Gigantic popped up in the Xbox Game Preview program a few months ago and when I saw that it was free I thought to myself “Eh, it’s free, why not?.”. What I got surprised me tremendously, it was a MOBA unlike any I’ve played until then. In general, MOBAs are not my cup of tea. The top-down view, the detachment from the action and the frustratingly confusing item purchases take way too much time and effort with lackluster payoff. +10% CRITICAL HIT CHANCE!!1!1… yay? I guess?
As you can see the items were a huge turnoff for me, it took more planning and forethought than the actual gameplay, making it far less fun for me and if a game isn’t fun, what’s the point of the devotion? Still intrigued by the MOBA scene, I tried SMITE, for which I was pretty pumped. Third person, gods as playable characters, more accessible for beginners, you know the shtick. Granted, it was fun for a while but the choppy gameplay, lackluster visuals and again, the painfully complicated item system quickly eliminated my interest.
That’s where Gigantic comes in with its simple, engaging gameplay, gorgeous art style and a plethora of varied characters. It provides a fresh take on the MOBA genre offering new systems and mechanics that, I’m sure, deserve your attention. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Gigantic is available for free on PC and Xbox One (via Game Preview program) on the Microsoft Store, you can check out the announcement trailer below:
There isn’t much to say about it here, being an online-only title with no single-player content except a few narrated tutorials, the only story that you get that there’s a ‘bad’ guardian – Grenn and the ‘good’ guardian – Leiran. It’s the standard good vs. evil plot with nothing to note except little bits of story on each character in the description sections of their skins and color-swaps. Granted, those are quite interesting on their own but as a package, you won’t be playing this for the story or deep lore.
This is a huge missed opportunity as the characters and locales look gorgeous, just begging to be explored. The one and only fully animated and voiced tutorial cutscene doesn’t help either as it gives a glimpse of what we could’ve gotten, or hopefully will get in the future, with extremely likeable characters, very good animation and humorous writing. These are the type of characters that given enough screentime and attention in movie-like shorts could rival those of the FPS-MOBA hybrid titan, Overwatch.
Before going through the tutorial, I expected a cookie-cutter MOBA, with creep farming, tower pushing and again, an annoyingly complicated item buying mechanic. I was surprised to see that this title has none of these features. “How is it a MOBA then?” you might ask, well, the system is simple to learn, and hard-ish to master.
The main goal of the match is to commence the attack on the enemy guardian and wound him/her three times. The attack starts once you reach 100 points as a team. There is also a satisfyingly climactic “Clash Mechanic” which triggers in under one of two conditions – If both guardians are down to one wound until defeat and if a total of five rampages are triggered between both teams, which are conveniently displayed above your HUD. Points are gained from enemy kills and collecting power orbs which appear on various fixed points on the map. They have to be collected either by the players or the creatures, which is another interesting mechanic that has been introduced in this game. You can spawn various creatures on the said fixed points to collect the gold power orbs as soon as they appear. These creatures, in addition to battling enemies, give your whole team advantages, such as either healing your allies, revealing enemy positions on the map or blocking off certain entryways, among other things
There are no three/five lane layout on the maps, it’s a bit more complex, with multiple height levels, shortcuts for agile characters and such and of course, a treat to look at.
Each character from the current roster of 16 has four skills, along with a Focus skill, which is this game’ equivalent to an Ultimate. For example, Beckett a dual-pistol wielding steampunk pilot has a the following: The standard shooting attack, a grenade which you can throw, a skill for activating a jetpack for swift escapes from the melee-oriented characters, and a skill that joins the pistols into a cannon, which fires projectile-like slugs at a slower fire-rate for more damage. Her Focus skill is an Area of Effect attack that barrages enemies with a deadly mortar strike.
On the more RPG side of things, there are absolutely no items or such, just in-game leveling, which give you skill points to upgrade one of your four skills and two character traits. Character upgrading is simple, all you have to do is choose either one path or the other, for example, Beckett’s standard pistol shot attack, you can either upgrade the damage that you deal up-close or have a larger magazine. Each of those skills have two options down their respective paths so you can tailor you the character to your playstyle.
There are also no aforementioned creeps, so you can fully concentrate on obliterating your enemies. My only gripe with the gameplay would be the sometimes choppy framerate, but I’m sure that it will be fixed in the full release since, as of now, the game is still in preview.
Graphics & Audio
Not much can be said about the audio, the roars of the guardians are fierce, the booms of grenades are ear-piercing and the slashes of swords sound just right.
What would be a Free-to-play MOBA without heaps upon heaps of micro transactions? Certainly not Gigantic, but fortunately, you don’t see ads for them all over the place. There’s a cozy little menu where you can see your purchasing options if you wish to spend money. There’s also a Founder’s Pack, which unlocks all 16 heroes right away, secures you three future heroes, limited edition skins and Founder Status which gives you two exclusive icons that you get to keep forever.
Fortunately, none of the characters or skins are locked behind paywalls. Anything can be acquired with the two currencies in the game – Crowns, which are earned by completing matches, and Rubies, which can be either bought with money or earned by completing sets of daily challenges, which are presented in the form of cards that you draw every day. A drawn card is not limited to the day you draw it, it can be kept in the list until you complete it. Completing the challenge of the card gives you a small amount of Rubies, with greater rewards available when you complete Cards Sets. It’s also a very nice touch that the cards have small pieces of artwork each beautiful in their own way, matching the style of the game perfectly.
Gigantic is a magnificently beautiful title with a lot of fresh ideas that breathe new life into the arguably aging MOBA genre. With a gorgeous art style backing up some very solid gameplay foundations, this title deserves much more love than it is currently getting, so what are you still doing here? Go Gigantic!
|+ Beautiful art style and presentation||– Matchmaking might take a few minutes|
|+ Innovative gameplay||– Undercooked story content|
|+ Not necessary to spend money||– Occasionally choppy gameplay|
|+ Simple but flexible in-game upgrade system|