I have to admit, my experience with the MOBA scene is absolutely pathetic. I fail to watch any sort of professional eSport events centering on MOBA titles, and I have seldom even sat down to play any game in the genre. Yet, when playing Gigantic, the new free-2-play MOBA coming exclusively to Xbox One and Windows 10, I was readily able to recognize objects and gameplay mechanics. Although I was quickly overwhelmed by the objectives and mechanics in the title, by the end of my 25-minute match I felt that I had inherited an adequate understanding of what the game was aiming to accomplish.
The main objective of Gigantic centers on the idea of guardians. Each team has a guardian that they need to protect from annihilation. Once the guardian dies, the match ends. Interestingly enough, the guardian itself also takes part in the match. So, although your team’s objective is the obliteration of this guardian, the guardian will not fail to attack in return of any offensive maneuvers.
As a result, it is a rather terrible idea to just try to attack the enemy guardian, as the guardian is vastly more powerful at the beginning of a match than anyone on your team. Therefore, a vast majority of the match is used in preparation for a final assault. Players spend the majority of the match leveling up, building up a “power” bar, and devising various traps to use against the other team.
After building up several power bars, killing enough enemies, and laying an abundant number of traps, the final assault occurs. Both teams attempt to completely obliterate the enemy guardian. Although the end of the match is largely swayed by the competence of both teams for the previous 20 minutes, it is still possible for an underdog to claim victory in the final minutes of a match. By keeping play competitive, the game was consistently fun and engaging to play, though better play was obviously rewarded with a higher chance of success.
The gameplay of Gigantic itself is centered on third-person combat. There was a breadth of characters to choose from: some that used guns, others that used magic, and a few that were best for up-close melee. Each of the characters were splendidly well-balanced; however, the actual abilities of each of the combatants were what drew me in. Each fighter had about five different abilities they could use. This came especially handy during the fast-paced combat, as I was consistently switching up the attacks and strategies that I was utilizing. I could very easily see an in-depth community arise for Gigantic, as each of the characters had their own set of specificities that would lend them well to scrutinous breakdown.
Gigantic is a free to play title, which confuses me somewhat. After talking to one of the producers of the title, my questions were still somewhat unanswered. It seems like Gigantic will incorporate several different types of free-2-play elements. The title will feature microtransactions for various skins, as in other free-2-play titles, but also for in-game currency, and for various characters. The producer confirmed that the title will not incorporate any sort of “pay-2-win” elements; however, the game will definitely be pricier than some other free titles such as League of Legends.
On the whole, Gigantic is a quirky, creative, and engaging MOBA that may scratch the itch of Xbox fans. At the end of my demo, I still felt like I needed to play a few more matches of Gigantic in order to truly get an excellent grasp on the game. Being a MOBA, however, this feeling was wholly expected. Nevertheless, as a “free-2-play” title Gigantic has a very-low barrier to entry. From what I played today, I can wholeheartedly recommend a try to all those even remotely curious in entering the MOBA genre.