For The Gods! Smite PS4 Beta Impressions

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MOBA's have become contenders for competitive eSport of choice, if they haven't already claimed the crown. To say I've missed the boat in that regard would be an apt description, but I didn't just completely let it whiz by. I dabbled in Heroes of Newerth and League of Legends and even downloaded DOTA 2 (though never actually booted it up). As MOBA's continue to be the go-to genre de jour, I've finally taken the plunge and gone all in with Smite, and so far I'm having a lot of fun.

I'm playing the beta for PS4, so of course not every bell and whistle is in yet, but what is there is quite compelling to a newer MOBA player. The tutorial actually walks you through each mode at a steady pace, maintaining a balance between talking to you like an idiot and just plain leaving you to your own devices. I will say while I knew of the three-lane system from previous MOBA experiences, Smite didn't really do a great job (in game) of fleshing that out for me at all, like why I would go through the other lanes, advantages and disadvantages, etc. They do however have some tutorials listed on their website.

One of the most crucial components to Smite, and MOBA's in general, is mastery of your character and their abilities. At no time is this on display more than when an enemy player picks the same character as you, and absolutely obliterates you before you can even get off your first move. While I tinkered with a few characters at the beginning, I did settle in a bit and put some time into Ymir, father of the frost giants. Ymir in particular has some meat to him, so I figured it would be a good choice while I got my bearings.

Old frosty is a bit on the slow side, and while he has a healthy dose of HP, he can't take as much punishment as you might expect. He is best when you maintain a balance between his crowd control abilities and his hard-hitting Frostbite assisted melee attacks. His Ice Wall, for instance, is a great spacer for when you are low on health or waiting for minions to spawn, as is his Glacial Strike. With him, I am slowly learning how to really play the game in support of my minions, rather than my original mindset of having them aid me.

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(Photo: Smite)

As for visually, the game is decent but isn't taxing the system by any means. The characters themselves look great, as do their power and characters animations, but the environments are just average. What I did enjoy however was the vast number of characters available, and how different they feel. Playing Cupid for instance after playing Ymir was a vastly different experience, as was playing Neith or Guan Yu. Plus I'm such a sucker for ancient mythology that the overall character designs very much appeal to me.

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So far I'm truly enjoying the process of learning a new genre and Smite is a perfect speed for where I'm at skill-wise. Smite throws just enough at you to not be overwhelming but does offer more depth if that is what you are looking for. While it isn't perfect by any means, I'm looking forward to learning some new strategies and characters, and spending more time the game.