SMITE is the first Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) to hit the console, making its debut on Xbox One sometime in the future. While it’s currently still in closed beta, the good folks at Hi Rez studios gave us a beta key so that we could preview the game. Here are my impressions on what I’ve played so far.
If you’re unfamiliar with MOBAs, here’s a quick rundown. A typical MOBA match pits two teams of 5 human players against each other in a battle to destroy the other team’s key structure. In SMITE, this structure is a Titan. The standard MOBA map consists of three lanes with a jungle connecting each lane together. After the warmup period is over, mobs of AI (called creeps) spawn and start travelling down their designated lanes. Players earn gold and experience points for dispatching creeps while trying to push their lane and take out enemy towers while they work their way towards the enemy base.
SMITE’s roster of heroes consists of various mythological gods and creatures, ranging from Osiris to Medusa, and each God has different powers and serves a different role. One thing that I found a little disappointing is that, during the basic tutorial, it doesn’t explain the function of each role. I can assume that a God with the Assassin role is best against other Gods, whereas a Guardian role is better at defence, but I feel that the game should have done a better job at letting the player know what the role of their chosen God is supposed to be.
SMITE has a nice selection of game modes, ranging from the classic 3 lane 5v5 setup to an arena with no AI creeps, just an all-out brawl between the Gods. This was something that I really enjoyed; I have tried a few other MOBAs in the past and I found the lack of diversity to be a turn off.
Unlike most other MOBAs, SMITE is played in third person, which changes things up bit. For one, if you play as a ranged character it means that you’re not guaranteed to hit your target every time – you actually have to aim at or in front of the enemy, depending on the situation. It also means that it’s more difficult getting hits with your skills, and it also means you have to be more aware of your surroundings, as you can only see what’s in front of you.
From my time in the beta, I found that the game ran pretty smoothly, the only technical issue (if you can call it that) being lag, as there are no Australian servers. It wasn’t a massive deal, but it did cause some of the people I was playing with to occasionally drop out, and a player dropping out in SMITE gives the opposing team a massive advantage.
If you’re a fan of MOBAs and have been waiting for one to come to console, or if you’re not a PC gamer and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, then keep your eye out for SMITE’s full release on Xbox One in the near future.