It says a lot about a game when you’ve purchased countless titles from AAA to Indie, and the one that grips you is the free-to-play one. Smite is one of the newer MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games having only recently come out of beta and is already showing a lot of promise.
I was hesitant at first to try Smite because I’d already tried Dota 2 and League of Legends with neither had really grasping me. Once I tried it however, I was wondering what took me so long. There’s a lot of unique selling points for Smite such as the fact you’re fighting with Gods or that the community, I’ve found, is a lot ‘better’ than other MOBAs; but the real unique thing for me was the third-person perspective.
I couldn't really get into other MOBAs due to their top-down, scrolls everywhere, click lots to move style. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to a dungeon crawler, but there was something about being online and knowing that I needed to use twitch reactions that meant I didn't like relying near-most entirely on my right hand. That could be because I’m left handed (I know, heathen) but that’s besides the point. I instantly felt comfortable using the WASD keys to navigate within Smite and that’s what really kept me interested to find out more.
As aforementioned, Smite is a lot like the other big MOBAs and follows a free-to-play model. You are allowed access to the game with a selection of Gods to start off with and a free rotation changing with each update. If you want to unlock more Gods, you have to either use Favor, the in-game currency earned by leveling up and playing; or Gems, the real money currency. You can also spend Favor or Gems on alternate skins for your Gods, or Voice Packs to make your in-game commands reflect your God. The free-to-play implementation in Smite, unlike in some other titles, is fairly minimal and doesn't get thrown in your face every ten minutes. If you want some extras for the game, they’re there. It’s entirely your choice if you purchase them.
Speaking of Gods, there’s a whole bunch to choose from. There are more than 50, spanning different cultures and religions such as Zeus, Greek God of the Sky or Kali, Hindu Goddess of Destruction. A lot of the Gods available I hadn't heard of such as Neith, Egyptian Weaver of Fate but Hi-Rez studios have gone to great lengths to help you understand their lore a lot better, should you wish to. The research into the lore really reflects upon the Gods’ designs as well, some in more subtle ways than others. One example would be Aphrodite, Greek Goddess of Beauty. Her stockings show wave patterns which suggests the lore that she was born from the sea. It’s these small details that really make the game and surprise you after dozens of hours of play
So, you've picked your God. Now it’s time to take to the battlegrounds but luckily, you've not just got the one to choose from. You've got an option of five different game modes: Joust, Conquest, Assault, Arena and Match of the Day. I won’t go into detail about these as, for the most part, they’re very similar to other MOBAs but suffice to say, if you want to know more about them, you can find information on their website or in the game.
What I will say about the game modes, however, is that their design is bang on to their lore, much like the Gods. The look and feel of the different maps really helps to immerse you. Not only are you battling it out against other Gods, but are in their home territory whilst you do it. Along with this, Hi-Rez Studios have made an effort to create and alter the maps in such a way to create a balanced game that doesn't slow down the pace too much. In a MOBA, pacing is a critical point and, from what I've seen, they've hit the nail on the head, if not somewhere near it.
Smite gives itself justice in reference to pacing by making half an hour to an hour game go by in a flash. In other MOBAs I've played, it has always felt like time was really dragging and we weren't making much progress. Here, I rarely notice time passing. Another key point to bring up on pacing is that, even if your team is down on points or levels, it’s not uncommon for you to be able to get back on top. It’s no easy job, but it also isn't impossible.
Graphically, the game is beautiful and, for the most part, the Gods look fantastic and up to date. With a game boasting so many characters however, you’re bound to have some shown more love than others and that’s no different here. Some of the Gods can feel a bit dated in comparison to others. For instance, Neith can feel quite robotic at times and Ao Kuang just doesn't melt into his movement as smoothly as others. In time, these will be updated, no doubt, but it’s a bit jarring to go from a fantastically crafted Ullr to a jarring Arachne.
It seems like a lot of time has gone into getting the sounds and soundtracks right for Smite. When battling in the Arena, the sounds of the crowd egging you on and the triumphant music blares through your speakers as you’re getting close to the end of a match. Everything down to the voices for the Gods is damn-near perfect. Purchasing the previously mentioned voice packs really gives you a feeling of personality to each individual God and brings them to life that little bit more.
With more than a million players worldwide, Smite is gaining a lot of momentum from its community and, whilst it’s not strictly part of the game and thus, won’t be tallied in the final score, the community is an essential part to a game such as this. Throughout the beta period, the fans have constantly fed back into the developers and, if it wasn't for them, it wouldn't be the game it is today.
Overall, Smite adds a welcome twist to the MOBA formula and, with constant updates and tweaks made with the help of the community, doesn't look like it will be fizzling out anytime soon! If you've ever wanted to know what it would be like to throw Thor’s hammer into Poseidon’s face, look no further than Smite: Battleground of the Gods. VVGL. VVGF.
SMITE (Reviewed on Windows)
Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?
Smite adds a welcome twist to the MOBA formula and, with constant updates and tweaks made with the help of the community, doesn't look like it will be fizzling out anytime soon! If you've ever wanted to know what it would be like to throw Thor’s hammer into Poseidon’s face, look no further than Smite: Battleground of the Gods.