A couple of days ago, I wrote a piece on Lawbreakers, in which I said that the hero shooter is becoming stale and that it takes something very unique in a variety of ways in order to really stand out. Well I said that before trying out Gigantic, which to be honest after my underwhelming experience with Lawbreakers, I almost completely passed by! I went in expecting a game that was ‘decent’ that I’d play for a little while, but ultimately I’d let slide along with other games such as Paragon or Smite. Rather impressively though, Gigantic has actually completely won me over. So let me explain why!
The problem I’ve had with a lot of these games in recent years, has been that they set out first and foremost to be these highly competitive, complex games with high skill caps. That isn’t at all intrinsically a bad thing, however in this current market where games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends and Counter Strike exist, being presented with a game that brings yet ANOTHER skill wall to the table can be exhausting. For example, I’ve played League of Legends for 3 years, and while I wouldn’t consider myself THAT good at it, I’ve come to understand the game to a pretty decent level, but that’s taken over 3 YEARS!
So when presented with something like DOTA, when I look at it and read into it, my usual reaction is ‘I’m sure this is great, but I just do not want to invest that amount of time into something when I’ve already done it with one game already (League)’. Which, to me, is why Gigantic is so damn refreshing. It takes a smaller scale, tighter focus to it’s gameplay. It has, at the time of this article, a small-ish hero pool. It has a detailed, well narrated tutorial mode that will teach you how a PvP match will unfold and what to expect. With just those 3 things included, the game has already solved many of the problems that a modern ‘hero based game’ can have.
So, What IS Gigantic?
Well as I mentioned before, Gigantic is a MOBA esque, third person, hero based, arena game with some elements of a hero shooter. Each player controls a hero, from a list of about 20. These heroes, as usual, can differ immensely, with the most obvious differences being melee vs ranged. The gameplay isn’t like a conventional MOBA though, where the vast majority of abilities have a set range before they vanish into thin air. Snipers in Gigantic really can snipe across the map, and projectiles can be flung as far as your arm can throw them. Also there are no lanes, creeps, turrets, or anything else that you’ve come to expect from the genre.
Gigantic then, is best described as an ‘Arena’ game, with the gameplay being a lot more free form and less restricted than many games of it’s type out there. In recent memory, games like Battleborn felt very claustrophobic, as do many MOBA’s that tie you down and restrict you to set movement. Obviously that sort of gameplay complements the mechanics of the game, such as in League or DOTA’s case, so I’m not saying that’s a detriment to either of those games, but it’s nice to feel a sense of openness and freedom to the bouncy 3rd person gameplay of Gigantic.
Macro VS Micro
Just to explain for those not well versed in the genre, ‘Micro’ gameplay in games such as this describe the actual gameplay of the heroes themselves. For example, how do they control, how do their abilities work, etc. Having ‘good micro’ is the ability to control your hero effectively and to be able to outplay enemies with your epic skillz (trademark). ‘Macro’ is your ability to ‘play the map’. This can include having good game sense, knowing where enemies are, knowing what objectives are the most efficient to attack/defend at that moment, and essentially having great knowledge of the overall battlefield.
So, how does micro Gigantic gameplay actually play out? Well on a micro level, you control a hero from third person, who has 5 abilities: a basic attack, 3 special abilities, and a ‘focus’ attack which can be used either as an ultimate, or to upgrade one of your ‘creatures’ which I’ll explain in a moment. The gameplay feels fantastic, with your hero being able to jump over any terrain you like, the abilities are responsive and it’s just so different from the set ‘channeling’ and slow paced nature of other games in the genre. Of course it’s all personal preference, but I can tell you that in my opinion, controlling your hero in Gigantic is as clean and as crisp as it could be.
But, what is the actual objective of Gigantic? Well that’s where the game gets it’s name. Each team of 5 represent a ‘house’, much like the houses of Game of Thrones or some other fantasy shit. The two houses in the game at the moment are ‘House Aurion’ and ‘House Devaedra’. Each one of these houses is led by a Guadrian, a gigantic (heh) creature that has summoned you to fight in it’s name, and to protect the sanctity of it’s house. Aurion’s guardian is a Hippogriff named Leiran and Devaedra’s guardian is a worm/dragon thing known as Grenn. Your objective? Kill your rival’s guardian, and keep your guardian alive.
Whilst in game, you earn points by killing enemy heroes, or by killing certain creatures that you and the enemy can build on set areas of the arena to grant you certain bonuses, such as building gates to prevent enemy movement, revealing the enemy’s position, or healing you up after an especially nasty fight. Eliminating heroes or creatures grant your team a different number of points, and once you reach 100, your guardian (with their wonderfully epic voice acting) will say ‘So much power..it is time to attack’. Your guardian will then do a spectacularly well animated charge across the arena and ‘pin’ the enemies guardian exposing its’ weak point, and then it’s your time to basically beat the shit out of it until it loses one of it’s hearts. You also need to defend your guardian from the enemy when they attack, should they get 100 points first. The first team to wound the enemy guardian 3 times, wins.
Basically, Play It!
I’m not sure how it sounds in text, but it’s really very simple, but not at all in a bad way. I’m sure you can actually go deeper into this game if you wanted, but I don’t see that as the point. Gigantic is first and foremost a fun, simple multiplayer game with quick matches (about 20 minutes each). You can tell it’s designed to be fun, and not designed to be the ‘next big E-Sport’, and nowadays that’s extremely refreshing with basically every game shoving tournaments and leagues in your face. So, the TL;DR is, if you’re into this kind of game, and you’ve passed this one up thinking it’s more of the same, I’d absolutely give it a try. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised!