Paragon open access will begin very soon, but some gamers have already had their hands on the title in the form of the Alpha test. We’ve played a bit of Paragon and come to the conclusion that while it’s definitely a MOBA (and one of the best-looking MOBA titles to date), it’s very likely to appeal to more than just MOBA fans. People who have been getting into Gears of War, The Division and other third-person shooters should at least give Paragon a spin because it could be exactly what you’re looking for.
At first glance Paragon is bright and vibrant, like a more serious version of League of Legends. It also features all of the standard gameplay elements you’d expect from the MOBA genre. There’s a large map where two teams of five battle it out with a constant flow of minions and various forts and camps to take down to reach the opposing team’s core. However, once you start to play Paragon you’ll quickly realize that this is almost as much of a third-person shooter as it is a MOBA.
When we first played Paragon, we took a look at the default control layout. Unlike most MOBA titles that require you to click a location on the battlegrounds to move your character, the heroes in Paragon move just like you’d expect a character in Gears of War to move around a battlefield. If you’ve played Smite, it’s closer to that than League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm, but it goes beyond even what Smite has to offer.
We actually plugged in a controller to see if that would work in the Alpha build of the game. It worked in the menu, but we couldn’t map any commands to the controller. The game will have a PlayStation 4 beta in the near future, so the ability to use a controller on the PC version will likely be added at some point. With the way you control you character it seems fitting that a controller option will be available in the future.
In Smite every attack is essentially a skill shot. Aim matters here as there aren’t many attacks that will automatically track an opponent. With each attack having a cooldown period, if you miss an attack it can mean the difference between life and death. Smite kept things simple by not really allowing players to aim up or down, but Paragon embodies Epic Games’ roots in shooters and allows players to shoot along a vertical axis. You can angle your attack up or down in addition to left and right.
The ability to shoot up and down alone the vertical axis is important because the terrain is not flat like it is in just about every other MOBA title. The jungle area is lower than the traditional three lanes you see in most MOBA games. You know exactly where enemies and allies are if they’re in a lane, no matter where you are on a map. This is a stark contrast to most MOBA titles which require you to have some sort of vision to see parts of the map not occupied by allied units. If you drop into the lower jungle area you will disappear from sight, allowing you to mount sneak attacks on unsuspecting enemies.
Playing through a few games of Paragon felt like we were playing a shooter with MOBA elements. You have the same objectives you’d expect from a MOBA, but the gameplay feels like you’re playing a shooter. This is what Epic Games was going for, by giving players more control over their character in a MOBA game and that’s exactly what it feels like. Yes, the base of the game is 100 percent MOBA, but it looks and feels like a shooter and that should bring in quite a few players who generally stick to shooters or have never tried a MOBA.
We’ll have a lot more coming your way for the various heroes and abilities in Paragon, but for now be sure to check out our strategic preview or find out how Paragon compares to Heroes of the Storm and other MOBA titles.