PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners have a new hero shooter to try out. Hi-Rez Studios’ Paladins: Champions of the Realm entered open beta on both consoles yesterday, and the fantasy hero shooter is worth the shot for those on the fence.
Paladins first released on the PC in closed beta form back in November 2015. The game then went into open beta on the platform the following September. It then made its first console appearance earlier this year in March and is finally available in a free-to-play open beta on both the PS4 and Xbox One.
For those unfamiliar with Hi-Rez Studios, moving into open beta is very close to an official release. The game has seen many changes in its year and a half of development, morphing into a solid team-based shooting experience during that time with more than 8.5 million players. This is despite heavy criticism over similarities to Blizzard’s Overwatch, which Hi-Rez felt the need to respond to in a lengthy Reddit post demonstrating the game’s development started before Blizzard’s shooter was ever announced.
Despite the similarities, Paladins is still very much its own game and includes three main game modes – Payload, Siege, and the Survival – plus regular co-op challenges. Payload is similar to the Team Fortress 2-inspired mode that gives the attacking team seven minutes to push the Payload towards the enemy base. Sides swap and the second attacking team has to best the time and/or distance of the first attacking team.
Siege is the best of five rounds where players battle over a control point at the center of a map and earns one point for your team. This spawns a Payload for the capturing team to deliver to the enemy base and end the round with a second point earned. If the opposing team stops the Payload, they earn a point. The first to five points wins.
Survival is a more straight-forward deathmatch with players unable to respawn until the start of the next round. Additionally, the game will slowly force players to the center of the map via a damage dealing fog. The first team to win five rounds wins the match.
There are four different classes for characters – Damage, Flank, Support, and Front Line – spread out across 24 Champions.
Why Try Paladins
It’s Free to Play and still keeps Champions easy to obtain
The fact that Paladins is a free-to-play game is the easily the number one reason to at least give the game a try. Players will start with eight Champions unlocked and additional Champions are easily obtained thanks to the in-game Gold being doled out generously from match wins, challenge completions, and Champion Mastery level rank ups. There isn’t much of a grind to unlock Champions at the rate Hi-Rez Studios has set.
Those that find they do enjoy Paladins enough to spend money can purchase a Founder’s Pack for $20. This unlocks all current and future Champions in the game, plus gives a couple of free skins and a 10 Radiant Chests to unlock additional items, emotes, skins, cards, and voicepacks. Also, the all-important Essence needed to craft and rank up cards.
A deeper, RPG-like Meta
Overwatch‘s in-game meta is based on players switch characters throughout the course of a match to counter certain characters. Paladins’ meta asks players to build Champions through card collections that can be unlocked and ranked up to provide different bonuses during matches. Players can build decks to support their preferred playstyle.
Additionally, players can boost Champion abilities from points earned during matches. The decision on what abilities to boost can be based on how the Champions your teammates select plus the Champions on the opposing team.
For example, having two Front Line Champions will allow one player to use a more offensive deck and ability boosts while the other can choose a more defensive deck and abilities to become even more of a tank. An example of this is Ruckus as a more offensive tank and Makoa or Fernando in a more defensive role.
The downside is unlocking cards and ranking them up to higher levels for the numerous different characters is a bit of a grind.
Since it is in beta, Paladins doesn’t yet exhibit the same level of polish as Overwatch. Few fully released games ever do. Still, it has a light sense of humor while still maintaining a competitive edge and Hi-Rez Studios is providing content updates and patches regularly. Give it a shot, and you may be surprised. As a bonus, a Double Gold event is running in-game across all platforms through Sunday, May 7.
[Featured Image by Hi-Rez Studios]