Most MOBA titles follow the same formula – whether you’re guiding a team of heroes, monsters or soldiers, you’re still watching the battle from a top-down perspective, controlling your mortal minions from the heavens like an all-seeing, all-powerful god. But SMITE, in which you literally are a god, isn’t like most MOBA titles. Developer High-Rez Studios has given players the chance to play in third-person, controlling one of 50+ gods or goddesses sourced from the entire pantheon of religion and mythology. In SMITE, you don’t just control the action, you’re part of it. But is a change of perspective enough the breath new life into a stale genre? That’s the question posed to TVGB’s Kristen Spencer, Noe Ponce and Robert Price in this Team Review of SMITE.
Kristen Spencer: Even though SMITE is my first taste of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre, I think that developer High-Rez Studios’ tasty blend of mythology, strategy and immortal-inflicted brutality will be a hard dish to beat. Normally, I don’t enjoy non-narrative driven titles, but with its ever-expanding roster of gods and goddesses – Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Chinese, Hindu and Mayan are all represented – you still get some story, even if you have to Google it yourself. The blushing MOBA-virgin that I am, I liked that the character builder allowed me to auto-buy items and auto-level abilities as I played, a feature you can turn off once you become more comfortable with the nuances of play. Combine that with the third-person perspective and WASD controls and you have a great gateway game for FPS fans looking for a lane-pushing, tower-pummeling change of pace. This makes it feel more like an action RPG, bringing a visceral feeling to all the game modes. If I’m punching a god in the face, I want to see their face. SMITE gets that. One thing I didn’t like, and this is true of all “free to play” games, is all the micro-transactions. But High-Rez does at least offer a pass that gives you access to all current gods and all future gods as they’re released, meaning you can basically “buy” the game. Just don’t get sucked into the black hole that is buying different character skins. Or do. I’m not one to judge as I immediately dumped 400 gems on changing names, going from my usual handle to something more heavy metal album cover-esque. Every little advantage helps when you’re going up against gods. [9.0]
Noe Ponce: SMITE is the latest and greatest MOBA on the internet. You play as gods, deities, immortals, monsters and myths from all sorts of religions, folklore and mythology from around the world. Not only are the characters unique, but so is the point of view. No longer are you looking topside at your champion of choice. Smite plays completely in third-person view. This different perspective gives SMITE unique gameplay choices that other MOBAs cannot have. SMITE also offers a large variety in terms of maps and game types. Currently there are five game modes to choose from: Conquest, Joust, Arena, Assault and a unique custom game that changes every day. Additionally, SMITE is very noob friendly which I approve of. Players are able to go in to practice mode and try out any god for free. They can also rent gods they don’t own for matches using in-game currency. But that’s not all. Hi-Rez also gives players the ultimate purchase option. For only $30, gamers can unlock all gods and all FUTURE gods. You’re essentially buying the game but trust me, it is totally worth it. The only drawback I can think of is that SMITE has a rather high learning curve if you are not used to other MOBAs, such as DotA and LoL. It’s hard to get adjust even if you are. Fresh out of beta and with a bright future ahead of it, SMITE is definitely your next MOBA. [9.5]
Robert Price: After spending quite a bit of time and money on other MOBA titles such as League of Legends and DoTA 2, I was somewhat nervous when approached with the opportunity to try out the recently out of beta SMITE. This title has been in beta for quite some time and has had a huge following, a following that I just didn’t understand until I played it. The game is absolutely beautiful in so many ways, starting with the third-person over-the-shoulder view that SMITE uses. The game goes on to have a very impressive and stable business model as players can purchase individual gods or a package that contains all current and future Gods for $30 USD. Speaking of Gods, the game has a wide variety of them based around religions, mythology, and more from all over the world. The game has multiple ways to help newcomers, both to the MOBA genre and to SMITE itself. Players can opt for auto-skill leveling and auto-purchasing so they can focus on the mechanics of the game and figuring out strategies for each god. SMITE contains a selection of different game modes which range from all-out 5v5 PVP to Conquest (which is very similar to the standard for League of Legends and DoTA). Hi-Rez Studios has made me a huge fan with SMITE‘s stable lobbies, great community, amazing business model, and variety of modes. This game has creating a new addiction with me and I don’t regret it one single bit. If you have wanted to join the MOBA genre or want a new take on it, SMITE is what you have been looking for. [9.0]
SMITE is the perfect introduction to the tower siege genre – there’s no cost to start playing, the third-person perspective is FPS fan friendly, and there are no mechanics that put new players at a disadvantage. Whereas some titles charge for upgrades, meaning those with cash to burn are able to steamroll the fiscally frugal, the only things you can purchase with real money in SMITE are new gods, cosmetic skins and voice packs. Some gods and skins can even be purchased not with gems but with Favor, which you’re constantly accruing by playing matches. When it comes to actual gameplay, you’ll get better not by buying your way to the top but by playing. That being said, SMITE is still a MOBA at its core. There are still the typical staples of tower destroying, game laning, and a rather daunting user interface filled with stats and icons. But to those trappings High-Rez has added a wide variety of characters, playlists, unlockables, maps and modes that, along with the unique third-person perspective, make every match feel fresh and exciting. If you play MOBAs, this is the MOBA to play. And the sooner you sign up the better, before all the good Valkyrie names are gone.