PC, Xbox One
SMITE is the online battleground of the gods. Players choose from a diverse cast of deities and use their unique powers to triumph over the opposition in 5v5 team matches. SMITE is a new take on the MOBA genre; rather than observing from above the action, the game's third person perspective puts players into the thick of combat.
I used to think that I wasn’t a big MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) fan. I tried DOTA ages back and took a brief look at League of Legends but I just couldn’t get into either. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm and enjoy it due to its simplicity. When I heard that SMITE, first released on PC in March 2014, was being released on the Xbox One, I took a look at it on the PC. Recently SMITE entered an Alpha phase on the Xbox One and we were able to get a few codes (more on that later) and have some Smite Xbox One first impressions.
In SMITE, you take control of one of 60+ gods from seven different backgrounds including Greek, Roman, Hindu, Chinese, Mayan, Norse, and Egyptian mythology. As is typical with MOBAs, two teams of 3 to 5 players face off against each other in 6 different game modes. Each player chooses a unique god to control, with four unique spells and abilities based on the background and lore of the deity. At the beginning of the match, each player is given 1500 gold to buy a few starting items including healing and mana potions, speed boosts, items that grant damage bonuses, and so on.
The goal of the game is to take out C36R9 the other team’s Titan by first taking out the opposing Tower near the middle of the map, and a Phoenix in front of the opposing base. Players gain experience and level up during the match which gives them access to all their spells and abilities, as well as levelling them up to make them more lethal. Gold is also earned during the match and at any time players can return to their base and visit the store to buy new, or upgrade existing, items which will help during the match.
The unique thing about SMITE over other MOBAs is the fact that it is played in the third-person view as opposed to the isometric view that is traditionally used. In some ways, this makes the player feel more like he/she is in the middle of combat as opposed to controlling a character from above. Being used to Heroes, I wasn’t sure how I’d adapt to a third-person view MOBA but I rather quite like the refreshing viewpoint, and it does add a bit more mystery to the game as you can’t scroll over the map to see what’s happening in other areas and must really rely on the mini-map for minion and teammates positioning.
Hi-Rez Studios has done a great job of translating the controls from PC to Xbox One. Movement of course is done using your left thumbstick, and adjusting range of your spells by your right. The D-Pad lets you see your god’s abilities, visit the store, and return to your home base. The four buttons – X, Y, A, & B – are used to unleash your spells/abilities, while holding your Left Trigger and X, Y, A, or B to consume a health or mana potion, or to use an item you purchase from the store for a speed or other boost. It didn’t take that long to get used to the control layout and in some ways I actually prefer it to the keyboard layout – not to mention SMITE looks great on a 106″ screen. The graphics in the Xbox One version of SMITE look great and run smooth without any hiccups or stuttering.
When you launch the Alpha version, you are (of course) presented with a warning that there may be issues and the game may not even work, but I didn’t experience any issues during the time I’ve played it so far. Hi-Rez is off to a good start with the Alpha, and the third person view is a welcome change over your typical MOBAs. While there are items to buy, the action is quick and the items make for some interesting boosts without getting overly complicated. I can’t wait for the full version to launch to start earning more favour and gems to unlock other gods to wreck havoc on my foes.
UPDATE (3/27/2015 12:30PT): Giveaway is now closed! Thanks to all who entered and shared their choice of gods to play! And the winners are… James (who chose Loki), James Deiwart (Zeus), Aiden R (Zeus), and Gabriel Flashfax (Fenrir). Congrats, and check your inboxes shortly – have a great weekend playing SMITE! For those that didn’t win, you can still hit up the Hi-Rez site and sign up for Beta access.
Now on to why most of you are probably here – the giveaway! Hi-Rez Studios was kind enough to toss a few SMITE Xbox One Alpha codes our way – four in fact. These codes are good for not only the Alpha, but will also carry over to the Beta (you can sign up on the Hi-Rez site for Beta access) which is set to launch some time in April. We’re not going to make this too hard for you, but if you’ve never played SMITE then you might have to do a bit of research. In order to be eligible to enter the giveaway, leave a comment below on this article (not on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter) and let us know which god you’re looking forward to playing in SMITE and why. We’ll make the draw on Friday, March 27th at noon PT and let the winners know via email – so make sure you use a legitimate email (don’t worry, no one can see it except us) when you comment.
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