SMITE Battle of The Gods Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
Release Date: 24th January 2019 (BETA for Founders Pack purchasers) – F2P players TBC
Price as of Article: Free to play soon – $29.99 USD, £23.69 GBP for the Founders Pack
Game code provided by Hi-Rez Studios
SMITE draws on mythology from religions and legends around the world, in the game you play as a God from these pantheons in epic battles. As far as source material goes you really can’t beat it, you have Gods from Thor and Odin to Poseidon and Ganesha.
The game was first released on PC in 2013 so its had years to introduce new features and improvements and it shows, coming to Switch there are no missing features or sacrifices.
With patch 6.1 crossplay was introduced allowing you to pit yourself against players on the PC and Xbox One ensuring you get a quick match and allowing you to play with mates. Crossprogression was also introduced where you can link your account in order to have all unlocks from the PC or Xbox One available to you on the Switch and vice versa.
Smite is a MOBA but not in the traditional sense where the game is played from a top-down perspective. Here you play with an over the shoulder view which gives this more of an accessible feel to it.
Whether you are new to the world of Moba’s or not SMITE does a great job of giving the player the tools they need to understand the basic controls with a handy tutorial.
Once you have complete the tutorial you can take part in Arena mode which is the only mode initially accessible until you reach level 3. It’s a great way to get accustomed to the game and understand the mechanics of it, systems and way certain gods work together. There are lots of different classes to suit all of your play styles from ranged mages and hunters to tank style Guardians and damage dealing assassins, there is something here for everyone. My favorite was the Egyptian God Ra who had a nice balance of DPS, a healing ability to heal the party and a special shot which if aimed properly could do some real damage. In a=Arena mode the first team that reaches 0 from 500 loses through a combination of helping get minions through the opposing teams portal. This mode is more forgiving than the others as you don’t have lanes, jungles or other MOBA essentials to worry about, instead, you have an open map with 3 buff monsters on either side and phoenixes protecting each teams camp.
The action is fast and furious, the controls make sense – you use the left stick to move and the right stick to aim, each character has four skills that are used by pressing X, A, Y, and B. Each class plays differently and the skills vary wildly – some will smash every opponent near you whilst others need to be aimed and timed more carefully.
Like any complex online game, there is a lot to it and it can be quite confusing at first, yes the tutorial does a good job but past that there is a hell of a lot to learn.
This challenge is the reason why people have sunk well over 1,000 hours into this game – there are over 90 gods to play as, each with a unique set of skills and multiple builds to figure out across multiple game modes.
Once you hit level 3 you unlock Joust which is a more familiar MOBA experience that takes place in a small 3 vs 3, single-lane map with a side jungle.
In this mode you need to take out your enemies tower Phoenix and Titan, the respawn time is longer and you will need to work together in order to achieve success. I thoroughly enjoyed this mode, it features some of the MOBA strategic play but it’s easier to get to grips with than the games most popular mode Conquest which is unlocked at level 5.
If you have played league of legends or DOTA 2 this mode will be the one you are most accustomed to – it’s a 5 vs 5, 3 lane battle in which you do really need to know your specific role and where you should be going to on the map.
As someone with a little experience of MOBA’s I find this game to be more fun than most, its definitely challenging and we haven’t even begun to talk about leveling up characters, items and builds – there’s a lot for you to discover and there is no end to the amount of learning and improvements you can make.
Chris Rickwood of Hi-Rez studios has been the lead audio composer behind SMITE and as a game that has been out for 6 years, there is a huge catalog of themes, songs, and voice lines.
The music is epic and worthy of the theme of the game, each pantheon has its own set of tracks and each god has multiple voice lines which are well recorded.
Interestingly you can acquire alternate voices for each god, different home screen tracks and alternate announcer voices.
The sound effects are no slouch either, spells and attacks are loud and recognisable and add to the sense of being in an epic battle.
Visuals & Performance
Hi-Rez Studios have done a stunning job in both the visual and performance department. The game runs almost flawlessly online with a stable connection in both handheld and docked mode. In fact, Juan and I were playing in the same room in the same party having a blast with SMITE and didn’t suffer any slow down. Bear in mind this is a game from 2013 but it looks right at home in 2019 and that’s a testament to Hi-Rez studios and the updates they have made along the way. the visuals look nice and crisp, the gods look awesome and different enough from each other to look unique.
When docked the game runs at 1080P at 60FPS, when in handheld the game sacrifices some of the detail to keep it running at 60FPS, I think this is a good decision as this is a fast paced game and it would have suffered if there were performance issues.
You can’t argue with free! The fact that you can pick this up after the BETA and play on the Switch with a solid starting roster and carry over any progress from PC or Xbox One, plus play with your friends on other platforms makes this a great addition for existing players as well those that are new to the game.
The Founders Pack at $29.99 or £23.69 offers good value if you find that you enjoy the game as it will provide you with access to all 90+ Gods as well as any future releases, it also gives you access right now though I imagine the BETA will only last a few weeks. As well as the Gods you receive a few skins and 400 gems (600 if you purchased before the 24th) which is the cash based currency in the game, I like that its only cosmetic items that can be purchased as this stops any pay to win concerns.
The value on Gems is questionable as I found the skins to be expensive, of course, you are getting the game for free and don’t need to purchase these so it seems fair enough.
All Gods can be purchased with favor – the in-game currency and it won’t take you too long to receive enough to start unlocking Gods. There is also a handy rental system where you can pay a smaller amount to test out a God before committing.
Add to this the rotating Gods you can play with weekly and I find the value on offer to be solid.
Unique playstyle for a MOBA
Free to play!
Skins are expensive