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Gigantic Blends Third-Person Action with a MOBA – Hands-On from PAX South 2015

by Kyle Hanson

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Gigantic’s presence on the PAX south 2015 show floor was, frankly, gigantic. They had a massive booth full of people waiting to try out their game. I got a chance to check it out during my time at the show and came away quite surprised that the team at Motiga had actually made me interested in a MOBA. That’s probably because Gigantic isn’t just another League of Legends or DOTA 2 clone, it actually takes the ideas behind these games, combines it with third-person action, and creates a more unique experience that players seem to be gravitating toward.

Gigantic ups the action without sacrificing too much of the strategy behind the MOBA genre

The basics of Gigantic are similar to those found in other MOBA’s, or multiplayer online battle arenas. You and your team choose between various heroes, each of which has different stats and abilities to make them work well as a team. You then square off against a rival team in a large arena, which is has a main goal at the end that you must attack while defending your own. This is where the similarities end however, as Gigantic takes steps to further the genre in interesting ways.

Taking a queue from third-person action games, Gigantic doesn’t have you pointing and clicking all over the map. Instead you directly control your character as they do battle. Controlling very much like a standard third-person game, Gigantic ups the action without sacrificing too much of the strategy behind the MOBA genre. I played as one of the “Tank” characters, so I was always up in the action.

One of my special moves was to charge the enemy and toss them in the air, they would then take some time to recover, allowing me to pummel them with my sword. Also, after a slightly longer recharge time, I could cast a spell that caged enemies in with me, which was handy for catching weaker opponents and finishing them off. I also had a ranged attack, allowing for a bit of sniping if my spear-throwing skills weren’t so bad. Each of these abilities can be upgraded as the game goes on, and my character can also be leveled up, adding in passive abilities and small changes, such as doing more damage with my spear. Their other big departure from genre norms is that Gigantic does not feature the usual three lane map setup.

The map that we played on at PAX South 2015 was actually more like a first-person shooter map, similar to Halo’s Blood Gulch. There was one large cavern for the two teams to fight in, with alcoves and off-shoots that mix up the action and give players a choice as to how to push into enemy territory. Side battles would form in these areas, some of which would last for a good chunk of the match. Especially if a capture point was nearby.

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These capture points both focus the action of the game into more definable regions, while creating an interesting map control mechanic. By standing inside the capture point you can summon a monster, who will protect the objective for your team. Having teammates nearby speeds up the capturing process, so it’s always best to move as a team rather than going alone. If your team owned enough of these capture points it would draw out the enemy’s Guardian, which is yet another way in which Gigantic innovates.

Most MOBA’s feature a singular structure that your team is trying to protect, while simultaneously attacking the enemy’s. Gigantic takes this concept and adds in giant monsters, which is always fun. Instead of a stationary object, in Gigantic teams are protecting and fighting against giant monsters, such as our team’s Griffin and the other’s Dragon. If our team is doing well enough it will draw out the enemy’s Guardian. Once we do enough damage to it we can “wound” it. Three wounds and the game is over.

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Seems simple enough, but actually seeing the Guardians in the middle of the fray, taking out enemies and trying to protect itself from our attacks, was a wonderful experience. This was only amplified when, near the end of the game, both Guardians jumped into the fight in a massive melee. Both Guardians were down to one “wound” left, and whoever was able to hit the hardest would win. Unfortunately, our Guardian had already sustained some heavy damage in previous battles, so it fell before we could rally our defense.

Gigantic looks to enter the MOBA genre at the exact right time. As more and more clones pop up that lack innovation, Gigantic stands as a testament to how good game design can shift gamer’s perspective. It also helps that it is a downright fun game that features a nice cartoony art-style that is sure to impress. The action is fast and hectic, while still requiring teamwork and coordination. Fans of the genre will likely take some time to adjust, but once they do they could find that they prefer Motiga’s take. You can find out for yourself by signing up for the closed Alpha by clicking here. Gigantic will launch some time in 2015 for PC as a free to play game.

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