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PAX East: Hands-On with Smite on Xbox One

I got a chance to go hands-on with Smite on Xbox One, and it feels good.

Smite is a free to play MOBA that has been out for a while on PC. What sets this game apart from many other games in the genre is how it's played. Instead of being an isometric game in which you click where your character goes, it plays more like a third-person action game.  This style of game translates very well with console controls. Now that Hi-Rez has brought Smite to the Xbox One, I had the opportunity to try a demo of their current build at PAX East.

Menus

The first change to Smite you see is to the menus that appear when you launch the game. The new menus are designed to fit well on console. As of now on the Xbox One, Smite has two rows of Gods to chose from. However, they plan to switch these to even larger portraits and have 1 row. When you select a character ,you then have easy access to character information such as spells and character lore. It's much easier to manage on a large screen with a controller than it would if the menu was the same as it is on PC.

Controls

Probably the biggest concern people would have with playing Smite on a console would be the controls. I have to say that the controls translate extremely well. It almost feels more natural to play with a controller than it does with a keyboard. There are two sets of controls that really set themselves apart from the 5 total that were available. The first had movement and camera controls to the joysticks and the keyboard keys QWER bound to the triggers and shoulder buttons. This set up worked really well when it came to constantly being in control of the character.

However, the controller set up that I thought worked the best had ABXY set up for your QWER spells and the right trigger was used for auto attacks. The controls moved around the buttons with Q being X, W being A, E to B, and R (the ultimate) being mapped to Y. It may seem complicated in writing, but it felt very natural on the controller. On top of that, the button mappings for spells are constantly being showed on the screen on the spell icon so you don't forget.

Overall

The game felt at home on the console. I had reservations at first, since it belongs to a primarily PC genre. However, the game felt almost as if it was designed from the ground up as being a console MOBA. I look forward to seeing how this game is adopted by the console community and watching a new eSport game grow on consoles.

Published Mar. 6th 2015

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