Hi-Rez Studios' Smite has become a household name in the world of eSports over the past few months, with millions of fans becoming addicted to the wildly popular strategic combat game. Up until this year it's been PC exclusive, but in a few short months, Xbox One owners will get their chance to play.
In the game, you choose from a number of gods from ancient mythology and legendary creatures, then take to a number of modes, trying to defeat teams by either overtaking certain spots on a map or slaying as many foes as you can within the allotted time frame.
Gods have an array of special utilities they can use when battling enemies. Weak strikes are the most common, as they require little to no energy. However, as you might guess, they also do the least amount of damage, so you'll want to use special abilities as often as possible.
These special abilities vary by character. For instance, Thor the God of Thunder (not related to the Marvel version), uses hammer strikes, including one that can rip up the ground in front of him, striking any character in its path. He can also generate a powerful ground strike that allows him to fly high above the stage for a few seconds so a player can target where he's going to land.
The action is broken down into various modes, but the one where you'll spend the most time is Arena. Here, you'll take part in five-on-five combat, facing off against both rival gods and their mortal allies as you attempt to get the most kills.
Another popular mode coming to the Xbox One version is Conquest. In it, you'll fight across a three-lane map in groups of four, defending three Phoenixes for your group while attacking those that belong to the enemy. Along the way, you'll need to strategically destroy towers, because otherwise you’ll get assaulted from above.
Other modes include Assault, which is a simplified version of Conquest that takes place in one lane with teams of three, as well as Joust, where the goal is to kill your opponent's Titan in the fastest time possible. Siege Mode opens up two available lanes for combat, but requires you to kill minions and earn points to unlock new AI characters. The better you do, the more powerful the characters become and the greater advantage you obtain.
You don't fight until your character runs out of health, since there are two ways to regenerate energy while at the same time accumulating strength to use your special attacks. The first involves using a quick summon to send you back to home base. This is probably the least effective tactic, as it leaves you open to attack, and you'll have to redo things if something goes wrong.
The second is by manually walking back to your base to regenerate health and power. This is a less risky move than summoning, although that won't stop enemies from attacking you. Fortunately, once you get into the safe zone, towers will automatically fire upon those following you, providing enough breathing room to recover health and get back into battle. Remember that it takes a bit longer to get across the battlefield than summoning, but if your team has enough kills, there's room to get it done.
Finally, if you're a newcomer there's Practice, where you can hold off playing online and get some practice in combat against AI bots. This is a great learning process for those getting into the game for the first time, and you'll need these tactics because the action in Ranked can be downright brutal. This is where most of the game's competition comes from, and if you're not prepared to fight in a godly manner, you're likely to die.
With a wide variety of gods to choose from, a number of competitive modes and great combat-packed gameplay with some strategy poured on top, Smite should have no trouble leading the charge for Microsoft's free-to-play push on Xbox One, which also includes Fable Legends and Gigantic sometime in the future. We'll see how the game fares when it arrives later this year, but in the meantime, if you have access to a beta code, check it out. The action is, for the lack of a better word, godly.