A surprisingly fun shooter, Paladins is a free to play game that borrows heavily from other online only shooters. Its bright, vibrant worlds are a joy to whizz round as you slay opposing players and with 27 different champions to choose from, there’s enough variety here to keep you playing for a while.
The aim of Paladins is simple, score more points than the opposing team to win and gain experience points to level your champion up and gold to unlock more champions. Its a simple concept and one that many will be familiar with and if you’ve ever played a multiplayer match in the past, the concept is largely unchanged. There are three predominant game modes that break the action up including Siege, Onslaught and Payload.
Successfully moving the Payload and gaining an extra point is very satisfying
Siege is a mode that involves scoring four objective points to win the match. The opening round begins like any other on Paladins – a mad scramble for the middle of the battlefield to secure the area where all hell breaks loose before either your team or the enemy team secure the area in a capture the flag type environment. If your team successfully thwarts the enemy’s advances and captures the area, it spawns a “payload”, a large mine cart full of treasure. Staying close to this not only provides cover, but it also moves it closer toward the enemy base. Successfully escorting this into the enemy’s base gives another point but if the enemy manages to stop your advances, they gain a point. Then the round restarts until one team gains 4 points. Its very simple in practice but with the sheer variety of characters and skill sets each of them have, it keeps each game fresh and helps to avoid the action getting too stale.
The second game, Onslaught, is essentially a team deathmatch/ King of the hill hybrid with points awarded for successfully gaining control of a large area in the middle of the battlefield and extra points given for killing the enemy team. The last game is Payload which takes the concept of moving the large mine cart full of treasure from one side of the map to the other with both teams taking it in turns to see how far they can push it in the specified time limit. After a while, it does become a little monotonous with only a handful of maps but thankfully its the constantly evolving player base that keeps this community thriving.
There are plenty of champions to choose from in Paladins
I mentioned earlier about a plethora of characters and its here that Paladins shines. Each character is distinct enough to stand out on the battlefield and each are surprisingly balanced. During my 15+ hours with the game I mastered 3 characters and tried games out with around 9. With 27 champions in total to choose from, there’s enough there to make me want to come back and play more just to test out the characters I haven’t played as yet. The ones I did play as had enough differences with their speed, move set and skills that it meant changing my tactics with each game.
Of course, the key to any game on Paladins is teamwork and as you’d expect from a team based shooter that’s free to play, how well you do in the matches depends on how well your team co-operate or failing that how organised the opposing team are. All too often I started games of Payload with the objective obviously being to move the treasure chest only to find the rest of my squad way off in the distance killing the opposing team and not bothering with the objective. Its an achille’s heel with any online shooter of course but here its particularly important, considering the lack of a single player element and the emphasis solely on multiplayer.
At times your squad run off and ignore the objective
Paladins is a fun game and there’s no denying its longevity. Much like other online only games though, its only as popular as the community who stay with it so its questionable whether you could pick this up 6 months or even a year down the line and there still be enough of a dedicated fan-base to find a match straight away. As it stands right now though, Paladins is a fun online only shooter that despite its repetitive game play at times, the 27 different champions are enough to mix up the action from match to match. Of course there is an element of luck that goes into this game, depending on what sort of team you end up with, but the frantic action and satisfying shooting mechanics are enough to make this free to play online shooter, well worth picking up.
Verdict - 7/10