Smite – PC
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Release Date: (NA) March 25th, 2014
Genre: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10!
Before I start my review of Hi-Rez Studios’ MOBA SMITE, I want to say that I am not a MOBA player. I tried a bunch of MOBAs including DoTA 2 and League of Legends, and they just simply aren’t for me. With that being said, I am reviewing SMITE from the perspective of just the average gamer, as opposed to a MOBA-specific gamer. I feel it’s possible and justified to do this as SMITE breaks many traditional rules of the MOBA genre, and it doesn’t play much like a MOBA besides the core objectives and functions.
One of the first things a MOBA player will notice about SMITE is most likely that the game is in the third-person perspective, as opposed to the top down perspective of the common MOBA. This makes quite the major difference in regards to gameplay, as it opens up the possibilities of sneaking up on another player and it makes it so you are blind to the enemies behind you when retreating. SMITE also differentiates itself by having the player control their character with the WASD keys as opposed to clicking on the map. This combination of differences, at times, gives SMITE the feel of an action game as opposed to a MOBA feeling. However, I am not saying that SMITE never feels like a MOBA, as retreating, foresting, and team tactics are still a major part of the game experience. The combination of WASD keys and a third-person perspective also gives birth to player-controlled aiming instead of the normal auto-lock aiming. This adds quite a necessity of skill to SMITE in order to succeed at the game.
Each time you kill someone, you receive gold to spend on items that last only for that round that perform a variety of things from giving you increased stats to giving you a passive ability. The shop in which you spend this gold is very simple to use, as the developers took time and effort to make it so. If you are new to the game or simply don’t understand the whole shop system, you can set the game to auto-buy which will buy the recommended items for your character whenever you have enough gold to get it. You can do this also with leveling up, which again only lasts until the round is over. Experienced players can also change the items that it auto-buys for you if they don’t feel like visiting the shop in-game.
One of my favorite aspects of SMITE is the theme, which is religion and mythology of the ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, Norse, Egyptian, Mayan, and Hindu cultures. Theming the game on gods was a very smart move in my opinion, as the lore is already written for the developers and they just have to create the gods and the gods’ powers based on their interpretation. The idea of the gods battling is also very interesting and enjoyable. I love the visual and behavioral references to the lore of the gods, as well as being introduced to many gods I have never even heard of. They’ve even inspired me to Google some of the gods to learn about them as I have always found the different religions, primarily Greek and Roman, fascinating.
SMITE makes streaming very easy for YouTubers and Twitch.tv users as it allows in-game twitch streaming. I really appreciate when developers go that extra step for the content-creating community, as there are many developers out there who are actually anti-YouTube and anti-Twitch.tv (Don’t even get me started on Fez developer Phil Fish). As a small YouTuber myself, I fear for the content creating community that anti-YouTube and anti-twitch.tv developers could possibly ruin the career option. Google has already begun to do this by implementing their new content claim ID system. To my surprise, SMITE even goes as far as rewarding you for streaming by giving you Twitch.tv skins for certain gods and favor, which is a currency used to buy gods and skins. SMITE also advertises streamers by allowing players to watch SMITE streamers from inside the game itself. While on the topic of watching videos, SMITE is very friendly to new players in the sense that it has tutorials for each game mode and god right in the game itself as well.
SMITE is free-to-play, and relies on micro-transactions to generate revenue. While I generally frown at micro-transactions, I am glad to be able to say, “SMITE is not pay-to-win.” In SMITE, there are two different currencies, gems and favor. Favor is the currency that can be earned by playing, while gems is the currency that must be bought. Thankfully, every single playable god is obtainable with either currency. Gems are mainly used for cosmetics, but some skins can be bought with favor. Gems can also be used to change your in-game name, buy ward skins, and buy voice packs for your gods.
Another thing SMITE does well is its god rotation. The god rotation is basically a rotation of five free-to-try gods that change on a monthly basis, and this allows players to test out gods before wasting money on them. My favorite gods were discovered through god rotation, so now I know who to focus my favor on when I get enough. I’m even considering the ultimate god pack which allows you to buy all current and future gods for thirty dollars. An awesome thing about this god pack is that if you’ve already spent favor or gems on gods, it will refund you those since you will be re-buying them in this pack. The one reason I am scared to put money into SMITE is because of Hi-Rez Studios’ history as a game development company. Hi-Rez Studios tends to work on a lot of games once, and they seem to abandon the last game upon releasing the next game. So what happens when they release a game after SMITE?
I would also like to talk about the controversy that happened involving SMITE and a few religious leaders, primarily Rajan Zed, president of the Universal Society of Hindus. These leaders were angered by the fact that their gods were playable characters (thankfully SMITE kept them in the game anyway). These religious leaders were also angry that their gods were depicted under-dressed. WAIT, WHAT? These people were angry that their gods (the same ones depicted completely nude in statues and religious art) had minimal clothes on? Hi-Rez Studios did decide to change some of the clothing of the gods, which is quite frankly a move I wish they didn’t do. I don’t really care what the gods are wearing, however, I do care that the developers gave into ignorant complaints. I feel that by changing the clothes, not only did Hi-Rez Studios take some of the realistic lore out of the game, but also basically broadcasted that they can be bullied into changing things.
My main complaint, which is rather small, is the skins of SMITE. I’m not in any way against the characters having skins, however, I wish Hi-Rez Studios kept the skins realistic and lore-friendly. From Neith’s very sexual nurse skin, to Bacchus’ Santa skin, I find them very unfriendly to the lore, and I prefer that religious leaders complain about them rather than the realistic parts of the game. This is a very small complaint however, and it’s mostly just personal preference.
SMITE is quite a fun and addicting MOBA game, and I highly recommend it to people who are and aren’t fans of the genre. As previously stated, I do not like the genre, but if more MOBAs follow SMITE’s lead, I may get into them more. The setting and lore of the game is interesting, and the characters are designed beautifully. While I truly dislike much of the skins, it’s a very small complaint to a game with many positive things about it. You can download SMITE here. Do you agree on my views of Hi-Rez Studios’ SMITE?
Share This Post