Paragon is a freetoplay multiplayer online battle arena game or MOBA for short. Though the game is free, the open beta doesn’t begin until August 16th, with publisher Epic Games allowing players to purchase starter packs which grant early access to the game, as well as dlc bonuses.
When the game is first booted up, you’re presented with the common “knowledge level” type screen most of us will recognise from any game’s campaign mode, asking if you’ve played any games of this genre before. After this you’re introduced to a brief outline of Paragon; a 5v5 arena game that uses a player draft system where players take turns choosing which character they can use. Your first game will consist of a solo match, where you play alongside AI bots. The first solo match I played consisted of pressing all the different buttons, as there was no real tutorial on what buttons do what. Aside from the obvious controls (move/aim/shoot) that appear in almost every game now, the action buttons bring different abilities to the table. You can gain points in-game, which you can then use to level up your abilities and unlock new ones. Each ability has a cooldown period, so this is one game where targeted attacks will outmatch button m a s h i n g ( t h a n k f u ll y ) .
The game is colourful, with overall good graphics. The arena was very detailed and looked fantastic, almost making up for the fact that there’s only one arena. The characters look well designed, with vibrant colours and plenty of detail ingame. That said, I did notice a few moments where a character would look like they were out of focus. The bright colours in the game contrast nicely with the detailed jungle/temple ruin theme of the arena, making players stand out clearly. The pregame music fits in well with the game, giving the pregame lobby a sort of dramatic tone, which reflects the sometimes hectic gameplay. The audio sounds great, very clear, with a good quality announcer. The enemy and friendly gunfire can be extremely loud during firefights, often drowning out any noise created by enemy players, so the closer I was to my teammates, the harder it was to locate the enemy team before they popped up out of nowhere and obliterated us.
The gameplay on Paragon can be fun, but there are a few parts of the game (other than my horrific lack of skill) that can make it frustrating at times. The characters are poorly balanced, with one character having an extremely long-range attack capable of crossmap obliteration and most other characters having a severe limit to their effective range. Another issue I had was that the person who gets points for a kill is the on to fire the final shot, so I found on more than one occasion that I would almost destroy an enemy at which point an AI minion (a support character) would turn up and take the final shot. The final and possibly most annoying part of the game is that I can be somewhat impatient; the respawn time on the game progressively increases from manageable to boring and then to ultimately spending more time waiting to respawn than actually being in the arena. Finally, the games have no end time, so at the point where we were in the same game for 70 minutes, we ended up surrendering, as no team was near winning.
Now to that fun part I mentioned, in this game I found people to be a lot more objective focused than other games. There is a fantastic team comms feature, by holding down L1 you get the comms panel, allowing you to select different phrases from attack middle/left/right to I’ll be right back. Another cool feature is that if you log in with an Epic Games account, you can play on both PC and PS4 with the progress saving on both platforms for the same account. The game also features decks of cards, which are used to provide powerups to enhance the character, such as added health regen for a brief period or to teleport to any friendly installation of your choice, which can be very useful after respawning to get back in the fight.
So, overall we have a good online game which looks great and sounds better but can get repetitive if you’re used to playing games with more variety. But it is free to play, so it does have a certain value for money. I played it for quite a while, and though I won’t play it all the time, I might have a go now and again. I’ll probably even have fun.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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