We try out Hi-Rez Studios Paladins: Champions of the Realm and see how the beta goes for the players.
With the launch of the newly beloved title, Overwatch, a synergy between MOBAs and FPS had created its own new genre, called the ‘hero shooter.’ Which some might recognize as Team Fortress 2 but with ultimates. Considering its monumental success, it would be no surprise that others would follow in its footsteps hoping to experience the same from their efforts. Some may try to emulate it by examining how the success happened and do it in their own way, while others might not try to think too hard and simply follow what those who succeeded did as closely as possible. Paladins, a new hero shooter that recently came out of beta, seems to be somewhere in between.
The first thing I noticed about Paladins is how everyone is very unique from the other in terms of character design, and thought that it would take a lot of world building to get all these to work together in one story. Turns out, they didn’t bother with any of it so don’t think about it too much. Most of them seem aware of what they were inspired from, heck even the dwarven guy had an Engineer skin that totally looks like the TF2 counterpart. Oh, and those horses that you first see form Heroes of the Storm.
However, the similarities don’t end there. Many abilities seem oddly familiar, putting up barriers, launching cluster rockets, and charging sniper scopes are only some of the features in the game that we’ve encountered more than once.
While this actually made the game very easy to pick up and get used to, some of the skills don’t feel very well synergized with the rest. My biggest example would be the dragon guy who basically plays like Overwatch’s Pharah, who has everything she has but his ultimate is a single target diving melee attack. Another one would be somebody who has a shotgun but the ultimate is for some reason allows him to fly and attack enemies from above.
One facet that makes me believe this game isn’t as well thought, is how the game modes and maps feel very repetitive and don’t really make use of the more unique mobility options available to a few of the heroes. Fly or teleport, where you can go doesn’t really change even without them. King of the hill and payload seem to be their only interest, and it’s hard to see anything doing any significant impact aside from actually attacking your opponents directly and hope they stay down long enough for you to make any significant progress.
Paladins also borrows the card system of Battleborn which augments properties and abilities of their champions. Honestly I don’t really feel its value at the moment since you receive a default set and that seems to be good enough on its own.
At the very least, Paladins turned out to be playable thanks to rather stable netcode. By using lots of familiar elements the game becomes by nature, easy to pick up. However, there’s a lot to be desired in terms of design of their user interface and in-game effects.
When you consider basics, you’d find Paladins to be rather complete as a hero shooter. Unfortunately with how its made use of pieces from other games without creating anything new may leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. Everything you see in this game seems to be something done before, if not better.
After 10 or so games of Paladins, I’d honestly say it’s more of a hero arena game than a hero shooter. While it does basically attempt to put something big together by taking a little something from everywhere, it ends up looking like a set of rip offs that fails to create something complete.
Though perhaps it might be unfair to be treating what’s more or less on early access with such a strict attitude towards it. While I’m not not expecting huge changes to the game in terms of abilities and mechanics, they can probably improve at least some of the graphics, sound and UI so that the game would feel more responsive and therefore more rewarding to play. If they can do this, some of its criticism would not come in as strong, as the game would more or less work better.