Paladins is a First Person Shooter released by Hi-Rez Studios that gives you a whole cast of fantasy style characters to play, through various arena style matches. Sound familiar? Well it should, it’s a fairly common type of game. However, Paladins has recently come under fire for claims that many of its themes and ideas are copied from the much larger competitor, Blizzard’s Overwatch.
All that aside, I downloaded the Open Beta and decided I would take a look for myself, and see if it’s a good game in its own right, and if, with time it will stand alongside the more popular FPS Arena games.
It’s not really a game with a storyline, well there may be one. All the various characters presumably have their own backstories and reasons for fighting, but these stories aren’t essential to the game they purely provide character padding. So, we’ll skip this one.
Paladins has several game modes. There is casual play, where you are teamed up with 4 other people to fight a random map and battle type. There are currently two types of battle, Siege and Payload. Both of which involve the escort or attack of a payload, and you gain points for you how successful you are. There are also tutorials and a more competitive mode.
The basics of Paladins are as you would expect. The first thing you’ll need to do is select your character. When you first play, not all characters are available. At least one from each role is available straight away, but the other characters need to be unlocked by spending gold or gems.
Anyway, I tend to play a small raccoon like character called Pip. He’s very similar to Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. Although rather than rocket launchers and laser pistols he has an arsenal of potions and a potion bottle launcher. He’s certainly quite a fun character as his special is turning people into chickens for a few seconds, other than that it’s explosive potions and the odd heal.
Once the game started I found that my Pip was very destructive and found myself raining death upon everyone, and if you’ve seen my skill in Overwatch you’ll know it’s not because I am an expert in FPS’s. So maybe the game’s difficulty is set a little low, however this beginners luck seemed to wear off a little and my death rate started to rise, so maybe it was simply beginners luck.
Anyway, all that is fairly standard FPS stuff and you can see my meager attempts in the video above.
There is another element of Paladins that is certainly worth talking about and those are the methods in which you can improve your character both in the matches and out of them. Playing the game and leveling up, rewards you with cards. These cards provide bonuses to certain skills. You can then load these skills into a set and then add them to your character before the match starts. Like this…
The other way to change your character is within the match itself. As you play, you accumulate points, and you can spend these points on various skills that make things just a little easier, such as healing you when you kill someone, increasing your damage to shields or your mount speed. The better you play, the more points you accumulate, and the more increases you can add to your character. I have to be honest, I liked all these different ways you can improve during battle, and that’s not even touching the different skins, mounts and weapons you can unlock with the gold you win from the matches.
Graphically, Paladins looks quite nice there are probably some areas that can be polished up a little more. Some of the loading screens are a rather static and boring, but I’m being picky. Paladins has a quirky cartoon feel to it, which plays as a counter-point to the fact you’re blowing seven shades of shamooley out of each other, or turning each other into chickens, you know whatever.
Controls are again as you’d expect. Controllers work well of course, but the keyboard controls are simple too. Mouse and WASD does your movement, space jumps and E, Q, F are your special skills. Left and right mouse buttons are you normal and big attacks respectively. Everything was running smoothly, there was no juddering or anything and no complaints.
There are plenty of reasons to keep coming back to Paladins, plenty of characters to get to grips with, lots of skins to unlock and presumably a competitive match system at some point. However, they’ll have to ensure that there’s a steady, though not necessarily speedy stream of new content, such as new characters, and match types otherwise it won’t matter how many unlocks there are, Paladins will still become stale.