When I started doing What’s Good About almost two years ago and started it back up at the end of September last year, I never took into account the release schedules of games because I always wrote more about what struck my fancy and only recently decided to take said release window into account. Because January is dead in terms of releases that I want to check out; the one game I want to write about, Cyber Shadow doesn’t drop until Next week, aka the end of the month basically. So I’m taking this and future slow periods to highlight games that might have fallen off the radar, hidden gems I think are worth highlighting or games I just decided to go back to see what’s changed after some time away. Case in Point: I’m talking about Smite this week and how it’s changed.
For starters, it’s on Steam now! Which is nice because having a separate launcher for a game like this in 2021 just feels weird to me. And the account linking seems to work well enough because I forgot that I bought the Ultimate God Pack back when the game was released from Beta back in the day. For those that aren’t in the know; The Ultimate God Pack is a deal that Smite started in the Beta that’s basically “Pay $30 and Unlock all current gods in the game and all future gods are available for no extra cost”. If your someone who’s really into the game or wants the best bang for your buck, it’s a fucking fantastic deal.
Smite initially gained notoriety and notice because it billed itself as the “Battleground of the Gods”, which is a fancy way of saying that it’s a MOBA where the player characters are from various mythologies and pantheons from around the world. When the game first launched, you had playable gods from the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Chinese, Norse and Mayan pantheons ranging from the given such as Zeus, Ra, Odin, Sun Wukong, And Hercules to the lesser knowns such as Geb, Kumbhakarna, and Serqet off of the top of my head. But in the time since I stopped playing, they’ve added more new pantheons and mythologies to the game such as Shinto/Japanese, Yoruba/African, Celtic, Polynesian, Slavic, Voodoo, and even characters from the Arthurian Legends and Cthulhu Mythos with Babylonian Gods Tiamat and Gilgamesh coming soon. What I’m saying is there’s a lot of variety of cultures and faiths being displayed here and it’s a neat thing to see.
The main mode is Conquest, which if you’ve played any MOBA since Aeon of Strife is about three lanes and an objective filled jungle containing buffs and other goodies that need to be secured so you can destroy the enemy team’s base. The key difference is that Smite has the perspective in Third Person and controlled with the third person in mind. It gives the benefits and downside of feeling more in control of the character you choose, but at the cost of not having as much awareness and needing the mini map more. Not a dealbreaker, just a thing to consider. The Conquest map has visually changed at the time of writing to reflect the ongoing story (I know, I’m shocked too!), with the map split horizontally down the middle between Greek and Babylonian aesthetics. It’s a neat touch. They also have the standard arena, ARAM (All Random All Middle), a mini conquest mode for 4 players each and more. And while these are nice to have, I still stick mostly to the Conquest mode.
Balance wise, the game feels like it’s in a better spot too since I last played. Because healing was, as far as I could remember, a bit too strong and the blessings, the new versions of starting items weren’t great either. Because healing is reasonable and starting items are back. Praise Odin. I also tried some of the newer gods and King Arthur might be my favorite. In a game full of fantastical gods, heroes, monsters, demons and a literal eldritch abomination; my current favorite is a guy with a kick ass sword. But if you’re gonna roll with the Dude Man with Sword character archetype, you might as well use the most iconic example of that in all of fiction. Achilles was also added into the game and his Ultimate ability (basically the MOBA equivalent of a super move) is the coolest mechanical interpretation of the Achilles Heel to date: Basically Achilles Charges Forward. If he Kills an enemy God with the ability he casts it again for free with increased damage and decreased defenses. This stacks up to five times as a means of showcasing his aggressive disregard for his own safety because…it’s Achilles, what were you expecting? You take increased damage in between activations because his heel is showing and I love that so much. Even though it wouldn’t have made sense in a competitive sense, I’d have loved it if when fully stacked, Achilles died instantly upon getting dinged once. Balanced? Nope. Thematically appropriate punishment of one’s own hubris? Oh God Yes.
Even after a few years away, Smite is still a pretty good game. Who would have thought? It may not be as in depth as other games on the market, but it’s still a lot of fun and I recommend it if you need a competitive MOBA to play, but don’t want to play League of Legends of Dota 2. Here’s to hoping they add the other eight aspects of Vishnu in the future. They’d all be fucking sick to have in.
But yeah, overall I hope y’all liked this look at a game I’ve been gone from for a few years and I think I might make this recurring thing in the slow periods. Here’s to better planning ion the future.