When I first heard that Smite was headed to Xbox One, my first reaction was similar to Bender here. Afterall, MOBA rarely works well with a controller, despite the limited number of abilities. Then I got my hands on it at PAX East and really enjoyed myself. I told the Hi-Rez dev demoing the game for me that I was surprised a MOBA could work this well on a console. With a smirk on his face he replied “We’ve been getting that a lot this weekend.”
Since PAX, I’ve put a fair amount of time into the Alpha and I loved it even more. Being able to lay back on my couch and enjoy a MOBA brings a surprising amount of relief to an experience usually filled with stress as you sit upright at a computer with opponents and allies alike screaming at you. Being an Alpha, there were naturally some issues like the UI still not being properly resized for a console experience, but the controls were smooth and intuitive. You use the left analog stick to move around, the right stick to aim, and abilities are all linked to the face buttons. Town portal is mapped to down on the d-pad while items are a combination of triggers and face buttons. It sounds daunting at first, but after a match or two, they become second nature.
As communication in a MOBA is key, Hi-Rez has included shortcuts for basic messages such as “Mid”, “Jungle” or “Help.” By including these, teams are able to easily communicate without alot of the toxicity that is present in the genre. It adds to the stress relief mentioned earlier.
With the Beta now in full swing, the game continues to improve. The controls are as intuitive as ever and the UI is well on its way to becoming a great fit for the console experience. Its major issue is that it’s still incredibly small and hard to read, even on larger TVs. If Hi-Rez changed up the font size and type, the game would be all the better. Smite also has the best pricing out of any other MOBA. While heroes still come at the standard cost, the Ultimate God Pack is a $30 package deal that gives you all present and future characters.
If you’re a fan of MOBAs but dislike the communities, give Smite a try on Xbox One. While it still needs some work, it shows that this genre can belong on consoles.
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