Smite Open Beta Review

Ye gods!

by

GameSpot's open beta reviews evaluate unfinished games that are nonetheless available to the public. While the games in question are not considered finished by their creators, you may still devote time and bandwidth for the privilege of playing them before they are complete. The review below critiques a work in progress, and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review's publication.

Ever wanted to feel like a god? Omnipotence is a lovely thing, after all. Even lesser deities like Dionysus seem to make life a party. Hi-Rez Studios' Smite, currently in open beta, offers you the opportunity to control a god in an online battle arena to which you've added your own twists.

Although more known for its work on Global Agenda and Tribes: Ascend, Hi-Rez has brought the high skill cap competitive focus to the multiplayer online battle arena genre, shifting out of the top-down real-time strategy view that birthed the genre and giving you more personalized direct control over your character with an over-the-shoulder camera. Smite's gameplay is robust enough to stand on its own already, despite still being in beta. Its game modes mimic the titans of the genre, including a Conquest mode that's reliant on farming minions for items in order to destroy the enemy base, and a single-lane Assault variant where all five players per team are assigned a random god to control. Various other flavorful game modes cycle through on a daily basis, whether it be "all death god" teams or an Egyptian-only Domination mode.

Regardless of which pantheon of gods most appeals to you, you'll find a deity that best captures your imagination: Smite offers divinities both common, like the Greek god Zeus and the Norse god Odin, and obscure, like the Mayan god of bees, Ah Muzen Cab. Hindu and Chinese gods find their place among the roster as well. If you come just to sate your competitive hunger, Smite will satisfy you, while occasionally leading to familiar frustration over teammates' less-than-stellar performances costing the win.

Of course, MOBA critics who denounce the lack of mechanical skill requirements in the game can put their uber-elite skill claims to the test, since even the basic attacks of heroes must be aimed in Smite. This lone change to the nigh-formulaic production of the games treading in Dota's wake shakes up the gameplay enough to feel substantially different. The purchased items and their in-game effects read almost as direct rip-offs of those created for League of Legends (which weren't wholly original themselves), but still spice up the action, and the game's WASD control system leaves open the ability for items to affect your movements in specific directions, such as the fatalis, to make ranged carries kiting feel all the more fluid in practice.

The UI, both in and out of matches, is Smite's Achilles' heel; it's unintuitive at its best and cumbersome at its worst. Clicking on the "Store" button in the main menu doesn't take you to a list of every item available for purchase, but rather to a point to buy the in-game gems currency to spend elsewhere. Learning new characters involves either attempting to read the intrusive skill window, which covers up your entire screen, or holding Alt to gain a cursor to hover over your skill bar at the bottom of the screen, which limits your ability to control your character. If you're going to learn new characters, it's best to read their abilities on a website or in the main menu before deciding to play them in-game.

The game itself is and will remain free-to-play, so if you enjoy competitive games, there's little reason not to at least give the game a try, and the single-character locked style may suit your tastes better than the more isometric games that saturate the genre. Smite knows what it is, and it goes all out to make sure you know it, too.

What's There?

An enjoyable online arena with a roster of 48 gods to choose from and a well-established core set of multiplayer game variants.

What's to Come?The pantheon is ever expanding to include new gods roughly once a month.
What Does it Cost?

Smite is free-to-play, although you can increase your personal unlocked pantheon or give your gods a makeover by purchasing gems to unlock the gods or skins for them.

When Will it be Finished?

Smite's official release date is currently set to be March 25, 2014.

What's the Verdict?

Smite already feels like a complete game, with features and gameplay that can rival the big brothers of the genre. Grab some friends and try it.

Discussion

15 comments
yearssomuch
yearssomuch

Finally, GameSpot covers SMITE. I can't say enough good things about this game, it's well balanced and very fun. I like MOBA's, but I've always been awful at RTS games, or any game that involves you controlling a camera and a character at the same time. The simple change to a third-person perspective alone makes for a far more exciting experience, in my opinion.

