Posted November 22, 2015 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

Paladins Preview – PAX Aus 2015

At PAX I had the opportunity to try out the latest game from SMITE Developers Hi-Rez Studios, Paladins. With Paladins Hi-Rez is bringing their trademark style, as well as their experience creating unique characters, to the world of hero-based free-to-play first person shooters. With my previous great experiences with Smite, I went into my playtime at PAX and during the closed beta period expecting a lot.

Paladins is a 5v5 hero-focused first person shooter where your end goal is break into your opponent’s vault and steal their hard earned gold. To do this you first need to summon a siege engine by capturing a point on the map before your opponents can. If you succeed in capturing the point and summoning the siege engine, you will then need to escort it to your opponent’s base where it will start blast its way through the two outer gates. Conversely, if your opponent captures the point, you then need to try and take down the siege engine, limiting its damage as much as possible. The transitions between these different phases of the game means that there is a constant push and pull, with many different strategies being employed depending on what’s happening at the time. It brings a certain depth to the game, and helps ensure that it doesn’t get stale.

As with SMITE before it, Paladins big focus and drawcard is on the different heroes that you can play with. The builds that I played contained 8 different heroes to play as, with more expected to be included prior to release. Each hero is completely unique, with each of their two special abilities, their movement ability and weapons being different. For example, Fernando ‘The Self-Appointed Knight’, has an ability that allows him to deploy a shield in front himself. While the shield is active, he cannot attack enemies, but he can shield himself, allies and the siege engine lending himself to be a defensive powerhouse. But maybe you don’t want to play defensively, maybe you want to lay a bit of ground support. How about Grohk, the lightning orc who can deploy a healing totem and shoot chain lightning at his opponents. Hi-Rez Studios have become known for their unique characters, and it definitely looks like they’re bringing their A-game to Paladins.

Unlike many other character based multiplayer games, Paladins doesn’t have you unlocking abilities as you level up during matches. Instead, when you level up you’re given the option of three different cards to choose from, with each upgrading an ability or your character’s general stats. Depending on the mode you play, cards can either be selected at random from your collection or from your constructed deck. You obtain these cards by opening treasure chests outside of matches. Chests can be purchased with real money or with in-game currency earnt while playing matches. This does, of course, mean that paying players can potentially get an advantage over non-paying players, however the semi-random nature of card unlocks during matches, as well as the fact that they are just buffs, means that the focus is still more on skill and teamwork, as opposed to paying to win.

Another thing that Hi-Rez has brought to Paladins is a distinctive cartoony art style, similar to that employed in SMITE before it. Characters are detailed and look great, and the environments are wonderfully colourful.

Paladins is shaping up to be another great free-to-play game from Hi-Rez Studios, and with a release date of “when the game is polished and lives up to Hi-Rez Studios’ standards of quality” it sounds as though Hi-Rez are in for the long haul. Paladins is currently in closed beta on PC, with access being granted either via random chance by signing up at www.paladins.com or by purchasing the Founders Pack which also comes with an exclusive steed and 20 card chests.


Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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