Epic Games enters the action MOBA marketplace
Paragon embodies the virtues of MOBA game design but in a third person perspective. Players work in teams of five destroying enemy towers as they progress through three-lane maps. You can play by yourself against AI, with other players, or in competitive PvP matches, with the latter often lasting between 30 minutes to an hour. Like other games in the genre, your character progression is tied to match duration. You begin a match with few items and only your basic ability, chipping away at enemy minions and towers to level up and progress. You unlock your four other abilities – two active skills, a passive, and an ultimate ability – as you level up. You can influence your character’s stats by
purchasing cards from a custom deck at your team base. While this is essentially the same equipment micromanagement found in other games in the genre, creating your own custom build outside of matches is fun and unique.
Paragon encourages teamwork and communication, too. Button shortcuts on the PlayStation 4 version of the game allow you to quickly communicate with your team without the need of a keyboard extension. Using these commands you can indicate that a lane needs defending or that your ultimate ability is ready, which significantly helps with maintaining a line of defence between the three lanes.
Character design is based on the game’s six classes as well. While there is a set of tank heroes, most of the cast is made up of DPS and support roles, which further vary in assassin, caster, and rangertype builds. Competitive players will no doubt be more strategic in their team’s character selection, as each character has their own strategy and tactics. Paragon’s cast doesn’t come to life on screen as naturally as other herobased games, but I enjoyed my time with the characters I played. The dual-axe wielding reptilian assassin Khaimera strikes his enemies as a basic attack but can later teleport behind them for a quick ambush and violently swing his weapons in all directions. His high agility and damage per second make him good for flanking but his low defence leaves him vulnerable when directly attacking a group of enemies.
Another character, Narbash, is an orc bard and plays more of a supportive tank role in matches. He has unusually high health, defence, and damage, but has long ability cooldowns, swinging his (literal) drum sticks in slow, heavy arcs while healing and buffing his allies. Tutorial videos on each hero instruct you on the strategy that works best for them, so it never feels overwhelming – which isn't something you can say for certain other MOBAs.
Despite still being in beta, Paragon has already acquired a respectable following, with competitions regularly streamed on Twitch and a new hero introduced every three weeks. With an emphasis on teamwork, traditional level design, and a third person perspective, it has the potential to introduce competitive MOBAs to the console scene in a big way.
MOST OF THE CAST IS MADE UP OF DPS AND SUPPORT ROLES, WHICH FURTHER VARY IN ASSASSIN, CASTER, AND RANGER TYPE BUILDS
*cue the choral "woooooah" sound used in the climactic bits of movie trailers*
I Have Two Mouths and I Must Scream