Proving that you don’t necessarily need to be on Steam in order to label your game as early access, Epic games has done just that for their forthcoming MOBA, Paragon. For either $20, $60, or $100, you can show your support for the game, and play it immediately on PC or PS4. But should you? Well, probably not.
From what I played of Paragon during its weekend alpha events, the game’s got some potential, but it’s still a ways away from seeing it realized. I’m not even sure the main thing going for it – how pretty it is – matters. The setting and most of the characters are just plain generic. You have the woman with a bow. The guy who wishes he was Star-Lord. Then there’s the alien that resembles a cross between a gorilla and predator. About the only character with any real personality, the cat-like alien in a mech suit, is basically a rip off of League of Legend’s Rumble. There’s just very little inspiration here, regardless of the level of graphical fidelity.
Then you have the game itself. It’s just too slow. Across the board. Movement is too slow, most of the attack animations are too slow – and not to mention boring. Even the game’s sprint mechanic is too slow. Paragon could benefit greatly from being sped up twice as fast as it is. Just crank it up. Epic is known for fast shooters. Why can’t Paragon be a fast MOBA?
About the only unique idea in the game – the card system – is a grind that favors a bit too much RNG. There are no items in Paragon, at least not in the traditional sense. Before you go into a match, you build a deck – or choose from a starter one. These decks govern the way you build a hero. Want your Star-Lord wannabe to attack faster? Throw in a bunch of attack speed cards. Want him to instead hit harder? Throw in damage cards instead. These cards are gained through packs, and like most card games, some cards are rarer – and better. Fortunately you can only spend reputation earned in game to pay for these packs, and not real money. At the end of the day, you’re forced to grind them out, or to buy a boost and grind them out slightly more quickly. It’s easy to compare the system to runes in League of Legends, and while both are a grind, there is no RNG to deal with in League’s rune system. There’s a good chance someone in your Paragon match, especially now during early access, will have vastly better cards than you, and all you can really do is grind out the difference, and hope to get lucky. Other than that glaring issue, the game’s business model is great. All heroes are free, and you pay for boosts and skins.
I want to like Paragon, but hasn’t that been said a hundred times for a hundred games that just aren’t too good, and I want all games to be awesome. The MOBA scene could use another really good 3rd person variant, but at the moment, Paragon isn’t it. There’s a good chance some of these issues might very well be solved before the game comes out, but considering that Epic has decided that Paragon is worth spending money on, I can’t help but reply with,
“No, it’s really not.”