Review

Smite Review

  • Game release: March 25, 2014
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

I'm smitten.

Since the dawn of civilization, humankind has told stories of the gods above. Whether they were tales of Zeus gallivanting about behind Hera's back or the Norse gods preparing for Ragnarok, one truth held constant: the gods had powers not accessible to mere mortals. Smite seeks to change that.

In Smite, you take control of a god of your choosing from a multitude of world mythologies in a match-based multiplayer online battle arena. Unlike in similar games in the genre, you aren't an all-seeing eye watching the battle from overhead and micromanaging a single unit or small army from above. You control only one god. You see only what that god sees. You are that god.

Such a small change in theory opens up an entirely new gameplay experience in an otherwise stale genre filled with copycats and bandwagoners. You don't play the game with your eyes locked on a mini-map, focusing on the gameplay itself only when an enemy gets frisky. You focus on what's directly ahead of you. As the eerie feeling you're no longer alone creeps up your spine, you quickly glance to other entrances to your lane, hoping to find your paranoia misguided, before you return to attempting to chip away at the enemy god's health to set up for a display of divine power.

You must protect your portal from enemy minions in Arena to slow the bleed of attrition.

The concept of Smite isn't much different from that of League of Legends; in Conquest mode, your goal is to destroy the enemy's towers to make a path to its minotaur. You choose any or all of the three lanes to push your army of minions into the enemy's base. Your god levels up over the course of the battle, gaining access to his or her full array of skills, which help to battle the enemy's team of gods. You earn gold for being near minions as they die, and a bonus is granted for delivering the killing blow. There is no ability to deny your own minions as in Dota 2, but forcing enemy gods away from the clashing minions starves them of their gold income. Gold is spent on items, and many of the items bear striking similarities to the items from other MOBAs. But if it ain't broke...

The difference is in the delivery, and thanks to Smite's WASD controls as opposed to the more real-time strategy feel of other MOBAs, items are free to have effects, such as allowing you to attack while on the move without slowing down. Playing a marksman yields a more visceral experience as you kite back without relying on either AI or rapid mouse movement for your target selection, instead focusing fire precisely on your pursuer until it's time to turn tail and flee.

Geb smash!

Conquest isn't Smite's only available mode. Players not attracted to the crawl of early-game laning will find the deathmatch-oriented Arena mode strong enough to stand on its own legs. Two teams of gods are dropped into a coliseum setting with a crowd cheering or jeering as the attrition tug-of-war scoring pulls in either direction. The stadium crowd even claps familiar sports cheers as it observes the deific skirmish. This mode offers short games of nonstop action with plenty of thriller comebacks and close calls that get your heart racing until the final moment. If the Arena's chaos isn't enough, the genre staple All Random, All Mid makes an appearance under the name Assault, guaranteeing a unique experience in every game with its random selection.

Developer Hi-Rez knows that variety is the spice of life and ensures such is available in Smite with a cycling mode of the day, featuring focused game types with a specific selection of thematic gods, such as the Assault variant Wet and Wild with only Poseidon and He Bo as selectable gods, or Egyptian Roulette, which grants you a random Egyptian god on a Domination-type map with three control points over which you must battle for control. With a grand total of 55 different daily playlists to choose from, and Saturday's choice put to community vote, the game lets you escape the potential redundancy of the default modes in a fantastic manner.

Every god has post-game victory and defeat celebrations that shows how much detail was put into the game.

Game modes aren't the only examples of variety in Smite. Hi-Rez left no cairn stone unturned when selecting the deities to use in the game. The core Greek, Norse, and Egyptian gods are present, but alongside them come Chinese legends Sun Wukong and Ao Kuang, Hindu gods, and even the obscure Mayan god of bees, Ah Muzen Cab, and the howler monkey god, Hun Batz. The gods are fairly balanced in the five archetypical roles of hunter, guardian, assassin, warrior, and mage, although the mage carries a larger champion pool than the rest. Warriors and hunters deal physical damage, while the other three deal magical damage. Players who wish to experiment with hybrid item builds or attempt to play a mage as a hunter will be a bit disappointed to find the attack damage items missing from a mage's shop and similarly for hunters and (magical) power items. While the lack of innovation in item builds may be a bit of a downer, its offset by the reduction in potential item builds with the intention to troll.

Smite is free-to-play and supports itself through microtransactions, which may be used to unlock gods more quickly or to give your god a different appearance in battle. Smite offers a package of all the game's gods, present and upcoming, for a very attractive $30; most rival games offer an incomplete bundle of champions for a similar price, giving Smite the edge when it comes to value for your money. Many skins in Smite are also available to purchase through the earned-through-play currency, rewarding you for your loyalty even if you choose to play the game entirely for free.

With just a few changes to what other games have delivered before, Smite manages to feel like a brand-new game.

