Yesterday, March 25, 2014 is the day when the free MOBA game SMITE officially launched in North America and Europe, after a long beta period that helped Hi-Rez Studios to polish it and make it one of the best of the genre. Most MOBA fans probably played a lot of it already, but if you don’t, here are a few reasons why you should play this free game.
Third-Person MOBA game
It’s very difficult to disassociate the MOBA genre from the template created with Dota and made popular with League of Legends – there’s this isometric top-down view and that’s just what every game in the genre seems to go for: Dota 2, Prime World, Strife, Deadbreed, Sins of a Dark Age and many more. But while SMITE wasn’t the first MOBA to try something like this, it is by far the most successful of the bunch. The third-person view allows for a higher level of immersion in the arena and completely changes the skillset required to play the game – the WASD controls are part of this change and entail a lot less mouse clicking as needed in League of Legends, for example.
Original mythology theme
Regular fantasy themed MOBAs are plentiful and bordering on nausea, so it’s refreshing to see a game that isn’t just rehashing heroes from other games. The mythology theme chosen for SMITE is very unusual and one that isn’t without its risks, since it involves messing with the beliefs of cultures from all over the world – there was this particular controversy surrounding the Hindu Gods Kali, Agni, and Vamana, especially the way Kali was dressed and how these gods (just like the rest of those in the game) are player-controlled. All gods include optional skins, some of them quite funny/unfortunate (choose the more appropriate word to your liking).
Great community and support… so far
Let’s face it; Hi-Rez wasn’t exactly brilliant when handling its shooter Tribes: Ascend, but sometimes in life you have to make difficult decisions, like abandoning a game that was actually pretty good but not profitable. Anyway, we’re able to forgive them when the result is SMITE and so far the community here seems to be less toxic than in the other top MOBAs, so let’s hope that doesn’t change. Support is great, with constant updates and interested community managers. New gods are being released frequently (over 50 gods available at the time of writing), at the rate of one each month and even the Ultimate God Pack, which grants access to all current and future gods, is very reasonably priced.
Beautiful graphics and animations
By using a third-person view, SMITE places you right in the middle of the action and therefore it had to be visually capable of delivering the thrills that are expected from a game where you control gods. It certainly delivers, with gods that are very distinct from each other, a great weighty feel to their animations and overall a brilliant mix between fantasy and realism. It is quite easily the MOBA with the most eye-candy so far.
Fun yet competitive gameplay
SMITE could be described as the hardcore MOBA for casual players. The skillshot-based gameplay is completely different from the other MOBAs, controls are intuitive and everything just seems to perfectly fall in place. It’s a very addictive game, easy to learn but difficult to master, with different game modes that you can play just for fun when you need a break from the competitive aspect. This is a fresh MOBA with personality and perfect for those looking for a change of pace.