For the past couple of weeks I have jumped in and out of the closed beta for Hi-Rez Studios‘ highly anticipated MOBA, SMITE. SMITE is an amazing addition to this popular gaming genre, that also gives it an interesting twist.
For those of you who aren’t that familiar with a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), the point of SMITE is to attack and defend three lanes that connect your base to your enemy’s base. These lanes are guarded by two towers on each side that guard the way into the base, and after you destroy those towers, the base is then guarded by a phoenix. After you defeat that, you will need to destroy the enemy base’s minotaur to win the game.
Prior to playing SMITE, I had started playing League of Legends about two months before, to try to get the idea of what SMITE would be like; and I’ve got to say, I was wonderfully surprised at how different it was.
SMITE still has all the basic game play ideas of a classic MOBA, but I think the thing that separates it from all the others is that while in games such as League of legends where you have an overhead view of your character and the field, in SMITE your camera is a short distance behind your character (third person detached). Another difference is that instead of clicking to move places, you have to use your WASD keys to move your character around and your left click is to use your basic attack.
Although it felt a little strange at first, it actually made the gameplay more intense – especially when jumping into fights against other gods. Currently, my favorite gods to play are Ra and Ymir. I love Ra’s devastating attacks and healing abilities, which can finish opponents quickly and heal my allies in the thick of a fight; but I also love Ymir’s abilities to slow down and even just literally stop his enemies dead in their tracks. More than once I saved my allies from certain death by throwing up a wall between them and the other players in the paths of the jungle.
One thing I want to make sure to mention is that this game looks great. One of my favorite highlights in this game is just how each of the Gods looks. Hi-Rez did a really swell job on making each god and goddess highly detailed to portray the gods they’re based on to be as accurate and true to their themes as possible. The only thing I didn’t like too much, was the environment. It seemed a little too “blobby” to me. While some of the textures were nice, some things – like trees and bushes – were more round than I expected them to be. Hopefully it’s a Beta issue, and will be addressed before release.
The main pièce de résistance (piece of resistance to all you non-French speaking readers) is that it’s seems “new player friendly”. Players have the option before, and during, the game to turn on/off auto leveling and auto item buying. What that is, is when you level, the game automatically levels up an ability for you, and when you are at your base, the game will also automatically buy items for your character that your character would use.
The best thing personally, was the “Solo Practice Play” which that pit me one on one against a bot in a one lane game. I had fun with this because it let me try out Gods and get some practice with them before jumping out into a real match.
Overall, I’m really having a blast with the game so far, and I’m hoping that other players that are in the beta are enjoying it as much as I am. Players can get in on the closed beta now if they pre-order the game for $20. Players will also unlock all the gods minus Sobek and Arachne. So, if you’re looking for something a little different from your classic MOBA experience, or have just been searching for something to entertain you over the summer, then I would highly suggest you give SMITE a spin.