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Smite Xbox One Preview: Hands On At SWC 2015

Smite on the Xbox One will be the first next-gen console MOBA and may be the perfect game to introduce console gamers to the popular genre.

At the Smite World Championship last weekend, Hi-Rez studios revealed a playable Xbox One "alpha" version of their popular MOBA, Smite. We were able to get some hands on time with the game and were pleasantly surprised at how well the game worked on the Xbox One. 

For those unfamiliar, MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and is a subgenre of Real Time Strategy (or RTS). The object of the game is to destroy the enemy's main defense or base, which in Smite is called the Titan, by fighting through enemy players, NPCs, and defensive towers. In Smite, each player takes control of a God, each having unique abilities, to help their team of 5 overcome the enemy's defenses.

Most MOBA's, like League of Legends and DotA, use a top down view where players are positioned above their player. Smite is the first MOBA to use a third person point of view, where players are positioned directly behind their God. This perspective makes aiming abilities possible and brings in some gameplay elements of the Shooter genre. 

Smite on the Xbox One just makes sense. There are so many elements that are already a part of Smite on the PC that transition beautifully to a next-gen console. The most notable being the game's unique perspective. Smite's third person view is perfect for a console since it allows players to follow their character and aim attacks in real time. Most console gamers are already familiar with that perspective, from shooters and action games, and that means Smite is a lot more accessible for a new MOBA fan than it's more traditional counterparts. Smite's gameplay and controls also work fantastically on the Xbox One. Since Smite on the PC uses the WASD keys for moving and mouse for aiming, controller integration was already built in to the PC version and surprisingly, quite a few Smite players prefer to use a gaming controller. 

It Works

We were able to get some hands on time with the alpha version of Smite on the Xbox One this past weekend. Possibly the biggest difference between the PC and console version is the user interface. MOBA's typically tend to have a more complex user interface and control scheme, since they can utilize a mouse and keyboard. Hi-Rez Studios approached Smite on the Xbox One as a chance to redesign the user interface of the PC game so that every mechanic worked and made sense for console gamers. The four abilities are each mapped to the controller buttons and movement/aiming is linked to the joysticks. The only aspect that still seemed clunky was purchasing items and leveling up. 

Smite's gameplay works really well on a console and even the alpha version looked beautiful on the Xbox One. The only notable graphical difference is the frame rate of the console game compared to the PC. The team at Hi-Rez mentioned during an Xbox One press conference this weekend, that developing Smite for the PC meant designing a game that could be played on an expensive, high-end gaming computer or on a ten year old machine that might not be able to process high graphics, but with the Xbox version of the game, they knew the graphical capabilities of every console. This allowed them to push the game's graphics to maximize the Xbox One's system. 

Smite will be the first MOBA on a next-generation console when it launches and are accepting beta registrations now. 

Published Jan. 19th 2015

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