I’ve made no attempt to obfuscate my love for Hi-Rez Studios. Creators of Tribes: Ascend, a worthy successor to one of my favorite game series, Hi-Rez has made a name for itself in the Free To Play market. Their next entry, Smite, is a DOTA clone with an interesting twist, and I recently got my hands on it for the first time.
First shown at PAX Prime last year, Smite is a MOBA, or as most people call them, DOTA clones. While at first it would be easy to judge the design as riding the wave of popularity that this genre currently holds, Smite offers some key differences that I believe show a great game in the making. The major difference is that the game plays in a third person perspective instead of an overhead RTS-style. You control your character with the standard FPS controls of WASD, and skills are bound to buttons 1-4 while basic attacks and vision use your mouse. This lets you get down close to the action and react quickly to the game, and I think it’s one of Smite’s strong points.
Now I love MOBAs… I’ve easily played over 1000 games of League of Legends and love the genre, but I think Smite is a breath of fresh air in terms of basic gameplay. The same formula is there: 3 lanes, minion waves, turrets… but the in-your-face action is fun and fast paced.
As always, anything is subject to change as the game is still in beta, but I think Hi-Rez has a real winner on their hands with Smite. I’ll admit, it probably won’t stop me from completely playing League of Legends, but it will be a welcome distraction. If you’d like to join in the fun, Hi-Rez has the game on preorder for $20. This will get you all but 2 of the playable characters and is $10 off the release price.