There’s a running joke amongst my friends that comes back to haunt me every once in a while. A few years ago, before I was tainted by their salt mines, I said that I wasn’t such a big fan of MOBAs; the repetitive gameplay, the constant grinding to unlock characters, and the hour-long games you really need to set time aside for all turned me away. But after a while, I was persuaded to install a MOBA called SMITE and give that a quick run. That was a few years ago, I’ve since given nearly a thousand hours of my life to that cursed game, and given my friends an endless supply of jokes to make at my expense.
Gigantic falls into the same category of MOBA as SMITE, of being third-person to pull you straight into the action instead of hovering above it all and clicking up a storm. But does it also have the same addictive gameplay that made me shun all my social obligations?
As with most MOBAs, the story of Gigantic falls by the wayside a bit in favor of gameplay, which itself is very different than your typical MOBA. There are no lanes, no jungles, and no minions to last hit for gold because there is no currency to spend; nor any items to buy. Instead, you have a map with two guardians (i.e. a nexus/core) that you must ‘wound’ three times to win. The mechanics for this can be a lot to take in at first, and it’s currently the only game mode, so bear with me.
To wound the enemy guardian, you must race the enemy team to power up your own guardian with energy gathered from killing players, destroying enemy structures, or collecting energy from nodes spread across the map. There are several of these nodes dotted throughout the entire map, with three given to both you and the opposing team, and a few neutral nodes for you to fight over. You can build upgradeable structures on these nodes to give you an advantage in a fight, with buildings to heal you, to erect walls in choke points, or to give you vision over a certain area.
“In a market swamped in MOBAs, Motiga have made a game that might just be unique enough to stand out on its own. “
The reason these nodes are so important is that a constant supply of extra energy is delivered through them, and your structures can collect these for your team, so they can focus on the more important things like dying for the tenth time this match. Your enemies are also able to destroy your structures and steal the energy from your own nodes, leaving you at an energy deficit.
As with all MOBAs, you must work together as a team and coordinate attacks on enemy structures, or to defend your own. Gigantic realizes this and has implemented an in-game voice guided system, which allows players to quickly coordinate with their teammates. Sadly, the VGS seems to be currently lacking. It doesn’t have as many options as Smite’s, which lets players coordinate attacks on specific targets, instead of just yelling attack and hoping the team understands where you’re off to.
After collecting one-hundred energy, your guardian will be fully charged and will make its way across the map to your enemy’s guardian. When it gets there, it will pin their guardian to the ground and briefly expose a weak spot for your team to attack. Any energy the enemy team had collected previously isn’t wasted, instead, it gets used as a shield to buffer their guardian’s health bar. You’ll need to do this multiple times to wipe out their three life points and claim the victory.
Gigantic follows Smite’s business model of allowing you to pay $29.99 to unlock all the current heroes and all future heroes for life or paying $9.99 to unlock a select eight of them. This drastically reduces the god-awful MOBA grind to be able to afford the character that you want to play. Of course, you don’t need to buy the package if you just want to play. Not only does Gigantic rotate certain heroes to be free-to-play, but they have daily rewards for playing which help you afford all the new characters. These rewards come in the form of fortune cards, which set challenges for you to complete during matches and give you prizes in the form of extra currency and experience. The challenges themselves range from a certain amount of assists in a match to kills with a certain hero, which incentivizes increasing your hero pool and trying out more characters.
“Each guardian feels so unique and fleshed out. None of them feel like carbon copies of other characters ripped straight from different video games.”
The controls for Gigantic are very standard, with movement bound to WASD, the option to sprint mapped to left shift, jumping is bound to spacebar, and your abilities set to LMB, RMB, Q, and E, with an ultimate ability bound to F. Sprinting and jumping makes moving around the large maps very fluid and fun, but it uses up energy that doesn’t regenerate during combat, so doing it too much will leave you stranded behind enemy lines. Your ultimate ability is ready from the get-go but needs focus charges to use them. Focus builds up throughout the game based on your contribution to the match, similar to Overwatch. The difference for Gigantic is that you can these charges to upgrade your structures into something more useful for the team; allowing the healing structure to heal more, for example. There are only so many times you can personally upgrade structures, which is something else your team will need to coordinate, and something else to be added to the VGS.
The do-or-die for MOBAs lies in the character designs. If they aren’t fun to play, then neither is the game. Gigantic is currently sporting a large roster of heroes that all tick that box. Each one feels so unique and fleshed out. None of them feel like carbon copies of other characters ripped straight from different video games and given a makeover to try and hide the developer’s laziness. You obviously have some typical archetypes that find their way into every kind of MOBA because they’re fun to play with, but most of the characters are ones that I have never seen before and had a blast playing with.
Gigantic also utilizes a skill tree mechanic for the abilities of all these characters, allowing you to customize your playstyle every match. Though this is a great feature, I feel that there needs to be some work on the UI. Trying to select your upgrade quickly and in the middle of a battle is much easier in other MOBAs, where you can level up the ability with a push of a button, but in Gigantic you need to hold ctrl and use the mouse pointer to manually select the upgrade. Having multiple customizable, pre-set skill trees would be a nice touch to help this.
One of my favorite parts of Gigantic is the transition into the ‘Final Clash’ near the end of the game. After a certain amount of time the two guardians on the map will prepare for the final assault, and whilst doing so they change the layout of the map due to destroying the landscape. This opens up new areas of each map and livens them up as both teams race to the new areas. Though there are currently only three maps available, Motiga still manages to find ways to keep the matches interesting, even towards the end.
In a market swamped in MOBAs, Motiga has made a game that might just be unique enough to stand out on its own. Collecting energy to preserve your lead in the race to charge up your guardian first creates very tense, and exhilarating gameplay. Though the finicky UI isn’t a deal breaker, it may confuse some newcomers and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on such a fun game because of a small inconvenience.
*** PC key and Ultimate Pack provided by the publisher ***
- Unique hero designs, yet still balanced
- Matches are challenging yet still criminally fun
- UI needs revamping
- Some quality of life changes would be nice