Paladins manages to be a fun game on the surface and in gameplay, but it has a few steep cliffs.
Paladins is an interesting title. A Hero Shooter with various modes and teams of 5 battling it out for supremacy. Each character is unique, each mode offers new challenges.
There are daily rewards, levelling up both your characters to unlock new skills and your general account for rewards. It’s all very progression based.
Which is exactly why this is a free to play game.
How Does It Look?
Paladins looks good on Switch. Nothing about it feels off, though the dynamic resolution can be very obvious in high density moments, but everything is smooth and fluid.
There are a variety of HUD options and placements, cursors and more. The UI is very customisable with one caveat.
As health bars of allies show up a “Sickly Green” when impacted with a status ailment, and enemies are red…a colour blind mode would have been very helpful!
How Does It Play?
The gameplay itself is fairly simple, divided into 3 modes. Team Deathmatch where you compete to get the most kills, Siege where you battle to capture a point and then escort a payload to the enemy base, 1 point for each action, first to 4 wins.
Finally there is a standard Control mode, where you occupy a marked space and accumulate 400 points to win, fighting off the other team to do so.
These modes are all good fun, however the Siege mode lasts for far too long compared to the others, especially when wrestling for control.
Controls are snappy and responsive, and nothing feels out of reach. Interestingly you can get battle buffs by performing well during matches, earning credits to spend for that match. This is best done while respawning of course but it keeps things dynamic and allows you to adapt.
Of course this all comes with a downside: Load Times. Loading can take a while and especially getting into a match. It’s nothing major but for something on a console known for being snappy, this is a bit surprising.
Stage variety also seems a bit light, but that could just be bad luck during matchmaking. It’s hard to tell.
Let’s Talk Progression
Progression in Paladins is strange. You level up characters and unlock cards and new abilities for battles, clear daily challenges to earn Gold and maybe even Crystals…but getting more from the game is hard.
You have a very limited number of characters initially, and this makes choosing one difficult since the game doesn’t allow duplicates on a team. Further to this, finding the characters in the store is difficult, and expensive in terms of Gold, as they are buried amongst voice samples and outfits etc.
But most egregious is a Battle Pass, akin to Fortnite with challenges for rewards, that you pay for with Crystals, a Season Pass, that gives you all Battle Passes, and various chests of randomized items.
Crystals are the premium paid for currency and the sheer wealth of options for expanding what you can simply do in the game is insane. It’s a complicated and frankly worrying mess that so much is gated off, as the game is genuinely fun.
But if this seems like an issue, there is a Buy All option with the Founder’s Pack. For a fee you unlock everything and this is how the game initially launched. I would recommend that over the restrictive Free To Play release.
Paladins is an excellent game marred by some weird choices for monetisation. It tries to accommodate every model known to the industry at once.
This is the biggest downfall of the game, as what is a very fun time is locked behind a grind and premium rewards.
If you want to see the game in action, we have a two hour stream below:
Thanks for reading everyone, and don’t forget to share what you think of Paladins on social media or try it out for yourself, it is free to start after all. Until next time, Happy Gaming!