Gigantic, an upcoming MOBA from Motiga, has been giving players access to a closed beta and technical testing during weekends since late last year. Last week, the beta became 24/7, allowing participants to play whenever they found some time, and the game itself has evolved slightly since its initial entry to “beta” stage. The concept of the game is to ultimately defeat the other team’s “guardian,” a gargantuan beast with incredible power. In order to inflict damage on the opposing team’s guardian, your team of heroes must gain power. This is accomplished by killing opponents, controlling key areas throughout the map, or sapping the power of the enemy guardian. Once you have gathered enough power, your own guardian moves forward and attacks the opposing behemoth, leaving it wounded and vulnerable to damage. It’s at this point the battlefield becomes the most chaotic, as your team will charge the downed guardian to deal damage, while the other team usually attempts to protect it and fend off the onslaught.
As to be expected, killing opponents nets you experience and may level you up, granting improved powers and talents specific to the hero you chose to control. Each power-up has two different options depending on how you want to refine your gameplay style, generally offering offensive or defensive modifications. It takes numerous matches to fully understand how each attack or ability behaves, so trying out different combinations is essential. Modifying your skills to best counter your opponents is easily done once you have a firm grasp on the play style of each unique hero and the different skills offered by your chosen character, but it takes a fair amount of work to reach that point. As I discovered firsthand, until you’ve played 10 or 15 games, you’ll know how each character attacks, but you won’t have the experience helping decide how to change your abilities. As with most MOBA’s, this means the first handful of games you play are all in the name of learning rather than planning out strategy.
There are only a handful of levels available in the beta, but they’re varied while maintaining a pattern. The maps are all relatively linear, but have raised or lowered sections, allowing for combat across several altitudes. There are also caves or hallways to sneak through on the sides of each map, and this is where you will likely encounter the summons other players have brought into the game. The specific points across the map where players can summon beneficial creatures are generally slightly hidden, but open enough so that skirmishes still allow for mobility. Creatures can heal, block pathways, detect enemies, attack intruders, and more. You can also upgrade a creature but it comes at the cost of what’s called a “focus charge” which is essentially one charge of your character’s signature technique/attack. The creatures are a nice change from the typical building buff, and fit perfectly in the game’s motif.
From playing the beta, I’ve found one of the biggest strengths the game offers is the learning curve. While many MOBA’s won’t necessarily break down how to win or play each character, Gigantic labels the general attack style of each character in addition to providing their stats on the selection screen. This way, prior to even starting the match, you have an idea of whether the hero is best for support, melee, or ranged attacks. It seems like a small feature, but considering consoles have never been the home to many MOBA games, there are a large number of gamers, myself included, who are not necessarily fluent in all aspects of the genre and this helps ease the transition rather than assuming everyone automatically knows how to buff their character or pick the proper roles at the outset like a seasoned veteran. The modifiers you unlock at each level also have relatively clear descriptions, preventing much of the guesswork in other MOBA’s. So long as you have used the skill at some point in the match, you likely know improving its range or damage will influence your play style. It won’t make you an elite killing machine immediately, but it offers more guidance than a brief, vague description of an item you must purchase and equip. There is even a tutorial level which allows you to play against very basic AI opponents and walks you through every feature of the game while outlining very clearly how to earn power and eventually win a match.
The art style is another feature which stands out, even while playing the beta. It’s an extremely colourful game, and certainly presents a more family-friendly appearance than many other titles in the genre. Doing this will likely help increase the range of players picking the title up, although may conversely result in many disorganized matches with younger children running around aimlessly. Only time will tell regarding this aspect, but within the beta, the majority of matches I played were well balanced. There wasn’t much in the way of communication or teamwork, and it felt more like a group of four individuals all doing their own thing to help achieve victory rather than one cohesive unit, but this is likely because of how fresh the genre is to the console.
The biggest hiccup encountered throughout the beta has been the connection quality. It can take several minutes to find a match to join and even finding a match doesn’t guarantee you will actually get to play. More times than I care to think about, the game was dropped entirely as it was set to begin. These server issues are not uncommon in betas as anyone who played the Rainbow Six Siege beta can attest to, but it certainly made for a more frustrating experience. Hopefully this will be rectified prior to launch, as there have been steady server improvements throughout the duration of the beta, but even currently there are issues to be found in connectivity.
Overall, the Gigantic beta provides a fun, charming preview of what gamers can expect from the full release. It follows traditional MOBA formulas, including how heroes are unlocked, but offers far more guidance to new players than many titles in the same genre. The combination of art style, hero appearance, and accessibility, it’s likely that Gigantic will pull from a much broader audience than a more traditional MOBA would, which will likely help its lifespan, particularly on the console. I would love to see additional heroes and summon creatures added at release just to help increase variety in matches, and post-release support will be absolutely crucial. Over the course of the beta, I’ve seen the game evolve and improve steadily and have confidence that the team at Motiga will continue this trend up to and beyond the full release of Gigantic. If you’re searching for a title to break you into the MOBA genre or looking for something which will offer a fresh, family-friendly experience, Gigantic is definitely a title to keep an eye on. There’s no concrete release date yet for the title, but we will keep you updated with the latest news as it becomes available.
Eric is an Xbox editor for Analog Addiction where you can find all the latest gaming news, previews, reviews, and everything else that rhymes with those words. ‘Like’ Analog Addiction on Facebook to receive all of the updates as they’re posted.