Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Genre: Action, Strategy
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Rating: T for Teen
Price: Free to Play
Gigantic is a free-to-play strategic hero shooter developed by Motiga. Teetering on the brink of cancellation a couple of years back, the game persevered and saw an official launch on July 20th, 2017. Gigantic mixes strategic, MOBA-like combat with fast-paced teamwork, strategy and skill, as players must work together and fight relentlessly to defeat the opposing team’s Guardian with spells, guns, and swords while simultaneously protecting their own Guardian.
Violence: All of the violence in the game is very Saturday morning cartoon-esque. There is little blood and no gore. There are some puffs of smoke, explosions, etc. but the game is otherwise very tame.
Language: There is no bad language in the game that I can recall. There might be some cheeky character quips that may not be ideal for younger children but no actual curse words are used.
Sexual Content: There is no sexual content in the game. All of the heroes released so far are appropriately dressed and there are no revealing outfits.
Spiritual Content: Characters use magic and spellcasting called witchcraft; they also summon creatures monsters, but there are no overt religious themes. The guardians are mythical, almost god-like creatures that you fight alongside during each match.
Positive Content: As this is a multiplayer game there is very little in the way of an actual story. However, the positive themes on display are teamwork, sacrifice, and hope.
At first glance Gigantic might look and feel like a MOBA. But the game shares more in common with games like Overwatch and the tower defense genre than anything else. While the game does feature 5 vs 5 online multiplayer gameplay, there are no three-lane maps and there is no need to buy gear and worry about how to build your character with certain items to gain an advantage. If anything, Gigantic is a very simplified, accessible MOBA-lite.
To ease players into the gameplay, Gigantic first tasks players with finishing a set of tutorials which teach the basics of gameplay, UI management, and tactics. Following the tutorials, players are able to enter into online matches or bot matches at will, or practice with certain characters in a small, confined PvE environment. Here players can hone their skills against other hero characters, creatures, and/or Guardians. Main attacks are mapped to the right trigger while the other abilities are activated using the left trigger and the bumper buttons. Each character’s ultimate ability is unlocked from the start but can only be activated as players gain kills and point during a match. Ultimate abilities are activated by pressing in on both thumbsticks while simultaneously pressing the right trigger.
Guardians are the focal point of matches in Gigantic. Acting like the home base in most MOBA games, the Guardians are living creatures which must be defended as you set out to attack the enemy team’s Guardian while capturing certain points on the map to summon team buffing creatures. Creatures set Gigantic apart from other titles of its ilk as they get rid of the cliche minions or creeps and replace them with creatures that can be summoned at certain capture points on the map. These creatures can either heal, build walls to keep enemies out of important areas, or pinpoint approaching enemy heroes. Creatures can even be upgraded using focus, a special meter that is filled by capturing points, spawning creatures, and killing enemies. As the focus gauge fills players can either upgrade creatures or unleash their ultimate ability.
As play goes on and teams acquire kills, summon creatures, and complete other actions that reward points, the enemy team’s Guardian is gradually weakened. Once a Guardian’s defenses are down, a Clash will occur. Clashes consist of one team on attack, and one on defense. The attacking team proceeds with their Guardian toward the enemy base where the attacking team’s Guardian will pin the enemy Guardian allowing it to take damage. In order to achieve victory, the attacking team must deplete the Guardian’s health completely in order to wound it. A Guardian can sustain a maximum of three wounds before collapsing in defeat. Essentially, this keeps games condensed to about three rounds of either attack or defense. However, equally matched teams can see matches drag on a bit longer as a tug of war can occur where each team alternates on attack and defense during each Clash until one team finally scores the third and final wound on the enemy Guardian.
The Heroes themselves are varied while still staying true to the genre roles and archetypes of other MOBAs and arena shooters. You have your standard ranged archer classes, tanks, mages, healers, and supports. However, Gigantic also introduces fighters, melee-focused characters who offer a range of attack, defense, and support skills to complement allies in battle. Tyto for example is an owl wielding a sword who boasts swiftness, quick strikes, and a spin attack that is good for wittling down the HP of a single foe or creating AOE damage against an enemy team. Meanwhile, Pakko is a playful, Yeti-like creature that can throw snowballs or attack opponents up close with his claws. He also has a slide move that allows him to slide away from danger and gain shields or even heal while sliding as players upgrade this ability.
While there is no shop at the home base like in many MOBA games, characters can be upgraded with skill cards that are earned between matches by accomplishing certain feats such as killing 25 opponents or winning 5 matches. These cards can offer additional stat boosts and bonuses when equipped to certain heroes. In-match upgrades are acquired over the course of play and each ability has two branching skill trees, which works in much the same way that Battleborn’s in-match upgrade system does. Most of these upgrades boil down to attack or defense archetypes as one side of the tree may offer buffs to players and/or their allies while another might debuff targeted enemies or add bleeding or burning effects to attacks.
As Gigantic just launched from Beta on July 20th, there are only 19 of 24 heroes available so far. Just like with any free to play game, there are various founders packs and bundles with which to purchase all heroes, or a mixture with all heroes, some hero skins, and a bit of in-game currency. As we were graciously provided with a code from the developer for the Ultimate Pack for Gigantic, I was able to access all currently released heroes, and any future heroes, right from the start as well as a few skins for certain characters.
Gigantic is the most fun I have had playing a MOBA-like strategic shooter in some time. The community currently is very friendly and most players generally know how to play and where to go during a match. Ganking is still a very real threat in this game, so it is best to stick with your team and only break off if there is a chance to flank a lone attacker with a couple of teammates. However, while the three lane system is gone, thus far there is only one map available. This makes the game a bit of slog in longer sessions as seeing the same map layout over and over again only offers so many avenues for ambushes and defensive maneuvers before players have seen all there is to see when it comes to attack and defense strategies.
In its current state, Gigantic is off to a great start. I am eager to see how the game grows and catches on with the larger community of gamers and fans of MOBAs in general. This game shakes up the genre so much simply by being largely more accessible as an entry level MOBA for players who may have never dabbled in the genre before. Fans of games like Smite and Overwatch, will likely find enjoyment in Gigantic.
The Bottom Line
Gigantic is a unique take on an otherwise oversaturated genre. Offering new types of gameplay that are best in short bursts (there are no 45-60 minute matches here) Gigantic is accessible to players of all ages and skill levels. For MOBA veterans there is alot to like, just as complete newcomers to the genre will find enjoyment with the diverse selection of characters and fast, familiar gameplay that feels more like Overwatch than a MOBA.