We picked up Paladins on the Switch when it came out two days ago. I hadn’t played Paladins previously on PC or console, but I had hard a little bit about it. Full disclosure, I’ve never had the best experience with games made by Hi-Rez. I was extremely hesitant. In fact, it took a little convincing from Graev combined with the general idea that it was like Overwatch, and the idea of having that type of experience on the Switch was appealing to me.
Turns out, there’s a lot more to Paladins than you might think — at least a lot more than I thought. That’s why I felt compelled to write up our thoughts on the game to share with you guys in a sort of review-meets-info post.
Isn’t Paladins that Overwatch Clone?
I don’t know which game came out first or which one was in development first. I know that I played Overwatch first, and therefore I will say that Paladins is strikingly familiar. Many of the champions look and play similar to Overwatch heroes. Paladins, like Overwatch and TF2 and games like that, is a team-oriented hero shooter. If you’re familiar with the model then Paladins will feel similar.
What Makes Paladins Different?
There are a couple of interesting differences between Paladins and say Overwatch. Paladins has a card mechanic which is basically just a loadout of minor play-style customizations. Depending on your card choices in your loadout, some abilities might do less damage or have a quicker cooldown.
Paladins also has an item-ish system which acts more like a “buy bonuses” system during a match. As you perform well in a match you’ll get points to spend on these bonuses. This rewards players during a match for playing the objectve or peforming well.
In Paladins you can play a Frontline, Damage, Flanker, or Support champion. As you might imagine, they play like their name suggests. When you choose one at the start of the match, you're locked into that choice and can't swap until next game (not round).
The Champions themselves are pretty cool. This is one of the areas that I like Paladins a lot more than Overwatch. I like the variety and find their themes more interesting. From a goblin in a mech to a magic guy riding on the back of a turtle to a big Groot-like healer tree guy with axes... I like the flavor.
Gameplay in Paladins
There are three game modes: Deathmatch, Siege, and Onslaught. Deathmatch is fairly straight forward. I think this is the weakest of the modes and really hides the strategic play. Siege is the "escort the cart" mode. Onslaught is capture and hold the area. The latter two modes are solid.
Something about gameplay on the Switch is gratifying. There's a slight auto-aim which I can really get behind. I'm also a fan of the hit boxes, which may be a controversial thing. I think they're just generous enough.
Gameplay is also cross-play between the Xbox One and Switch! This is awesome because it means that the Switch community is immediately bolstered by an existing active community, and the active existing community of Xbox gets new life breathed in by the Switch.
Performance and Visuals
Paladins is the best looking and playing shooter game on the Switch yet. It runs buttery smooth at 60fps in docked and handheld. I went over to Graev's and played in handheld mode the entire time with no issues at all. Performance is stable.
The visuals are great. It's not 1080p or anything. Probably around 720p. A couple of times I thought the resolution in handheld went a little 'soft' -- fuzzy would be the wrong word, but it loses a little clarity. This happened maybe once or twice in a two hour period.
Loading times are a bit slow, and that's the big complaint you'll see. They're definitely not fast, but they're not painfully experience-breaking either.
Some people have said they get some errors and unexpected quits, but we haven't experienced that problem ourselves.
How to Play Paladins Now on the Switch
Paladins is currently offering a founders package for $29.99 where you get access to the game along with all of the champions currently out now and in the future. In the near future around the end of the summer the game will go F2P and the only way you’ll gain access to the champions will be through unlocking them by playing. If you value the ability to play now and have access to all of the characters then this is a pretty good option.
We're very happy with our decision to play, and I'm surprised to say that I'm fairly confident I enjoy it more than Overwatch.