Gigantic Makes an Heroic Return with Rampage Edition

Gigantic Rampage Edition Preview

Sometimes games release at just the right time or fill a neglected niche, and strike gold with gamers. Other games are less fortunate. They might be quality products, but poor timing, lack of marketing, or simply bad luck dooms them to failure. While 2016’s Gigantic wasn’t a failure, it was a stylized multiplayer hero shooter that was released soon after the mega-popular Overwatch. Although it began development before Blizzard’s game, Gigantic was dismissed by many as a knockoff. There were even unfounded accusations of plagiarism.

Bad Luck Happens to Great Games

The truth is that while Gigantic certainly shared some elements with Overwatch, as did all games in the genre, it also had a large number of unique mechanics and a very attractive art style. Most disappointing was the fact that, while it never found the esports niche or massive success of Overwatch, Gigantic absolutely had a devoted and enthusiastic player base that would have happily kept playing. Unfortunately, the plug was pulled on servers in 2018.

Those disappointed Gigantic fans should rejoice, because Gearbox has decided to resurrect the game in the form of Gigantic: Rampage Edition. Given that the hero shooter genre has settled down a bit, with few standout games released in the past few years, Gigantic’s timing couldn’t be better. Second chances are rare, and Gigantic deserves one.

Company of Heroes

There are no doubt many players who missed Gigantic the first time around. It’s a team-based hero shooter that folds in some mechanics from MOBAs as well. In Gigantic: Rampage Edition, two teams of heroes protect a massive and powerful Guardian, while attempting to destroy the enemy’s Guardian. It’s a variation of many classic competitive multiplayer games but it has a lot of depth. There are a series of control points to capture and defend, each giving both the players and the team additional power. The maps are also populated by monsters to fight. Everything is on a timer and at the end, the match turns into a “rampage” focused on defending or attacking the Guardian.

There are nearly two dozen heroes, divided into the usual types of front-line, ranged, and support roles. As is common, players can pick and upgrade a favorite character throughout the match or switch heroes as needed. While the heroes might not feel quite as immediately distinctive as those of Overwatch, a little bit of time and several matches are all it takes to find a character or two that really resonate. New heroes include human fighter Roland and feline Kajir.

During a recent preview event, I played (very poorly) a series of matches with the developers, and I can attest that the game is fast, furious, and a lot of fun, even for struggling newbs. Obviously, learning the intricacies of the maps and heroes takes time, good teamwork, and communication. 

Good Cartoony Fun

The original Gigantic had a timeless, colorful art style. Rampage Edition doesn’t change that. It preserves the same, light-hearted visual aesthetic and bold designs for levels and heroes. Speaking of level design, they’re excellent, and the new version tosses in two new maps. Picaro Bay is a breezy seaside map with verticality, narrow alleyways,
and a pirate ship for waging fast-paced clashes. Heaven’s Ward A is a heavily industrialized district that showcases an old power plant, warehouses, and factories. There are many nooks and crannies, perfect for ambushes and sniping.

What else is new? Maybe the best change is the elimination of microtransactions. There are new customization features, with a ranked mode and additional skins on the way. A very exciting addition is an entirely new mode called Rush. Rush streamlines the Gigantic experience and it’s breakneck-paced, action-packed, and perfect for casual players. I can attest from personal experience that it’s a blast to play and a great platform for learning the maps and strategy. Classic Gigantic mode Clash remains the game’s centerpiece, of course.

A Gigantic Opportunity

For whatever reason, I — like a lot of gamers — missed out on Gigantic the first time around. After playing a bit of Gigantic: Rampage Edition, the game is squarely on my radar now. Games get remakes and reboots all the time. Gigantic is one of those games that really deserves a second chance.

Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.

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