Furthering the comparison of Smite's platform to other MOBAs, Smite strays from the account progression mechanics that affect in-game powers such as runes and masteries from League of Legends. While your account does earn a level from 1 to 30, the only direct effect it has on gameplay is unlocking the game's ranked league play once you reach level 30. Summoner spells from League of Legends are also a no-show in Smite, with Smite instead electing to tie such powerful abilities to in-game purchased active items, which can be further upgraded with gold investment as opposed to furthering your core item build. Devoting time to one god at a time earns you worshippers, who serve no purpose other than to display a mastery level. This cosmetic ranking allows you a bit of self-satisfaction as the loading screen for each match shows how many mastery levels you've earned with both your account and the god you've chosen for the particular match.

Smite is a godsend for the MOBA genre, with the heart of its gameplay proving that innovation to the war plan for tower siege games is possible. With just a few changes to what other games have delivered before, Smite manages to feel like a brand-new game. There's no cost to join, and no mechanics that directly make players who have been around longer better at the game, making it easy to get into. Once in, it's hard to keep yourself from following a new god: Smite.

The Good
Brings familiar MOBA gameplay with a brand-new facelift
Account progression doesn't affect in-game power
Expansive variety of gameplay variants keep the game fresh
Ever-expanding cast of gods
The Bad
Limited room for innovation in character builds
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Tyler Hicks utters the word MOBA so often that he has been mistaken for a new Pokemon species. Although his roots in the genre are firmly with League of Legends, he mastered seven gods and reached level 14 in Smite in order to provide this review.

Discussion

94 comments
sadface1234
sadface1234

Game is amazing I am addicted, thanks GS for the free play friday to show it to me! 

wuabel
wuabel

Love the game! Thanks GS for bringing this game to my attention. The control and first person point of view makes this game refreshing and fun. 

Evil_Saluki
Evil_Saluki

Every since I  hated Warcraft III years ago I completely locked myself out of these types of games. It's branched off in a totally different direction to where I'm at

Zambash
Zambash

Anyone complaining about the score, STFU.  It's a REVIEW.  That implies that it is one person's OPINION.  Whining about the score on a REVIEW of something is one of the more stupid things I can think of.  Also why comment that "HERP DERP ITS JUST ANOTHER MOBA DERPY DERP DERP."  If you don't like MOBAs then why are you even looking at this review?

Aaleyada
Aaleyada

Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. Roping their deities in with various mythologies is a little tasteless. 

Stardust7
Stardust7

Moba sucks ...This game genre needs to die :)

Caldrin
Caldrin

Not a fan on moba games uaually the bore the hell out of me.. but for some reason I really enjoy this one..


I think an 8 is about spot on really.. as I think they could have done a bit more with the combat system. sure its a nice 3d enviroment but still all done in a 2d plane..

ESB
ESB

Quit being lazy, give us a video review!

Mellowcow
Mellowcow

Items in this game seem more like a distraction to me. I'd rather see them removed entirely to focus on the gameplay or make them a valuable part of the experience.

"You don't play the game with your eyes locked on a mini-map" Oh, but you should. ;)

Edurado
Edurado

Only 8? This game deserves 9 like Dota 2 and LoL. Is a complete diferent experience.

poopinpat
poopinpat

It would be great if they could innovate on the UI as well.  

haedrianz
haedrianz

sorry but ur review is not reflecting the truth of this game ... it seems like you only played 2 hours on arena (wich is not the real game ... )  its much better of a game that you pretend it to be ... gamespot rated a 9 to both  lol and dota , while i liked those 2 games and have been in the moba scene since the days of w3 and sc ...  i feel smite is much more fun and much more NEXT gen , than any other moba , right now in fact , its become the best online game for me , and i beleive it deserves a 9.. it as almost as much depth ( need more time to get maybe a little more micromanagement... but then against it is there ) as any other moba , plus the layer of 3rd person only skill shot make it like a shooter .... then making u combine both ur strategie and ur skill ... 9.8 players reviews , nuffff said. ( maybe hirez is not rich enough to play reviewers well)

nerdman67
nerdman67

Look, another DOTA and League of Legends. No thank you

FULGOREY2K
FULGOREY2K

might be worth checking.......but eeh....not much. so no

nicecall
nicecall

its only online? i fear online so i will not go online, ever!

bobo573
bobo573

I have started playing this recently and loved it. I couldnt get in to other MOBA games like DOTA 2 or LOL tried this and it is so easy to pick up and play

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

"in a match-based multiplayer online battle arena"

Too bad they can't be bothered to create some decent AI and cater to single players offline.  I don't want to deal with lobbies, lag and cretins online, I want games with strong AI that I can enjoy on my own.

rat-fish
rat-fish

This game is my favorite game of all time. Easiest moba to get into for action/ shooter game enthusiasts, and still has the depth of a moba once you turn auto-upgrade off. Looks great with the Unreal 3 engine graphics, but is optimized enough to run on highest settings with my mid tier laptop. So dynamic and fun!

dkeeney4093
dkeeney4093

Great game, just wondering why Gamespot why you guys getting so lazy on the video reviews???? Come on,so much better with video reviews!!!!!!!!

Onallion
Onallion

I started playing today. It's very fun, but I haven't won a game yet. I feel like I'm getting owned pretty hard :P

If anyone wants to add me as a friend: AmorphousSponge

Sky_Stifler
Sky_Stifler

This is currently my primary game, it's the only MOBA that I managed to play more than 1 month, combat system is just perfect for my taste, and I love that it's 3rd person, and not birds view camera, <3 Smite and HiRez :D

thefoxonthewall
thefoxonthewall

A game i'm certainly interested in playing, just had problems with the installation, might have another look into it now its been reviewed. 

quakke
quakke

An this is the shit that killed Tribes Ascend.

