With games like Battleborn, Overwatch and now Gigantic all peeking their heads over the hills of the near future, gamers are going to have their hands full trying to pick which titles they lend their loyalty to. While every title has its own minor differences, they each create similar experiences through a focus on teamwork, real-time combat and quick, skilled reflexes. It was Power Up Gaming’s privilege and honor to test out Gigantic in all of its 5-on-5, guardian defending glory and bring to you a hands-on impression after E3 2015.
Upon first starting up Gigantic and getting to the character select screen, one thing is made abundantly clear: a terrible amount of effort and attention to detail was put into each hero. From Tyto the Swift, a masked assassin who relies on reflexes and agility to Voden, a satyr-like creature who uses long-distance archery and tricks to dispatch his foes, each and every character not only exudes their personality visually through a rich array of colors and unique costume choices, but–more importantly–through stylized combat and stats.
PUG decided to choose Voden in their hands-on time with Gigantic and he is every bit as much of a tricky archer as the game advertises him to be. He nimbly trots and bounds through the stage like the half-man, half-goat he is and excels in ranged combat, killing many foes from a distance before they have the chance to run away. Of course, Voden does struggle with close quarters combat but has the proper tools to avoid such situations at all costs. One of Voden’s skills allows him to create a clone on the battlefield while another summons a geyser beneath him that not only gives him an immensely boosted jump, but also gradually heals him.
The depth to which each hero is shown is quite incredible and will surely have serious players experimenting with the game’s roster to find the best fit for their specific play style. Not only will players be searching for their best match, but they’ll also be searching for the best team match as certain heroes mesh better with others and result in a more satisfying team composition. This adds replayability to Gigantic before the game even begins and will create a desire for DLC characters as the game’s competitive scene matures and evolves. But before we get into that it would only make sense to talk about how the game works.
In Gigantic, two teams of five players will face off against each other on a multitude of maps. Players will do their best to capture areas, eliminate enemy heroes and, most importantly, deal damage to and ultimately slay the opposing team’s guardian, a massive creature that needs to both be defended and used to attack the enemy guardian in order to win. When heroes complete any of these objectives, their guardian will build up energy so it can either defend or attack. For instance, when a guardian captures a base it will summon a small creature to defend the base. This will then grant the team’s guardian some energy, leaving it better suited to attack or defend. So the more objectives completed, the better the team’s chances of victory.
Of course, that’s easier said than done and in order to truly be victorious, teams will have to do their best to communicate and cooperate. One of the most important aspects of Gigantic is knowing when to split up or stand together. It might be easier to capture multiple bases while separated, but it will also leave individuals vulnerable to being outnumbered. Another crucial aspect to playing Gigantic is knowing how each hero will complement one another. Voden, for example, pairs up with the tank Margrave, quite nicely because he adds to the already massive amount of damage being put out. In our hands-on, this would often times lead to an enemy death because they wouldn’t realize they were in danger until it was too late. This balance between lone wolf play and cohesive teamwork will separate great teams from good ones and will give beginner teams a goal to strive for.
Of course, this difference in play is also dictated by how certain players level up their heroes in order to not only maximize their ability to be a team player, but to also counteract whatever strategy the enemy team has. This leads us to Gigantic’s leveling system. As the game progresses and objectives are completed, teams will gain experience and level up at about the same pace, with the best players on each team being a level or two above the rest of the group. Upon leveling up, players are given skill points to spend on, you guessed it, better skills. However, not everybody who plays Voden will level him up the same way every time. If you’re going for a more offensive approach, you can level up his poison cloud ability to do more damage and have a wider area of effect. You can also level up his passive ability to do more damage with each arrow. The combination of abilities would then allow for you to rush enemy players and take them out quicker, whereas if your team needed more help on defense you might want to level up his hidden spring ability so you can create a safe zone for yourself and other teammates to rely on in the heat of battle. There’s no right or wrong way to level up a hero, and true character understanding will come down to knowing which build will solve which particular problem you’re facing that round.
As a whole, Gigantic is an insanely fun, fast-paced game that is nothing less than pure addiction. Once you’ve played a round and have found a few friends to make a team with, you’ll be coming back game after game wondering what you can do next time to maximize your usefulness. And even if you don’t take the game that seriously you’ll be more than happy enjoying the character and level design to care that you’re getting your butt handed to you on a silver platter.
A lot of love has gone into this game and you can fully expect much more to go into it before and far after launch. If you’re looking forward to the influx of third-and first-person Moba shooters like this, make no mistake that Gigantic will be a formidable contender. Do yourself a favor and be sure to check this one out.
For more Gigantic information, visit Gigantic’s website here.