SMITE ReviewBy: Zanpakutou posted at Jul 25, 2012 7:56 am
So I've finally gotten around to playing enough games to write a review for this. I write the title of the game in all caps because that is how they do it. SMITE is another game that is trying to make its way into the MOBA genre with a few twists. Compared to the other games, SMITE is a lot more friendly to newer players. I will just call the various gods characters instead of gods or champions because not all of them are gods yet they do not use the term champion to describe them.
N/A - A bunch of gods are out fighting each other just for the heck of it. There is no need to understand why.
As one of the newer MOBA games, SMITE actually has some fairly decent graphics. I feel that the character and creep models could have been done a bit better since the jungle minions look quite nice and so do a few of the characters. However, it feels like they did not put in the effort for some of the character models compared to others making it look far less impressive. However, the base turrets (phoenixes) look very nice and so does the actual "base" (a minotaur that fights back). The jungle looks good except for the fog effect that they try to do. It just like they just cut the draw distance of the game instead, but you can see enemy characters that are deep into the fog anyways. The skill effects are quite nice and come in many varieties. So far no two skills have looked similar in any way, but we will have to wait until they get more characters before that remains certain as games have a habit of recycling certain mechanics between characters once they start adding more.
The gameplay of SMITE is similar to most MOBAs. You only name your account and then you just jump into the game. They offer you a tutorial video to explain the mechanics of the game to you, but no real means to actually practice. You just have to get into a game and hope that you do not screw up. The initial ranking is fixed so you might end up fighting players that are much better than you if you are new, or much worse than you if you are used to playing MOBA games. Match making seems to take longer in SMITE compared to other games because they divide games into level tiers. The idea is that more experienced players might be able to play with other experienced players in higher account level games while new players stick at the lower leveled match making to keep games fair. However, this does not stop new players who are experienced in MOBA games from still curb stomping their opponents until they level out of those parts of the game.
Unlike many MOBA games, SMITE does its best to make the game as friendly as possible to new players. You start off with a decent variety of different champions that you can try out. There is an option that will enable auto purchasing of items. They will automatically buy you a healing potion and recommend items each time you head back to base. There is also the option for the game to automatically level your skills as well. Unlike games like League of Legends, the recommend items are very good and can easily allow an inexperienced player to really just force their way through if necessary. The game also takes away the mechanics of last hitting and denying minions like some of the other MOBA games. As long as you are in the area when a minion dies, you will be rewarded exp and gold for it. Assists and character kills are the same where you must deal damage in order for it to count as an assist. If you are completely new to the MOBA genre, then SMITE is probably the best place to start if you do not mind that there is no tutorial or practice mode for you to learn the game.
SMITE plays out like most MOBA games except that there are far more varieties of jungle buffs. Each lane consists of I believe 2 turrets, a base turret (phoenix), and the main base structure (a giant minotaur). The goal of the game is to destroy the base structure. You must bring down the phoenix before you can attack the minotaur. Once you do, it will actually fight back and deals quite a bit of damage. It can take a while before one side actually builds up enough stats from their items to be able to push down the phoenix and minotaur. While SMITE is more action oriented than most other MOBA games, I feel that the mechanics makes the game last longer than most other MOBA games. While my Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends games have lasted an average of 30-40 minutes, SMITE seems to last at least 40 minutes for the average game. Despite this, the faster speed of SMITE can easily make a game more one sided because it is possible to push down 2 towers in an instant if you can kill the enemy team yet possible for 1 character, their minions, and their tower to hold off 3 enemy characters due to the higher tower damage.
The main difference between SMITE and other MOBAs is the camera. It is always focused on the back of your character and gives you a third person action game sort of view rather than a overhead strategy style view of the game. I feel that this greatly affects how someone experiences the game because you cannot look around the map unless you are dead and that it is a lot harder to see jungle ganks coming for you. Your view in the jungle is actually greater than what your radar shows so if you think a gank might be coming, you can actually check. Ganks are more difficult to pull off against a player who is aware of their surroundings, but are easy against those who do not pay attention. Whether this makes the game more exciting or not depends on the player.
I feel that the strength of individual characters is much lower in SMITE compared to other games. The abilities seem to have longer overall cooldowns and not a lot of skills have high damage, but rather high utility. A 1 on 1 fight tends to last quite long, but a 2 on 1 does not actually shorten the length of a fight by too much. Tower diving is much more difficult. The towers might have lower HP than other games, but the damage feels a lot higher making them much harder to bring down overall.
If you are looking to try out the MOBA genre, SMITE is actually one of the better places to start. In fact, it might be even better than League of Legends for people who are trying to learn the game due to its simplified mechanics. Players who are experienced with the MOBA genre might not like SMITE due to how everything has been simplified. Some people just enjoy the complex mechanics that DOTA and HoN have to offer and SMITE just cannot do the same. The longer game times also makes me feel like the various characters take far longer to unlock than in League of Legends and unless you play frequently in League of Legends, unlocking a character can take a very long time. Hopefully SMITE will add some sort of rotation system to combat this.
7/10 - A good place for people new to the MOBA genre to start, but will probably be disliked by those who want more complex game mechanics.
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