The development story behind “Gigantic” is a peculiar one. The developer, Motiga, announced this game many years back – 2014 to be precise – stating a clear release date in 2015 and showing off a pretty advanced gameplay trailer of their new MOBA. With the trailer it became clear that Gigantic was going to do things quite differently: no lane minions, no item builds and no complicated mechanics – just 10 heroes and their “Guardians” battling it out, all wrapped in a unique design that distinguished the game from the competition, hardly even qualifying as MOBA anymore. although the formula was bold and different, it was apparently not enough for Motiga to succeed against the huge competition of Smite, Dota and LOL – maybe also because of miscalculation and internal design struggles.
Whatever the reason, in 2015, when the game was supposed to release, things turned silent all of a sudden. As it turned out to developers obviously struggled with financial problems, which almost got the project axed. This was most-likely due to the Win10 / Xbox1 exclusivity contract with Microsoft, which turned out to be a rather bad business decision when it comes to reaching a wide audience. Eventually the game got delayed to 2016 and the studio had to cut staff to make ends meet. It was safe to say that things were not looking good for Gigantic at all.
But even as the project funding reached zero, the developers continued going to work, showing their dedication to the project. And it came to fruition: Perfect World Entertainment (PWE) took over their contract, solving the financial situation as well as the exclusivity disaster. A small nitpick however remained: Gigantic is tied to the “Arc” client which features very few PWE-exclusive games. Quite understandably people asked for Steam support, and in 2017 this call was heard – well at least partially. Steam is now supported, but an Arc account (and the client) are still required to be installed alongside Steam. This may not be a minor gripe for some people, but trust me – Gigantic is worth it.
New rules to learn
So what is Gigantic exactly? In one word: different at first, hard to grasp in its concepts, but not all that hard to learn. Aside from its unique (and gorgeous) aesthetics the game introduces a lot of new ideas while throwing a lot of genre dead weight overboard. In Gigantic the typical turrets and lanes are replaced with creatures which you have to summon (or “gestate”) on predefined points. These creatures give various benefits, such as revealing enemies, healing your hero or blocking off paths. They can fight on their own, but when killed give the enemy’s guardian energy, so they must be constantly protected and summoned only when the situation allows. Killing enemy heroes or collecting energy which your creatures produce can also charge your guardian. Topping off the energy bar before your enemies do will make your guardian attack the opposing teams counterpart (called “rampage”), pinning it down for you to inflict damage upon.
It takes some getting used to, but after a few rounds you will see the ingenuity behind this system and appreciate the fresh feel to it. The game’s main premise creates a steady flow of combat, forcing you to constantly make strategic decisions: focus on enemy heroes, gaining energy for kills, or instead, control more creature points which grant energy production but also require you to defend a wider area.
It’s a smart system that completely focuses fights on chokepoints while getting rid of unnecessary downtime mechanics such as gold farming, minions or other side-objectives. While hero composition matters a great deal, in the end it all comes down to your team’s capability to act together. Expend all your team’s resources to get that last creature or kill and no one might be capable to inflict damage on the enemy guardian. Play passive and the enemy team will take advantage by defeating weaker creature points or try to backdoor with one of the game’s more agile heroes. Due to this the game allows for a variety of tactics which all keep each match interesting and fast-paced up until the very end. A strict timer will also ensure that the rounds are kept short, making the guardians “clash” in a small arena after a certain time, ending the game quite quickly.
Unique heroes to master
Which brings me to the combat system: as stated before, Gigantic is a very fast-paced game. Your hero has a stamina bar, which is depleted with in-fight moves, sprints and evasion maneuvers. Knowing when to attack or retreat therefore plays a huge role, as there’s nothing worse as finding yourself in midst of the enemy heroes with no stamina or cooldown at your disposal. Managing your stamina is as important as your 4 talents plus a focus talent (ultimate), all of which can be greatly altered and further improved with meaningful talent choices. Combine the huge selection of available talents with the current roster of 19 characters (with one new hero promised per month) and you get a huge variety of play styles for every taste.
And speaking of character: I cannot overstate the point that the characters and their personality are a huge part of Gigantic’s appeal. May it be a huge yeti, a spear-wielding bull or a Frog that knows Kung-Fu – each hero has its own unique colorful design, stature, and vivid animations to go along. You cannot help but smile when you see them at work, gracefully evading, jumping or just running along. There are characters with accessible move sets or complex combo-oriented beasts that challenge you to master them, support heroes or loner assassin types. The roster caters to every players taste, which in turn makes it very interesting to find out how your personal taste corresponds the game’s fresh mechanics. In the end you might even end up playing something outside your comfort zone just because Gigantic handles things so differently.
The spoils of war
So we have: new mechanics, a huge roster, loads of new ideas. But what about the F2P-business model? Surprisingly very conservative – in the best sense of the word. Playing games and finishing Tarot-cards (which act as mission objectives) earns you in-game currency (Crowns), which can be used to unlock new heroes, creatures or even most skins (!). The only things that in-game currency (Rubies) gets you are some selected exclusive skins and account XP boosters, which have no actual effect on the in-game-performance or gameplay.
To cut things short: The F2P model in Gigantic is absolutely exemplary and bullshit-free: No obscure RNG-mechanics, no enforced way of playing or grinding, no buy-to-win mechanics or hidden shop traps. It’s all there, clear and easy to understand for everyone to support. And stating that I haven’t mentioned the best part about it: you can buy an “Ultimate Pack” for 30$ which unlocks all heroes now and in future, which is a great deal if you want to support Motiga and not care about the F2P-details in the future.
So in case my review wasn’t clear at this point: go check the game out – it feels fresh, it’s original and it’s free! The devs seem to be an awesome bunch, constantly listenting and interacting with the community. Try it, you won’t regret it!
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Of course you can also message me ingame so we can play together. My IGN is “Fennyface”.
Resources and Links
- The official Website
- The official Subreddit
- A few guides to get you started
- Official Youtube channel