I’ve never been into shooters or Hero/Moba shooters. Games such as Overwatch, Paladins, PUBG, Fortnite and more all came to the consoles I owned but the fact that they were Multiplayer-Only games never caught my attention as I am not into shooters and also not very good at shooters. When Hi-Rez Studios decedid to bring Paladins to the Switch I have to say it caught my attention and I was willing to give it (and Fortnite) a shot this time around. The Nintendo Switch is still yearning for a truly great shooter - especially one with a decent multiplayer component. Hero shooter / MOBA hybrid Paladins goes some way to fixing that, providing a fun, engaging shooting experience with a wealth of characters and abilities to try out in what can be rather tense online battles.
Paladins sees you picking a hero from a pool of over 30 characters– all if which are available to those purchasing the founders pack. Each character fills one of the four classes – Front Liners are the games Tanks, these characters have barrier style spells and high defense to soak up damage. Damage Dealers are classic head on pain bringers that focus on smashing enemies and have skills that stop opponents from moving or knocking them out of the air. Supporters are the healers of the game offering up healing and supporting buffs and Flankers are mobile attackers aimed at taking out your opponents Damage Dealers with mobile skills and high damage output. You can choose to fight in first or third person view modes. It can be daunting at first but I found that picking one character from each class and getting used to their mechanics is a good place to start. Each of Paladins champions has five different skills – a base weapon to fight with, three abilities, and an Ultimate. If you're just looking for a straightforward shooter experience, you can easily jump into a Damage role and rain hell over your enemies - though, frustratingly, you can't change hero mid-game if you decide you're bored of your current role. You also need to buy items from the spawn point during matches to give you an advantage over the enemy, and you can build a deck of power-ups to take into battle with you, adding more depth to matches.
Facing off in 5v5 battles in either a standard deathmatch or an objective-based Siege mode, two teams battle to control a single point in the center of the map. Onslaught is the King of the Hill style offering, teams are awarded tickets for controlling the centre of the arena as well as for kills and the first team to reach 400 wins or the team with the most tickets after 10 minutes wins allowing for quick matches. Siege has teams attempt to take control and then try to push a wagon full of explosives into the enemy base to score another point, essentially both teams scramble to a central zone where they must fill a meter in order to unlock a payload which they need to defend and push towards the enemies area. Battles are won when the first team reaches four payloads and working together is essential. Once a team scores a payload all players reset to the spawn point and there is a brief timer before you can both go back to get another payload, this short break gives each character time to spend their currency on ability and discuss and tactical decisions. There's also the fact that everything's just a little bit too slow, especially when navigating menus and joining games. Be prepared for five-minute waits just to get into a casual Siege match - or to be thrown into a match full of bots without warning.
The Switch edition does have cross-play with Xbox One players, so there's usually people available to play, and hopefully when the free edition lands on Nintendo's console player numbers will pick up. But as of right now, actually getting into a match can be quite laborious. In terms of comparison to other consoles all of the games modes and characters with the exception of the Rise of Furia content are here and the game runs at a healthy 60 FPS. Cross play is available with Xbox players so matchmaking is not going to be a challenge. PS4 does not offer cross play with Switch players. Much like on Fortnite this is of course a shame if you have friends playing on that platform. Voice chat is not currently supported natively which is a shame and can cause you to miss out on learning and tactical opportunities if playing with a random squad.
Paladins is actually a pretty fun shooter. There's plenty of depth to it, and the wide pool of characters and abilities means everyone's tastes are catered for. Throw in long wait times for matches and you have an experience which can be quite frustrating, but stick with it and you'll find the makings of a seriously fun multiplayer shooter.