Hands-On Preview: Gigantic
While the game doesn’t quite fit the definition of MOBA, Gigantic is very much a competitive multiplayer action game. There are no creeps, no base to destroy, and no lanes to push on the map offered. Instead, the focus of Gigantic is to power up your guardian to attack the opposing team’s guardian and whittle away its health. You power up the guardian by killing enemies and holding onto specific points on the map. At these predetermined points you can summon a creature to heal, stun and reveal enemies, or shoot fire at them. There are only a handful of these locations and they become hotly contested areas as you encroach on the enemies spawn location. And thankfully there is no spawn killing as both teams begin on a platform that has a one way exit that bounces you into the action.
Once you have gathered enough energy for your guardian, it will make its way towards its opposition, eventually knocking it down and opening up the chance for you to deal damage. If done correctly, your team will eliminate an entire health bar, of which there are three, during that time of vulnerability. If not, then you leave the enemy team open to pull ahead, as once the health reaches a certain point, i.e. 1/3 is fully depleted, the guardian will get up and once again become invulnerable. This means even if you left a sliver of that 1/3, you won’t be able to touch the other 2/3 until you have taken care of that small amount of health. This pushes teamwork, as only a full team can adequately deal out maximum damage in the small amount of time given.
Moment to moment gameplay consists of trying to outdo the enemy. In the match I played I chose Charnok, a dragon/sorcerer with high damage output. Your skills are assigned to the triggers, with L3 and R3 combined activating your most powerful ability, in my case, a pillar of flame that marches forward dealing massive damage. My base attack was shooting out a pelt of fire, which could be charged up by holding the trigger and releasing. Left trigger caused my character to spew flame from its mouth, right bumper gave me an extra boost to my jumps, and left bumper called down fire in an area of effect attack. Each has their own cooldown, which can be easily referenced not only on the bottom part of the screen, but also along the reticule in numbers. This ensures that you won’t have to look away from the main portion of the screen to check on cooldowns. Each skill can also be upgraded down a different branch, having you choose between a variety of modifiers. For example I could cause my flame breath to block projectiles, or shorten its reach but increase the damage dealt.
Matches last about 15-20 minutes, and developer Motiga is aiming for a competitive game that allows for upsets and underdog moments from a losing team. Currently there are 16 heroes to choose from, with enough variety in both playstyle and look that anyone is sure to find something they like. Cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows is an opt-in option for those who don’t mind facing off against PC users. There will be multiple maps, with the one shown on the floor and in the hands-off demo I saw being a desert canyon with lots of side track paths to potentially sneak around in. The art style is very defined and colorful, almost capturing that timeless look of The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker. Unfortunately Gigantic does not have a release date, although they hope to put the game out this holiday season. I hope so as well, but in the meantime I’ll wait for the beta access on Xbox One, as Gigantic is now something I want to play more and more of.