Hyper - - CONTENTS - Ju­lian Rizzo-Smith on the virtues of bring­ing com­pet­i­tive MOBA to con­sole mar­ket

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.


*cue the choral "woooooah" sound used in the cli­mac­tic bits of movie trail­ers*

I Have Two Mouths and I Must Scream

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