Friday, 27 January 2017

Paladins: The Poor Man's Overwatch?

So, Hi Rez studios has had a new team-based FPS in beta for quite some time now called Paladins. Two groups of five compete against each other, usually battling over control points and / or payloads that must be escorted until one of the teams emerges victorious. It's pretty standard stuff for the genre, but one thing in particular is very difficult to ignore in the game: its characters.

While aesthetically, they're reasonably unique, or at least so much as this is possible without them feeling completely out of place in an FPS, they have a lot of moves very similar to those in Overwatch's roster. We could be here all day making comparisons. Whether its Reinhardt, Roadhog, Pharah, Reaper, or Torbjorn, or others, you'll finding a very noticeable analog running down the corridors of Paladins.

What's resulted is a mix of people taking pot shots at the game for being so similar, and others embracing it as an alternative since they don't want to play Overwatch for whatever reason, but still would like a similar experience. Personally, I find it difficult to go after Hi Rez too hard. It's not uncommon for certain types of characters to become archetypal over time in a genre, with variants slowly making their way into a number of games. We could just as easily point a finger at Overwatch for doing the same thing. After all, how many of its characters bare a striking resembles aesthetically or gameplay-wise to the cast of Team Fortress 2? Quite a few.

This isn't to say that two wrongs suddenly make a right, but as genres of games develop or a certain period in its development really begins to take form, similarities will begin to take root across a number of games in said genre. Whether it was the legions of fighting games that copied ideas from Street Fighter II in the 90s, 3D platformers taking cues from Super Mario 64, or everyone hopping on the hotkey-based MMORPG in the wake of World of Warcraft, there have been plenty of times where we've seen this pattern of several games in a genre absorbing, and sometimes quite blatantly, ideas from their peers. It's the nature of the business.

While Paladins has obviously taken several ideas from Overwatch, it still feels just different enough not to come off as an obnoxious clone, and for the most part it's proving to be reasonably entertaining, even with the game still in beta. I'd definitely recommend folks take a look at the game if they're curious. It's certainly worth one's time.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Know What's Fun? Shattering One's Arm

Astute readers and bots who frequent this site may have noticed a distinct lack of updates over the last few months. Well, there's a good reason for that: I broke my are really bad, got surgery, and things have been taking a good long time to recover.

Things are getting better, hence why I'm writing this post. I can play things pretty okay with a gamepad nowadays, which is nice. Moreover, I can actually type reasonably well again (albeit my pinky finger doesn't work so well, so holding the shift key has proven a challenge). Some PC games are proving a challenge, as my left hand isn't all that dexterous yet and I'll have to wait for the nerves in that arm to decide when they want to cooperate. So, that means no Overwatch or stuff of that ilk for a while. My PC gaming will be limited to RPGs, strategy games, and possibly MOBAs until my hand can handle spammier commands again.

With that, I reckon I'll be writing more here again now that I'm physically capable of it. The last few months have been somewhat unpleasant, but things are getting better now. Anyway, I figured I should post something to let folks know what's been happening. =)