Paladins Review (Switch)
Are you the ultimate champion?
Paladins is a first person hero shooter developed by Hi-Rez Studios and is in the vein of games such as Team Fortress and Overwatch. Select one of many champions as you take part in team death match,attack and defend and ranked matches in ordered to raise your characters level and make them the post powerful champion on the face of the earth. Do you have what it takes to be the ultimate champion?
As stated above, the game Paladins operates in the same way hero shooters like Overwatch and Team Fortress do. Each player is allowed to pick their favorite hero, or in this case their favorite ''champion''. Then they get to hone their skills with their favorite character by playing in team death match,ranked or even attack and defend maps and scenarios of that nature. Each character the player picks will be categorized by what role their character is special at, such as, flank, support , front line, damage. Each one of these categories is needed for each individual match in order to have a balanced team. I will briefly explain these four main categories so you can see where they all stand.
Flank - Character's who are considered to be in this category have the job of flanking an enemy,dealing damage, keeping mobile and landing any lethal shot on the enemy team that they can. These champions should never stay still for long periods of time.
Damage - These characters act as the power houses of each match and it is the job of these champions to deal as much damage to the opposing team as possible. However,keep in mind that while they deal more damage than any other class, their defense is significantly weaker overall.
Support - The support class is one of the most vital to your team if you hope to stay alive long enough to keep a rush against an enemy team going for a long period of time. The job of the support champions is to make sure you and the rest of your teammates stay healed,kept alive and protected. But this can also work in cooperation with a class such as damage or flank because it will be their job to make sure support isn't taking any unwanted damage. Supporters are key to any teams success and without one, you're royally screwed.
Front Line - These are what I'd like to call the ''meat shield'' of your party in matches. What this means is they're literally on the front line of your party and its their job to lead your team forward,they will also take the blunt end of most of the damage. It's their job to control and maintain objectives, but at the same time it's their job to make sure that the rest of the team is well protected from harm. I've been seeing most people use Front Line to protect the support class and it seems to have worked out rather well thus far in my time playing.
Now that you got the basics of what each player class does, now you ask me, how many champions do you actually get to choose from? Well that really depends on what version of the game you have, whether its just regular game or the foundation pack. This will determine how many characters you start off with and how many you have to wait to unlock by purchasing or just playing the game in general. I will briefly explain this as well for any newcomers.
For any newcomer who has just started the game, you're presented with up to 5 main starter classes for you to play as for free. Any further champions that you wish to play as will have to be bought via in game currency, which is either credits or crystals. The other way to play as other characters would be to wait till new characters rotate into the player slots, but this only happens every two weeks or so and that could mean you'd be waiting awhile before you would be able to play as a specific character of your choosing.
But never fear, that's where thing's such as Founders pack comes into play for those who have as little patience as myself. Player's can purchase the Founders pack and have immediate access to all champions that are playable, as well as those who will be released in the near to far future. That means that upon purchasing this pack you will have immediate access to a total of 36 champions! wow! That's a lot of characters. The good thing about all of these character is all of them have their own mastery level that you can level them up to. You just gotta find out which one best suits you.
From my time playing Paladins, I made my go to character, Drogoz. The reason I chose this character in particular is because I grew up on games like Team Fortress and Unreal Tournament and my favorite classes from each of those games were rocket based characters who can attack and deal damage from both medium and long range. What is also good about Paladins is that it shares the same traits as games like Team Fortress and Overwatch in regards to each individual character in the game having their own unique style and their own unique abilities that you can constantly tweak or make better depending on the amount of items you unlock and use.