SkyAboveThePort
SkyAboveThePort

@Aaleyada  So you think your religion is better than other religions, is that what you're saying?

abconline
abconline

@Edurado  So just because other games of the same genre have better score make this game deserve the same score. Wow logic.

abconline
abconline

@haedrianz  You believe it deserves 9 does not make it so. 8 is the right score for it.

Caldrin
Caldrin

@nerdman67 quite different from those games plus its actually good fun..

The1337Dunham
The1337Dunham

@nerdman67  This one is actually a lot different than the usual clones that get spewed out. Its worth checking out even if you are already into LoL or Dota.

haedrianz
haedrianz

@nerdman67 its a moba ... but its not "another" one .... its very different experience from any other game .. its a hybrid of CS (fps), WOW , and a moba ... 

Goron24
Goron24

@FULGOREY2K  So you're too lazy to play smite but not lazy enough to say you're too lazy to play smite? The logics

Caldrin
Caldrin

@nicecall well technically you do have to log into an account but you can play against bots if that is what you want :)

Caldrin
Caldrin

@youre_a_sheep play against the bots.. sure not the hardest things in the world but still an option.

haedrianz
haedrianz

@youre_a_sheep the main point is competition ... the fun is playing with ur team 5v5 ... the ai is not very smart and it is on purpouse , cause the real challenge is win against the other team who has , as much potential to gain xp , money or outplay you... its been a while i havent liked a Online game this much to be honnest. great game , very dynamic , much intense and fun (in my opinion ) than the other mobas.... yet if u get to competitive lvl , its as hard. 

RoachRush
RoachRush

@youre_a_sheep You're better off playing a single-player game then. The "M" in "MOBA" does stand for "multiplayer," you know.

daveydave400
daveydave400

@youre_a_sheep It is a multiplayer game. If you don't like playing with other people then maybe multiplayer games aren't for you. That being said, the individual practice mode (served locally) and co-op modes do allow you to practice your skills until you feel good enough to play with others. Also they have mentioned that their Conquest Roam mode may become a co-op mode in the future.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

@dkeeney4093 do you realized that they just read the review when they make a video review? if they're lazy on video review, you are lazy on reading!

Jrrock009
Jrrock009

@Onallion  It gets better, I found the learning curve to be a little more steep in this game. Learning to lead auto attacks and when to attack is another thing that comes with time. Absolutely loving this game so far though. 

TiberiusAudley
TiberiusAudley

@quakke  Tribes: Ascend is killed by its own gameplay.  I love Tribes: Ascend.  The gameplay is glorious...if you're good at skiing.


If you aren't good at it, it's really hard to get into the game.  You just get wrecked life after life, game after game...and you never really learn what it is you're doing wrong.  Eventually, the lesser-skilled player base just dwindles, and the gameplay stagnates even for the top tier, until the game just...dies off.


It's unfortunate, but it's true.  I originally predicted Titanfall to suffer the same fate, but it seems there's enough mechanics implemented for newbies and lowbies to learn how to play while still having fun without drastically lowering the skill gap with higher-skilled players...so I think it may be around for time to come.

Goron24
Goron24

@quakke  Shit? Lol have you actually played the game. Its freaking fun as hell

Edurado
Edurado

@abconline @Edurado  There is a difference, Smite is in 3 person unlike the other MOBA. Also unlike LoL, magic power increase the damage of auto attacks and Masteries are needed to play ranked.

the_hunger
the_hunger

@daveydave400 Believe it or not, there is a single-player market for these kinds of games.  I've been playing DOTA2 for months now, and I have never played with/against a human and have no interest in doing so.  I really like the MOBA genre, but I really hate to be bothered with the online BS that you get from people who forget that it's just a game.  I would personally have no problem purchasing a MOBA that had strong strategic AI and a good array of single-player modes and options (beyond just practice for multiplayer). 

Goron24
Goron24

@ZoTrAcK @dkeeney4093  You do realize that it isn't about them reading the review and "being lazy" its about showcasing some of the gameplay they captured? A little ignorant aren't we?

feleas
feleas

@daveydave400 @the_hunger  I think he put it in a way that he's sick of a lot of games that seem to lean over to the multiplayer aspect of things.

daveydave400
daveydave400

@the_hunger I understand that and I totally agree, but the way @youre_a_sheep put it sounded like "this game is terrible because they didn't make a single player MOBA". Smite is not a single player MOBA and was not intended to be. Making it sound like it's HiRez's fault ("they can't be bothered") just seems wrong.

SMITE More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • Xbox One
    SMITE is a free-to-play online battleground between gods.
    9.4
    Average User RatingOut of 181 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate SMITE
    Developed by:
    Hi-Rez Studios
    Published by:
    Hi-Rez Studios
    Genres:
    Strategy, MOBA
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Partial Nudity, Use of Alcohol, Violence