SMITE – Xbox One Beta Report
So here we are, the first major MOBA to try and make a move into console territory. There have been some smaller attempts but this is the first of the big boys to take a shot. I am of course talking about SMITE, the third person MOBA that focuses on gods from various different mythologies and religions and puts them all into a battle royal for our entertainment. MOBA’s are generally viewed from an isometric angle but the 3rd person perspective as well as controller support on the PC version has allowed the game to transfer to the Xbox One almost flawlessly.
At present the game is in open beta but things are already looking very polished. The graphics, while nothing special, certainly have a lot of character and each of the many many (over 60 at the time of writing) gods available look and feel unique. Perhaps the biggest problem with having this many selectable fighters though is the issue of balance. After playing for a few hours it is easy to see how people could be put off by perceived imbalances in the characters. It is very easy to get dominated by certain gods, especially if your chosen god is a support/ranged character. Finding the right mix of classes in your team alleviates this quite a bit but that is not always the easiest thing to do in matchmaking.
For those that have little experience in MOBA’s the goal of the game is quite simple. Two opposing teams try to destroy each other’s defences and finally main base. How this is achieved however is anything but. Players must carefully use minions to creep ever closer to each defence emplacement retreating on a regular basis to regain health. This means there is a lot of toing and froing between the teams as they compete for victory. SMITE however adds some different game modes that mix things up a little. Perhaps the most entertaining is arena which is something of a cross between Team Deathmatch and a traditional MOBA game.
SMITE has a fairly steep learning curve but possibly not quite as bad as LoL or DOTA. The game does a decent job of instructing you on the basics but there is a lot of things it isn’t telling you. It pays to play some co-op versus AI matches with each character to get a grip on their abilities and powers before you delve into VS modes and proceed to get your butt whipped. Unfortunately Versus AI games don’t reward players with any experience so they will need to venture into competitive if they wish to unlock the various skins, currencies and bonuses on offer. Speaking of unlocks the free to play model seems remarkably fair with the ability to earn new heroes by playing the game or spending real world money. SMITE also has a healthy god rotation as well so there is always going to be plenty of choice for people even if they never spend a cent.
That SMITE is a quality MOBA is not in doubt. While not as new player friendly as Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm, it is certainly more welcoming than League of Legends and DOTA2. The game has an exciting theme (especially for those with a fetish for ancient mythology) and some quality gameplay. That some imbalances exist is hardly surprising considering the amount of characters available but as time goes on these are likely to be rectified. If you are looking to get into the MOBA scene then SMITE is a pretty good place to start. Also it should be noted that SMITE comes with Australian servers from the get go so there is no blaming lag for cheap deaths.
Stay tuned to Player2 for a full review of SMITE when the game hits version 1.0 but in the meantime you can play the game on Xbox One during the open beta.
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