For instance, each character class has their own unique weapon at their disposal, as well as four different skills they can use against enemy opponents at any given time, barring the occasionally skill cool down after use. All classes in this game are also blessed with a 5th special attack called ''Ultimate'', and with this ability it allows you to use one unique technique that is exclusive to your character. For instance my character Drogoz when using his ultimate, does a powered up charge attack that immediately chases any opponent that's near me and kills them in one hit. sounds cool right? well it both is pretty cool and it also isn't. You see when using this attack, you're still vulnerable to take damage while charging towards an enemy and you also are open to take a ton of damage after your attack connects too. So with my character I have to be extremely choosy when to use it, but luckily all classes act differently so it's best to trial and error and see which character's abilities you like the most.
As stated in the beginning of this review, you have a choice between three modes to play. Team Death match, Siege(attack and defend) and then there is ranked matches,but ranked matches can only be joined and played upon reaching level 14. So spend your early time in the game moving back and forth from Siege to Team Deathmatch and you'll get there in no time at all. If you do not feel you're ready to hop into an online game yet then feel free to practice to see which class you feel more comfortable with, you may do this by entering an actual training mode. In this training mode, it allows you to go up against enemy AI so that you may test each champions skills to their fullest until you find out just which one of them is the right pick fro you.
Bare with me, were almost done here!. Now I want to talk about a few more things before wrapping it up. The last few things I wish to talk about are character loadouts and battlepass. First let's talk about character loadouts because with these it allows you to make each one of your champion characters unique from what other players use for the same character you may have picked. When you click on a character under the champions category it lets you choose between customize,loadouts and abilities. This is where you see all the new shiny tricks and abilities your character is able to unlock the further you level up, and these things include new weapons,new skins and new abilities that you can equip and mix together at the beginning of your online matches. Mix and choose whichever you want based off whatever skill you like that you just unlocked.
Battlepass on the other hand is basically a reward system with multiple tiers to unlock and choose from. The more you level up and the more you play, you'll start getting experience points based off ''Battlepass'' and when you level it up, it will unlock different tiers of rewards from the Battlepass option menu on the main screen of the game. But this is where the microtransactions come into play, for you see in order to get a lot of these items that are unlocked via battlepass, you will have to fork over some real life money in order to get these. Minimum cost for a battlepass is 500 crystals and crystals can be bought on Nintendo Eshop starting at $5 for 200 crystals. So basically in a nut shell if you wanted a 500 crystal battlepass, this will run you $15. I know I'm not doing it,but who knows maybe someone will.
Lastly I need to talk about some cons. There are some things in this game that really irked me, and most of it had to do with the loading times, the lag and constant freezing you experience in between matches. The game's loading time before a match and after a match is absolutely atrocious. It clocks in at anywhere between 20-30 seconds before it lets you move onto the next screen. So you're just sitting there in silence wondering if something is going on or if you've lost an internet connection. I'm sure this can be an easy fix for Hi-Rez Studios, so I bet it will be addressed in the future.
But my biggest irritation of them all came during match selection. When trying to make a match you have to select A to join a match and give the ok that you're active and ready to play your next big match. However, after you have been idling 30 seconds or more, waiting for all players to file in and pick their classes, it will all be denied because ONE person decided not to click ''ok''. Now that doesn't sound bad right? hey it happens,right? well no, because whenever a match gets canceled out due to someone else,the entire game literally freezes and stays frozen for a good 30 seconds. You can not move your joystick, none of your buttons work and you just have to sit and wait for the game to boot you to the main title screen and then wait another 30 seconds to try again with another match. So between finding a match and then getting booted, it can take you anywhere 2-3min to even get back into a game depending on how your night is going.
My final thoughts after playing this for a bit, is for the most part, really positive. The game might not be as colorful as Overwatch or as fast paced as something like Team Fortress or Unreal Tournament, but with its variety of characters,their designs, the unlockable skills,the amount of leveling up, the customization, it makes this game a real treat to play on the Nintendo Switch. Its easy to play and fun to pick up and honestly I can see myself playing this for quite some time. So hopefully Hi-Rez can keep the fan base interested enough for the long run and keep giving us enough content to keep us coming back again and again.
Paladins is out now on Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One,Steam
*Review code provided by Hi-Rez Studios