Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: First Person, Action, Multiplayer & Updates
Release Date: June 12, 2018 (EU & NA) & June 13, 2018 (JP)
One genre the Switch has been lacking is first-person shooters. You have games like DOOM, which are great single player FPS experiences, and while, yes, DOOM does have multiplayer, it is nowhere near the magnitude of something such as Overwatch or Call of Duty. Paladins fills the hole in the Switch’s library for a competitive, multiplayer First Person Shooter, it can easily be compared to Overwatch, in its overall style of being a hero shooter, however, even though it does have these similarities, it has unique features that allow it to stand out as its own entity entirely.
The eShop description for Paladins is a bit misleading at the moment, it prides itself as a ‘free to play’ shooter, however, it costs $45 AUD. The only available version of Paladins at the moment is the Founder’s Pack, a specific version of the game that includes all available and upcoming champions, as well as some extra little goodies you’ll be rewarded with when starting out. The paid version of Paladins is essentially an ‘early adoption’ pack, as the people that do opt to pay the price will essentially be Hi Rez’s guinea pigs to test the servers as well as how the game runs on the handheld console. Spoiler alert, it runs surprisingly well.
For a game that seems so massive and filled to the brim with content, it’s amazing how something of the scale of Paladins can run on such a small console. The game is essentially a team-based hero shooter, where you’ll have a wide variety of options to mold your way to play. There are over 30 unique, fleshed out champions that offer a wide range of different roles, there are four major categories that champions fit in, damage, flank, frontline and support. Damage champions are great all-around characters that can deal a significant amount of damage over time, they usually are pretty mediocre in health, but they’re not something you’d want to run into a horde of enemies with. Flank champions are generally great at picking off already damaged enemies from behind while being able to easily retreat; their main factor is their movement mechanics, as their health and damage aren’t the best.
These are some of the most technical characters are require good strategic planning to use well. Frontline champions are the tanks, they excel in protection and bullet sponging with their massive amounts of health and shield while also dealing slow but massive damage. Supports are the underrated major roles, needed for any team build. They supply healing, shield and other useful buffs to teammates and in the wrong hands can even devastate the entire enemy team. These four major categories of playable characters offer a lot of different experiences and make Paladins feel like a true pack of content, that will eventually be free.
Paladins offers several different game modes that all offer a variety of different play styles and objectives. The main game modes that you’ll experience would be the likes of Deathmatch, Siege, Onslaught and Competitive. Deathmatch is pretty self-explanatory, the team that gathers 40 eliminations before the other wins the game. It can become quite intense, but overall it is the familiar core gamemode that any newbie to the FPS genre can get a grip with. Siege and Onslaught are both very objective based maps, Siege tasks you with capturing then escorting a payload, this involves the maximum amount of teamwork possible, as escorting the payload on your own is extremely illogical.
Onslaught is a king-of-the-hill-styled game mode, where you have to keep control of an area for a longer amount of time than the other team. Keeping the objective contested is all about a good defense, so this is a great way of learning to cooperate with allies. Competitive is a mix of all of the game modes, however, these games are in a more competitive environment and wins/losses count towards your overall rank. Competitive games are extremely difficult to play effectively on the Switch. With the current lack of voice chat, communication is virtually impossible outside of the predetermined text shout-outs you can enter in the game. As Fortnite has shown, native voice chat IS possible between players, so it’s a wonder to why it isn’t included here as it would make a game that prides itself on its competitiveness to completely lose that aspect.
Although Paladins is (or will be) free-to-play, this does come with some downfalls, there are micro-transactions. If you do not purchase the Founders Pack you will not have instant access to every single hero off the bat, you will have to play through to earn them individually or use the purchasable in-game currency to buy them. It’s annoying and frustrating to begin with if you haven’t bought the pack, however, its expected from a game of this scale being on the free-to-play formula. Cosmetics are also purchasable through micro-transactions with loot-crates being the main way to unlock them, luckily these won’t affect gameplay, so don’t worry about being paired up with someone with an unfair advantage. Paladins does have a battle-pass in the same vein as Fortnite. Pay a seasonal fee and as you level up your pass, more rewards will become available for you to redeem. It’s extremely frustrating that Founders Pack purchasers won’t have access to the Battle Pass without paying an extra fee, but it’s an optional micro-transaction that could give a goal to aim for similar to Fortnite one.
Paladins runs extremely impressively on Switch. I never saw a drop from 60FPS while playing which kept the whole experience feeling smooth. At times I completely forgot I was even playing a Nintendo console, the whole time I got to play felt surreal. Paladins never appears to be blurry or pixelated at all. The image is super clear and vibrant and just looks dang fantastic in both handheld and docked. If you’re looking for an FPS that runs and looks incredible, then Paladins is the experience for you.
The voice acting and soundtrack of Paladins is quite good for a game of this size, a lot of the themes start to feel familiar and iconic and soon enough I found myself quite enjoying some of the beats the game had to offer. The sound design is how you’d expect from a hero shooter, you can use sounds from enemies such as footprints and voice lines to determine when the best time to engage is. It adds another level of depth to an already deep game and allows for some really cool clips to happen – speaking of, Paladins comes default with the Switch’s record feature, so, all of those cool moments will withstand the test of time!
In a nutshell, Paladins finally brings an FPS experience to the Switch you most likely wouldn’t find anywhere else on the system. The question still lingering is ‘should I purchase the Founders Pack?’ Honestly, it’s worth it. Having access to all of the heroes off the bat is totally worth the price as well as the extra little goodies you get – I just wished it included at least one season of the battle pass. Paladins is a fun game, it feels fun, fresh and I always have a blast playing it. Cross-play is a definite bonus, especially for a game like this and the way it runs is just phenomenal on the Switch. Beside a couple minor things dragging the experience down, I’d wholeheartedly recommend you play Paladins. And hey, if you’re reading this when it’s free-to-play, there’s no harm in just trying it out!
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by Hi-Rez Studios
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Categorised in: Nintendo
This post was written by Ruairi O'Brien (Lucariocios)