DEVELOPER: Hi-Rez Studios
PUBLISHER: Hi-Rez Studios, Microsoft
PLATFORM: Xbox One, PC
RATING: T (Teen)
RELEASE DATE: Sometime in 2015
Hi-Rez Studios is bringing pc gaming to the Xbox One with their prized MOBA Smite. We got a chance to get our hands on Smite early with the closed beta and while some of us will have to wait til launch to play it Xbox One owners are in for a real treat. Keep in mind, the game is currently in beta so I will be pointing out flaws in the game’s current state but they will likely be taken care of well before launch.
Smite is a MOBA very similar to other games like DOTA and League of Legends except Smite’s camera stays in the 3rd person format. Which is a personal favorite of mine due to the fact that it allows the maps to become more real and have depth. Not only that but it allows for more technical skills needed to advance into enemy territory. Players take control of mythical gods and pit them against one another in an all out slaughter of various game modes. Each God offers different abilities and attacks, among those skills players will also learn those gods strengths. Once players become more familiar they will develop their own tactics for taking control of the battlefield. (and yes sometimes retreating is considered a tactic) Among the battlefield lies 3 lanes, the middle being the most open and allowing enemies to see you. While the 2nd and 3rd lanes allow Gods to be unseen and gain mana and attack buffs from camps. Which also gives players the opportunity the set up sneak attacks in rival Gods. Upon killing gods and various A.I. players will earn XP and money which will help them level up and cash in for items to use in battle.
The objective of Smite is to advance up the middle lane into enemy territory, take out their defenses, and kill their titan. Along the way Gods will have to combat other gods, towers, and even the enemy’s phoenix. While this doesn’t seem like a length task at first, matches can last for an absorbent amount of time. Several of my practice rounds last well over 30 minutes with the longest being a solid hour campaign (which I lost). The online experience tends to be much shorter as other players are much more skilled and know their God’s strengths and weakness. Unlike Dota, Smite’s combat requires players to aim their attacks carefully and be aware of their surroundings. Failure to do so will likely result in a God obtaining the upper hand and wiping the middle lane with your team.
Although this is my first MOBA I can easily commit to idea of this being my favorite online action experience. It took some time for me to understand the combat and be patient with obtaining control of the lane but once I did it was insanely worth it. There is a certain amount of gratification a player receives when landing sweet shots and taking out a rival God. Definitely one of the more satisfying experiences in gaming that I’ve had recently. Players coming from DOTA and LOL might have some issues adapting but its a complete twist on the standard MOBA. I did notice that Smite has microtransactions but it does seem to give other players a true upper hand and tend to lean towards cosmetic skins for Gods. While these might not be for everyone, there is no concern in my mind that these items affect the balance of the game.
The Xbox One is an excellent host for Smite. Not only does it run well but the controller layout is perfect and is super easy to grow accustom to. The online matches are frantic and the community is very serious about winning, so I’d highly suggest a large amount of practice before jumping online. I’d also like to point out that I had no issues connecting to matches and the game remained solid the whole time, really solid work on the multiplayer. The only grievance I’ve had with the game is the texture pop in that occurs every now and again. Otherwise its a damn near perfect experience on the Xbox One and will hopefully become a staple free to play game for Xbox. Smite will be entering another beta phase soon with the game expected to launch later this year. Regardless of the wait, Xbox One players should be overly enthused for the arrival of Smite.