Not to mention the developers aren't greedy with their prices, at all. I've been playing this for a little over a year and it's only gotten better, so give it a shot sometime. Just don't feed, please? :)

smitecamp
smitecamp

Hi guys, glad to see Smite getting more mainstream attention! If you'd like hop on to SmiteCamp.com and checkout what the God models look like using our skin viewer, you can even see the spells in action with our videos. Also be sure to visit the official subreddit: /r/smite - Cheers!

soft_spoken
soft_spoken

"Clicking on the "Store" button in the main menu doesn't take you to a list of every item available for purchase, but rather to a point to buy the in-game gems currency to spend elsewhere." - this is correct, the Gem Store button takes you to the Gem store. On the other hand, if you wish to look at all the purchasable items there is a God Builder interface that lets you equip any item on any god at any level to see how it effects their stats. You can even create and save templates for auto-buys.


As for reading your skill descriptions in the middle of combat, what can I say? Please don't. There's a God page in the lobby you can read while waiting for a match that gives you information on all the skills and since this is a skill based game you are encouraged to try a God out in one of the various Practice Modes available before taking them into an actual game that has consequences and other people who rely on you.

Caubex
Caubex

Smite is thoroughly enjoyable compared to Dota and LoL. There's still a high level of skill required, but it isn't as frustrating as those games. It's way more accessible, yet still really deep.

KnocturnalGS
KnocturnalGS

Smite is an amazing Moba. Based on it's skill shot focused mechanics, and 3rd person view, it requires different skill sets than LoL for example. I have been playing the Beta for over a year now, it has a lot of potential. However, with the latest patches I have had several problems with the client. Some that are game breaking, having the client crash while your in a League (ranked) match lobby, thus giving you a leave + loss, which also means drop in ELO. I cannot speak for everyone but I have had several problems with the client, lobby chat not being added to tab, not being able to ban a god, etc... Another negative point is the match making system, if you are a good player, you will often find yourself with players unequal to you, of which I've see two things happen, either your the type of player who can filter out the bs and pull through carrying your team, or get overwhelmed by all the negative stuff your team will bring into the match. Also, as a gold player I have found myself playing with more silver and bronze players than gold itself, which just defeats the purpose of having brackets, Aside from the client problems I have experienced lately, and what I see as a mediocre player ranking system, the game offers much, and truly enjoyable PvP.

gufberg
gufberg

I'm glad Gamespot is now judging games that are available in a non-finalized state. Beta should not be a refuge from judgement. 

Codesterz
Codesterz

Very fun game if you ask me. Been playing if for almost a year now. Haven't spent a penny on it and have over half of the gods. If you found the top down style of League of Legends or Dota2 not enjoyable then I recommend giving this game a shot. I had a friend who could not get into either one of those games but after playing this game for a few weeks he got completely hooked.

PJthePlayer2
PJthePlayer2

I honestly don't care if this is the best game ever (any by the looks of it, no thanks anyway) after the way Hi-Rez just dumped Tribes Ascend.  Until they bring support back to that game I will not waste my time with any of their future titles. 

Craminum
Craminum

This isnt DOTA, the rules of objectives are similar but that's about it. The amount of people I've seen join the game over the past 19 months whom, after a few games start saying "man this is so different from LoL or Dota" is un-surprisingly high. 

This game is easy to pick up and the community have made numerous videos giving guides on how to adopt roles of different characters and varying playstyles which I think is a great bonus. This is all accessible in game too.


If you're not much for point and click (topdown style) then this game is for you, whether you consider yourself a casual or pro gamer this will give you a satisfying challenge and a rewarding experience.

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

Wouldn't some other word than "Review" go better with this?

I mean its not inaccurate but its such a loaded term.

yearssomuch
yearssomuch

@PJthePlayer2 SMITE has had tremendous support, constant updates for as long as I've been playing, which has been at least a year at this point.

phoexyael16
phoexyael16

@Bregzeinkul  nah.. imma stick with my SMITE. Being the only 3rd person MOBA. It stands out from the other like Dota, LoL, HoN...And I Have played all of them. I like SMITE way more than these.