A Gigantically Good Time… See What We Did There?
We’ve been covering Motiga’s Gigantic for what seems an age, and yet I’ve never been fortunate enough to play the thing. This year’s PAX Prime changed that, and I am really glad it did. With my Player Coaches over my shoulder (I wish I’d gotten their names!) I charged into battle with Lord Knossos and never looked back.
You may be forgiven if you’re not too familiar with Gigantic yet. Despite seeing ads and articles all over the place, the game is still very much in the closed beta stage, and you won’t see it broadcast live on Twitch or YouTube just yet. Similar to Smite, Gigantic is a 5v5 MOBA, but without minions and without towers. Instead each side of a fight has their own Gigantic (get it?) boss monster that slowly but surely works its way towards the other team’s base at different intervals. It’s your job as the opposing team to take down this big baddie and kill it before the other team kills yours. There are no items in Gigantic, but you do gain levels as you play and there are a multitude of different skills and buffs to choose from as you level your chosen hero.
Matches are a beautifully paced 15-20 minute thing, during which you’re liable to have at least several jaw-dropping moments of win or fail, no matter your skill level. I went 9-9-8 (Kill,Death,Assist) with Knossos which I don’t think was too bad for my first try. It probably helps that I was facing off against kindly devs and a mix of press on the other team.
There are also spots on the map where players can choose to call in assist units: healers, damage dealers, etc. These are the spots that can be fought over, akin to towers, but they’re not a focal point of the fight. Instead they’re optional, but very beneficial, spots on the Gigantic map that you and your team should work on securing and using together. The healer mobs can really come in handy, for instance.
The map is a beauty as well, with high vantage points, deep ravines, and lots of chokepoints to use to your benefit. With Gigantic controlling more like a third-person shooter I’d say there’s a load of player-skill involved here. Lord Knossos, for instance, is a mostly melee bruiser Hero, but his secondary attack is a spear throw that can really close the gap and kill fleeing enemies if used well.
I really enjoyed my brief match with Gigantic, even if my team wound up losing to an amazing comeback by the other team. If there’s any one thing I have to say is rough for Gigantic, it’s that its close 3rd person camera can be a real bother when you’re taking on the massive Gigantic Boss. It’s here that I’d like to see the camera pull back, or have it be toggled to do so, because the bosses are BIG and often clutter up the screen so that you can’t really tell what’s going on.
I’m content knowing that I’m not the biggest audience for Gigantic. My style of games is twofold most days: MMORPGs and Single Player RPGs. That’s just me. That said, I always appreciate when games take an established genre and try to turn it on its head the way Gigantic is trying. It’s risky though, most MOBA players like their game and convincing them to like a new game will not be easy. But with the style and panache that Gigantic has on its side, not to mention XB1 gaming as well, it just might be able to make a splash.