Paragon Open Beta Impression: Great Matchmaking, Addictive Gameplay, Smite Killer Spotted!
Making a MOBA game is not much different from putting together an awesome desert. Even the slightest of inconsistency will ruin the taste. For years, Riot, Valve, and Blizzard have been at the helm of at things MOBA.
All companies have practically defined the ingredients needed to form a beautiful MOBA game. Their recipe has been used to create many unique games in the genre, all great, but none able to touch the level of greatness needed to compete with these giants.
However, I am here to report that there is a new player in the business that is ready to take on the greats. The player in question is none other than Epic Games.
The studio that gave us Gears of War is back!
Epic Games has crafted a beautiful MOBA game that not only keeps you hooked for hours on end, but manages to make every second spent in-game enjoyable without a single dull moment.
Paragon is a very fun game to play and without question the best MOBA available on PlayStation 4. The PC market will be tough, of course, but Paragon is a hard hitter.
When you hear MOBA, you think of top down multiplayer battle area but Paragon use a third person views and hack n slash mechanics.
Previously, such a camera angle has been used for SMITE.
Paragon is an extremely team-based and strategy oriented, tactical game. Such words may give a complex impression but it is not very difficult to get into.
PC is home to MOBAs and those of us who are used to playing top-down may need some time to adjust; which shouldn’t take more than 2-3 games.
Paragon’s gameplay elements, compared to SMITE and other games, are very easy to digest. Its UI and HUD is easy on the eyes and everything you need is very accessible.
Epic has spend a great deal of time refining the game’s fundamentals. One of the most demanded features was the draft mode which we got to test in the beta.
It is well balanced and fair, majority of the time you end up with the character you wish to play with so that is a huge plus.
The draft mode allows you to think how you need to cooperate and synergise with your team in order win. This results in tactically focused matches.
It is much better than being thrown into a game where most aren’t happy with their characters so they may not give a 100%. Each Hero is well balanced and designed, which it should be, considering how some of them are inspired by greats from League of Legends and DOTA 2.
Each hero has five abilities mapped to left mouse, right mouse, Q, E, and R. You can customize your character before the game by selecting a deck of up to 40 cards. These cards contain different abilities and upgrades – passive, potions, mana etc.
Understanding decks and how to build them for each character can be a little overwhelming for first time players. Thankfully, in-game links take you to videos created by Epic Games that explain each character, its abilities, and how decks should be built.
There are host of defensive and offensive characters available to you. Each of your character has its own level which is separate from the level of the player. Leveling up characters gets you specific rewards and perks. There are daily rewards for playing, weekly quests, and quests that are exclusive to different characters.
Overall, Paragon offers plenty to come back to over and over.
The foundation for a microtransaction system is in place and Epic will build on it over time. There are two types of in-game currency – Reputation and Coins. Both of these can be earned in-game to buy skins and decks of cards for your characters. Reputation lands you more cards that affect gameplay with unique skill and abilities while Coins are for cosmetic items.
Coins are available to buy through PlayStation Store or Epic’s client on PC.
Furthermore, Paragon has a satisfying ‘play and counterplay’ system which is essential for MOBAs. ‘play and counterplay’ is something Paragon struggled with originally but developers have made improvements, balance changes since than.
Still, there is room for improvement.
Spending time with Paragon and its 21 characters feels worthwhile, the game manages to create meaningful involvements. Getting into a PvP match takes about 15- 20 seconds which is testament to Epic’s excellent netcode.
But it seems Epic is yet to implement a proper punishment system for leaving during Draft Mode or a match itself. After intentionally leaving the game a couple of times, I saw no action taken against me.
MOBA games are tough and can last of over an hour. If suddenly someone decided to rage quit or just gets bored and leaves, you may feel like punching your LED in.
Another issue which many may notice is related to the mini map. The map shows the position of your enemies but they can easily disappear by entering the jungle. A system similar to League of Legends and DOTA 2 where you can free the cam to see where your opponent is, and what are they doing, will be very handy.
Epic Games’ Paragon is a great dessert that needs a cherry on top. Minor improvements here and there such as freeing the cam occasionally to check up on the enemy would be nice. Paragon is the most visually impressive game of its kind, hands down.
All Epic needs to do is bring in ranked play, new maps, more characters, while refining its current roster.
Paragon open beta is available on PC and PS4 with final release set for Summer 2017.