Written by Andrew Busch // Edited by Andrew Dunaway // Images courtesy of Mortiga
Indie studio, Mortiga’s first venture is an action-MOBA called Gigantic that might change your perception of free-to-play games. This title takes the formula for classic MOBAs and puts a much-needed twist on a genre that is difficult for beginners with its many nuances and complexities. Instead of thrusting you into the middle of things, Gigantic eases you into its world and even makes the genre a little more familiar with its accessible as well as addictive third-person combat.
However, this game is not just for casual players because Gigantic actually takes practice to perfect each character’s numerous ability combinations and upgrade trees. You won’t be spending months your character like you can with League of Legends or DOTA, but it can still take some time to know the most powerful combinations of upgrades for each hero or the different ways that characters can be the most effective in combat.
That being said, the upgrade system is not as in-depth as more hardcore players may want. In a similar style to Battleborne, Gigantic allows players to earn upgrade points as a match progresses. After gaining points they can be allocated to any ability, and each ability has two separate skill trees. For example, you could upgrade an attack to have a higher chance to do critical hit damage or have the same attack cause bleed damage on impact. While these choices do have a positive effect on the overall performance of your characters, there is not much room to differentiate yourself with your choices. As a result, I wish Gigantic offered more opportunities for each character to have different specializations instead of taking this jack-of-all-trades approach with its upgrade system. I think that giving the player just a little bit more freedom would create some brilliant ability combinations and add a further layer of strategy to the game.
And while the ability progression is bit of a letdown, Gigantic’s creative gameplay and humongous mythical beasts dubbed “Guardians” will keep you re-queueing at the end of each match. But what are Guardians? Like other MOBA games, Gigantic’s Guardians serve as objectives or giant bosses for your team to take down. But this is a much more difficult task than simply running up to the enemy monster and firing everything you have at it. In the game’s basic 5v5 mode both teams are tasked with capturing objectives and eliminating enemy players until their Guardian builds up enough power to go on the offensive.
During this epic moment, your humungous creature flies gracefully to the other side of the map where it pins down the opposing guardian with a sick move straight out of a WWE playbook. This attack leaves the enemy guardian vulnerable, and your team has a few precious moments to deal damage and inflict a wound. When three wounds are dealt you win a match.
It all sounds simple enough, but the multiphase combat and the combination of game-modes happening simultaneously gives Gigantic’s gameplay a degree of addicting complexity. And even though there is currently only one mode, I never got tired of its gameplay despite the ten-or-so hours I spent in multiplayer.
Additionally, Gigantic’s unique characters also maintain the thrill of combat while differentiating it from other character-based games. Unlike Overwatch that features mostly human characters, Gigantic has a nice balance of human, animal, and even celestial heroes. I naturally settled on a couple favorites; the swashbuckling Tyto the Swift and the sniper-healer combo, Voden. Tyto is a confident and cocky sword-wielding owl complete with his pet, Fang, that sits on his shoulder. He utilizes his quick movement speed to get up close and deal some devastating sword combos. He can even throw Fang for a ranged attack or a finishing move. On the other hand, Voden is a forest-lord with the appearance of a fox-antelope hybrid. His weapon of choice is a bow-and-arrow for ranged attacks. He also uses his connection to the forest to summon healing pools for his teammates, create a decoy of himself, or deploy a cloud of poison gas. Moreover, each hero in Gigantic has a unique personality and playstyle that matches their clever character designs. And while I don’t have time to explain how every character works, I can tell you that each of the six or seven I have played so far are immensely enjoyable. I am definitely looking forward to exploring even more of these heroes as well as the new characters that will be released periodically in new updates.
Gigantic is an enjoyable take on classic MOBAs with its straightforward controls, fluid action, and simple team-based combat. It is a game that maintains accessibility for beginners while allowing more invested players to work on ability combinations and character mastery. At the same time, Gigantic still has some room for improvement. A few heroes need some well-deserved balancing (plz nerf Beckett) and a couple of new game modes would really help ease more skeptical players into trying out the game. But despite its flaws, I would still recommend this game to everyone that loves multiplayer action and fast-paced combat. Gigantic is some of the most fun you can have right now for free on both PC and Xbox One.