If I said Paladins resembled Overwatch, that would be the understatement of the century. They share a ton of similarities. However, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Paladins offers fast, frenetic game play that runs so smooth, you won’t even care. It’s a very polished experience, especially for still being in the beta phase. If you want a chance at getting in you can sign up here (https://www.paladins.com/ps4-beta-signup/)
Now, it was released on PC last September, but if you’ve been holding out for a console release, it has a lot to offer. It also won’t cost you $80 up front (bonus). Right now, Hi-Rez Studios is offering for a limited time (March 14th-28th) the Founder’s Pack. For $20 you unlock immediate access to the closed beta, all current and future champions, all standard champion voice packs, 10 radiant chests (for that sweet loot), 72,000 essence and the beta exclusive God of War Fernando Collection and Infernal War Horse Mount. If you were to only play the game on and off over the course of its lifetime, $20 is a steal of a deal for unlocking (mostly) everything, forever.
If you’ve played other team based shooters, jumping into Paladins will feel right at home. You’re presented with the typical game modes. There’s Siege, Payload, Survival and PVE Challenge. You can also go through training to learn the basics, or play through each game mode to get a feel for how it all works. I’ve spent most of my time in Siege, which has you capturing the payload and pushing it to it’s destination. The difference is there’s no checkpoints like in Overwatch. You’re given a set time and if it runs out before you make it to the drop point, you lose. It makes defending seem a bit more fair, you’re on the same level and checkpoints aren’t going to make it harder for the defenders or provide an advantage for the attackers. When you spawn you get to ride a mount into battle, which makes getting back into the thick of things really easy. Playing as the little fox type Pip, charging into battle as he stands on the back of a horse, never gets old.
The characters I’ve played so far feel great. Pip and Viktor are my current favorites out of the free champions you start with. Pip is a healer who has an ultimate that can turn your enemies into chubby chickens (the best). Viktor is a damage based class with the ability to aim down the sights of his auto rifle, perfect for precision head shots. The one character who seems unbalanced is Torvald. In his current state he seems way too overpowered. I unlocked him with the gold I had earned and when I went into battle I just felt invincible, which was great for me! But, if you go up against him it’s damn near impossible to take him down, with his endless pool of health and shields. It doesn’t feel fair to use him. Hopefully there will be a patch in the future to tone him down a bit. Each character can have different load outs, using cards you have earned to provide different stat boosts, like extra health, damage or healing. It’s a nice change from Overwatch and provides depth. Having a certain load out could provide that edge your team needs to win the match. These cards, as well as skins and other goodies, can be found in Radiant Chests. You get these by leveling up and if you get something you already have, it’s replaced with currency.
I’ve clocked about 5 hours so far and I have to say I’m really impressed with Paladins. It’s not just an Overwatch clone. Sure it has its similarities, but it provides depth with the different load outs you can take into battle, and some changes to the game modes that keep it fresh and addictive, encouraging me to have that “one last game”. It’s easy to pick up and play, with tight controls and a friendly user interface. It’s a nice alternative to that other team based shooter you’ve been playing. Give it a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. -NVJ