically borrowed from Sandstorm Ekko. There’s simply too much unexploited potential and the shared style does no favours in defining an identity. Even if there are a few additions that stand out the overall feel is of a subpar skin that might even be considered unfinished.