Games Review: Paladins: Champions of the Realm (Nintendo Switch, 2018) provides fast team-based action on the go

Let’s get one thing straight. Paladins does little to hide its Overwatch inspirations. Team-based multiplayer action tied together with an expansive and varied roster of heroes, it may come down to poor timing that Paladins lacks the originality it arguably deserves. But it doesn’t end there, as the Switch version gives users an experience so far unseen on Nintendo’s portable platform.

This review represents the second half of a two part review. It focuses specifically on the Nintendo Switch version of Paladins, while the review’s first part focuses on the Windows PC version.

Paladins presents itself as a pretty straight forward team-based action mash-up, packed with a ton of characters to choose from, boasting varied and interesting abilities. However, going forward, it’s hard not to compare to Overwatch. While each character has their own look and personality, I couldn’t help but feel some characters drew a little too much inspiration from it’s competitor. My personal favourite is Viktor, as his abilities and mechanics favour more traditional first person shooter mechanics. However, as my favourite Overwatch character is Soldier 76 for very much the same reasons, I found myself uncontrollably and constantly connecting the two.

Paladins benefits here in it’s art style. While Overwatch has its own look, which is gorgeous in its own right, Paladins definitely stands its own ground. Drawing from fantasy elements allows for a wide range of colours, which admittedly dabble on the overly bright and neon spectrum work in such a way that there always feels like there’s something to catch your attention. With a bevy of maps to choose across three distinct modes, consisting of traditional death match and siege modes, with a new mode called Rise of Furia, blending death match mechanics in the midst of a deadly race to the top of a tower.

The Switch version runs admittedly well too. Paladins thankfully runs at 60fps, and while this frame rate is not locked by any means, small stutters and drops can be forgiven as the Switch is technically behind the beefier PS4 and Xbox One versions, with PC obviously all the cards. However, it’s the controls which let the Switch version down, and unfairly so, as this is simply a problem with all first person shooters on the Switch. The Pro controller is the best way to go, offering the most comfortable option, especially when playing with the device docked. In portable terms, Paladins‘ controls are arguably at their worst, as the joy cons attached to either side don’t provide enough room for me to adequately aim, all while supporting the device in my hands. It’s not game breaking by any means, but more so frustrating, as this is an issue with the console in general, in which Paladins becomes caught in the crossfire.

I must say I also enjoyed my time online, with steady serves and the ability to choose my region helping to weed out any bad connections. Given my internet was fine, so was my time online with Paladins. However, the problems I had encountered online were once again subject to the current limitations of the console. You may already know where I’m heading with this, and it’s the lack of voice chat. Although voice chat is coming, the fact that it’s not present at this point in time really damages the experience, as team-based games such as these really rely on some sense of voice chat.

Overall, Paladins on the Switch runs extremely well, and presents itself as a solid team based shooter, at least on a console without Overwatch. While the comparisons may be unavoidable, Paladins offers up some original characters, and some original locales and a look not often seen in a competitive first person shooter. While the game plays well enough with a steady frame rate, the joy cons are not always comfortable, and I would highly recommend a Pro Controller, especially when the system is docked.

Score: 7.0 out of 10
Highlights: Solid performance, varied locales and character variety.
Lowlights: Unavoidable Overwatch comparisons, handheld gameplay suffers when using Joy-Cons.

Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Available: Now
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC

Review conducted on Nintendo Switch with retail code provided by the publisher.