After a couple rounds of closed testing, Pagan Online launches into early access today. It’s an action RPG that aims to make its moment-to-moment combat a bit more involved by cribbing notes from the MOBA genre, with less screen-filling spam and more dangerous enemies. It’s developed by Mad Head Games and Wargaming, and rather than join the free-to-play options in the genre, it’s to be a full priced commercial game, albeit a bit cheaper while it’s still in development. Today’s release is single-player only, with co-op due to be patched in soon. See the launch trailer below.
Probably the biggest difference between Pagan Online and other action-RPGs is its movement. The mouse is used for aiming skills, but the keyboard is used for eight-way digital movement, putting a greater focus on evading telegraphed enemy attacks than in other action RPGs where you’re just expected to tank damage. Only some attacks root you to the spot, so you’re free to dodge and re-position while chipping away at baddies, which also seem less numerous and more individually dangerous than other action RPGs. Skills are mostly cooldown-based, so there’s a focus on using the right tool, rather than just spamming your favourite.
The version out today has a five-act campaign, eight playable characters, crafting and three difficulty levels and a few extra optional game modes, which seems like enough to get comfortably started with. Still, one major feature didn’t make the cut for this release – multiplayer – with co-op “shipping very soon”. Not listed as on the cards, but one I’m hoping for is gamepad support. Despite the more console-esque movement, it’s mouse and keyboard only right now. Mad Head and Wargaming are planning to bulk the game up further, with more story, zones and enemies to blat. There’s no fixed release date, but they plan on launching the final version “later this year”.