Motiga’s Gigantic feels a little like this and a little like that. It’s part MOBA, part arena-battler, and, with its character advancement system, even feels a little like an MMORPG. I don’t know what it is, but I know I liked it when I got a chance to try it out at PAX South.
The goal of the game is to defeat your opponent’s guardian, a – well, gigantic – monster that occasionally rampages through the battlefield, creating havoc in its wake. At various points in the match, guardians will become vulnerable to attack, and sometimes even clash with each other. It’s during those moments of weakness that players tend to converge, either on the attack or on defense, providing high-action points interspersed throughout the battle.
You could take that premise and apply it to just about any style of game, but what sets Gigantic apart is its diverse roster of characters, the customizations available to those characters, and how players of any stripe can find something they like. As we were setting up for our press demo, I heard the “something for everyone” speech and winced a little. The demoers specifically called out various types of games and made suggestions for what character you should pick if you liked that style of game.
I went with Uncle Sven, a full-bodied alchemist who I’d been amused by in a demo video. My handler explained that he was primarily a support character, perfect for someone who likes that role in an MMO. Sven’s attacks tend to be AoE-based, again good for MMO players like myself who might not be all that proficient at shooters – just aim in the general direction of your enemies and you’ll score at least some damage.
I got the hang of Uncle Sven pretty quickly, even skillfully managing the arc on his basic attack, a tossed potion projectile. As the match progressed, I was able to choose which of his skills to power up and in what direction I wanted to enhance those powers. For instance, one upgrade allowed Sven’s basic attack to do AoE damage, further compensating for my mediocre aim and putting up lots of red numbers over enemies during close-fought fights when several enemies were clustered together. Sven can also lay down a healing field, but as I found that allies weren’t staying in it for long, I improved it to deliver a heal-over-time after they left; if I was working with allies on voice chat, I might have gone for something that increased its basic healing capacity. In general, I leaned toward increasing Sven’s damage output, especially with his AoEs, but I also could have given preferential treatment to his support capabilities.
In my second match, I played as HK-206, a rolling gun-toting robot that can root himself and deploy as essentially an immobile gun platform. I went down the line of enhancing that style of play, with regeneration and extra armor, making his deployment mode even stronger. Or, my handler explained to me, I could have played HK-206 with more of a “run and gun” mentality, eschewing the deployment stance for better mobility and damage. Contrary to Uncle Sven, playing HK-206 felt more like a shooter, with his automatic-fire main attack.
Normally, I’m not a big fan of games, primarily MOBAs, that have you upgrade your characters in-game, but I think a lot of that stems from having so many choices that you need a website just to try and figure out how to competently build your character. In Gigantic, the choices are quite a bit easier to figure out and are directly related to each skill. If you like using a skill, like Sven’s AoE attack or HK-206’s turret stance, you can upgrade it – simple as that.
So how well did Gigantic live up to its “something for everyone” pitch? Pretty well, I thought. I chose probably two of the most unusual characters, so I can’t speak to how well the others stand out, but there’s probably enough room for characters of all play styles. There are 14 characters in the game right now, so even if each just had two choices for how to “build” each one, that would be 28 options. And the thing is, even in a game that has a million options, only a few are really viable, so all the extra choices don’t really lead to a whole lot more build variety. I like Motiga’s approach to Gigantic just fine, and think it’s a great way to go if you’re looking to create a title that’s more about in-game action than out-of-game research.
And I’m loving the character and environment designs. When I first heard about Gigantic about six months ago, I noted it and moved on. Then the hype for Blizzard’s Overwatch hit. Now, I can’t help feel that Gigantic looks (and maybe plays) like Overwatch… or Overwatch looks like Gigantic, I’m not sure which. Gigantic might be a bit more cartoony and stylized, with its non-human characters and wacky animations, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the two games wound up being very similar in terms of how they play and the kind of audience they attract.
Gigantic is currently in alpha, and you can learn more about the game and sign up for testing on the Gigantic website.