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Paladins, a game that's passively competing with Overwatch in the Hero shooter genre, does it have enough differences to really make it stand out and be worth playing over its competition? without turning that into a debate of its own once again, I'll say that it's easily worth a play, especially if you go in with an open mind and try not to compare characters with those in Overwatch if that's what you're currently playing as well.

On Paladins you can't switch characters during a match which is something that I'm sure most people familiar with the game are aware of. In some regards this actually works quite well, from my experience so far all the characters feel very viable to play, I've not found a character where I start thinking "that character sucks, I'm not playing that", at worst you will see that the enemy team has a character that has a good chance of killing you in a 1v1 which really can be more of a pain on specific maps, this would require you to alter how you play somewhat in order to be more efficient and making sure to have a few card builds for each character in order to adapt to the enemy character picks, an example in this would be Evie vs Kinessa, Evie should have a good chance of killing Kinessa if she jumps her unaware, Kinessa would need get back into her team or escape somehow and possibly have a card build that's good at dealing with flankers, and most definitely up your awareness levels without tunnel visioning too hard.

Paladins has both good and bad experiences in it's own way due to the no switch gameplay. If you happen to get into a game where your team chose a good composition of characters that can compliment each other to some degree then you will actually have an enjoyable experience, so perhaps having a tank, healer, long range dps, a medium range dps and a flanker as an example.

What may happen sometimes is that people will simply pick and play what they want without any regard to what everyone else has picked, and more often than not you will see very little if any team play at all from them. So what I mean is having no hit-scan characters or even no long ranged characters to deal with the other teams sniper, because for some strange reason you have no flankers, but instead have 2 aoe damaging characters, 2 tanks and 1 healer, the result of that can mean their snipers have free game to shoot from the back with no real counter or hard pressure play at hand.

The one strong point that Paladins has is that it simply feels like a fun but goofy game. There's also the fact that there's no solid meta (at least not yet, hopefully never) that I've encountered in the game. So unlike Overwatch, you won't see a Reinhardt in every game (perhaps unless it's Quickplay, but even then he's still an often pick out of the large roster available) and potentially a whole other range of very commonly picked characters due to having such an obvious strength, instead I see that all characters are playable and different group comps can work quite well, leading to a really diverse set of character picks on each match that you play.

There's also the way that ultimates work in Paladins, I think with the exception of Drogoz (due to it being an ultimate with a fairly large chance of guaranteeing a kill with little escaping from it) all of the ultimates in Paladins feel very fair and not "game changing" with each use to some degree. While Ultimates here can be powerful, there's also a lot of ways to deal with each one that a character uses in some way or another and they're not something that can score out a kill with a simple press of the button, this is one of the strong points of the game as they feel like something that actually adds to the character as opposed to defining their pick, some may do big damage but can really expose you out or get you killed if used wrong, some of them will slow enemies, disable and weaken, fear, damage boost, big damage in 1 hit and so forth.

What's kept me enjoying Paladins is how I feel free to pick generally any character I want without feeling too guilty that we don't have a healer or a tank (though you may want at least 1 of either in a team as a safe bet). Don't get me wrong though, having a healer and a tank can help sway the game in your favour as opposed to not having either, but even then they can be negated by an in-game card called cauterize to reduce healing by up to 90% as a level 3 card on the enemy you're attacking (and some characters have skills that reduce healing received that stacks the effect), and the Wrecker card to help melt down shields if it's proving to be a problem during a match, this would mean something like a tank meta can never exist and a Sniper character won't be heavy countered because a shield is eating all their damage too often.

Paladins also has quite a strong emphasis on player skill as opposed to being heavily reliant on your team to progress forward which is something that's had me coming back for more, I feel as though I'm really able to pull my weight with my own gameplay as opposed to being almost fully reliant on my team to push forward properly and actually make progress in a game, obviously you want your team to be alive and have a presence on the map in order for you to be more effective, but what I mean is that you're not at the mercy of your team to accomplish something. It's also a fairly fast paced game in its own right as well, by which I mean kill securing is quite prominent which can easily have your entire team scoring around 30 kills each for a very action oriented game with plenty happening.

If you have yet to play Paladins then this is still something that I can easily recommend for a fun freetoplay game, they are still continuously adding on content, characters, skins and plenty of balance patches, just recently they released a new map and even a new game mode where you can actually test out unreleased maps that aren't even textured yet and may not even be released.

Paladins site: https://www.paladins.com/

Steam page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/444090/

Paladins   F2P   freetoplay   Review   hero shooter   gameplay  

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