Gigantic is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) with colorful heroes who fight alongside huge monsters. It's action-packed, and approachable (at least as far as MOBAs go).
Gigantic is a multiplayer-only online game. Before you can play with others, you need to complete a tutorial. It lasts about 20 to 25 minutes and explains the various combat mechanics and how matches work.
Although the tutorial is pretty good, the default volume level is too quiet and there are no subtitles, so you might miss some important information if you don't adjust the volume first. A few of the instructions (such as how to upgrade creatures) are a bit too vague, but otherwise it prepares you for your first match.
All matches in Gigantic are five versus five. Your initial few matches will be limited to bot matches, though – five human players against a team of bots. That's definitely the right way to get used to the game, as the bot difficulty is quite reasonable. My matchmade teams win most of the bot matches we participate in. These victories get you player XP, or hero XP for the currently selected character.
After completing enough bot matches to level up your player profile, you'll finally be able to join regular player versus player (PvP) matches. Gigantic only offers those two game types (as well as a practice mode), which is awfully limited compared to Smite's six or more modes. The basic PvP mode tends to be the main attraction of most MOBAs, but some different ways to play would certainly help keep Gigantic fresh. Now that the game has fully launched, let's hope a few more modes will be forthcoming.
Battle of the giants
Gigantic is a third-person action and shooter-style MOBA. The big difference between this one and other MOBAs is right there in the title: the giants. Each of the two teams serves a gigantic creature called a guardian. Currently, there are only two guardians - a griffin and a naga (snake creature). Given the inherently cool concept of fighting alongside giants, it would be cool if the game added more guardians in the future.
Each side's guardian stays at the base where members of that team spawn. Under normal circumstances, they don't do much besides attack any members of the opposing team who get too close. But as each team earns power points from kills and other tasks, the giants eventually take a more active role.
When your points reach a certain total, your guardian will rampage and attack the other guardian and pin it down for a short time. At this point, the pinned guardian becomes vulnerable to player attacks. Deal enough damage before the enemy guardian gets up and you'll score a wound on it, moving one step closer to victory.
When either guardian has only one wound left, the battle shifts to the Clash phase. Both guardians will move to the center of the arena, knocking down walls and changing the shape of the map. Each team still has to earn points to charge up their guardian's rampage, but it's definitely an exciting climax to the battle.
Creatures and combat
On top of the gigantic creatures that determine the outcome of the battle, each side can also summon smaller creatures at certain points on the map. You can choose between three equipped creatures, which serve different functions like healing nearby players, highlighting nearby enemy players, and erecting gates that make it harder for enemies to move around your base. These creatures defend themselves in combat and can be leveled up once to improve their effectiveness. But they also provide power points to the enemy when killed, so they need to be defended as well.
Combat in Gigantic involves the use of four primary skills (assigned to the bumpers and triggers when playing with a controller), a focus attack (a super move charged by killing enemies), and a dodge. Dashing and dodging consume stamina, so you can't just dodge like crazy. I feel like dodging should move you farther out of the way than it does, but you get used to the way it works.
All four of a hero's skills and their focus attack can be leveled up for the duration of the match with skill points earned as your team accomplishes objectives. Each skill has a total of four possible upgrades, but you can only choose two of them. This allows you to focus some characters' roles more on attack or support based on how you upgrade their skills. You can also just auto-spend individual skill points, but your build won't be as effective that way.
Heroes, Fortune Cards, and in-game purchases
At launch, Gigantic features 19 playable heroes – and you can expect more to be added in the future. These encompass a variety of classes and combat styles, including melee, shooters, healers, stealthy assassins, and more.
Being a free-to-play MOBA, a rotating handful of heroes are freely available at any given time. If you want to keep a character for good, you'll have to buy them with in-game currency or via a paid DLC pack. Two members of a team can't play as the same hero, so you'll actually want to find a stable of five characters you can comfortably choose from when the need arises.
Naturally, dedicated players can earn currency for free in a couple of ways, such as by winning matches. But Gigantic also has a clever mission system based on Fortune Cards. At any given time, you can have seven active cards. Completing a card's objective gets you XP and currency. You then get to replace it with your choice from three randomly drawn cards. That player choice makes Fortune Cards more enjoyable than typical mission systems found in other free-to-play games.
Gigantic has always been a promising title, though its future was in doubt when developer Motiga ran into financial troubles a while back. Thankfully, the good folks at Perfect World stepped in to publish the game and secure its release. Now Gigantic is officially complete, though it will continue to grow with the release of new characters and content as time goes on.
The final game turned out really well, with tight gameplay and a great selection of characters. The matchmaking problems we experienced during the beta have cleared up too. That said, Gigantic needs more variety. With only three maps and two modes, it can get a little repetitive after a few hours. Hopefully those concerns will be addressed via future updates, because this game could certainly give Smite a run for its money if it ever catches up on volume. It's already a gigantic good time, so give it a try!
Gigantic is free on Xbox One and Windows 10, with full Xbox Play Anywhere support. If you want to buy some heroes straight away instead of relying on the rotating free set, you can choose from a few character packs. The Starter Pack sells for $9.99 and includes eight characters and other bonuses. The $29.99 Ultimate Pack includes access to all characters that will ever be released for the game, as well as additional bonuses like exclusive skins and boosts.
- Action-packed online battles against enemy players or bots.
- A great art style with gorgeous characters, colors, and monsters.
- The gigantic Guardians add a fun twist to traditional MOBA gameplay.
- Only two modes and three maps at launch, so the game can get a little repetitive.
- I had a hard time finding a character I really liked to play.
- Some text is too small for couch players.
- See Gigantic on the Windows Store
- See Gigantic Starter Pack on the Windows Store
- See Gigantic Ultimate Pack on the Windows Store
Gigantic Ultimate Pack provided by the publisher for review.
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