I Played ‘Gigantic’ at PAX and You Can Too: Grab a Beta Code!

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Characters clash in front of jungle ruins, a blue minotaur leaping into the air wielding two swords.
Incredibly, Gigantic does not have an Art Director. The team has built such a strong working relationship and shared vision that they’ve created this unique looking world without the need for a single guiding hand. Image: Motiga

Update 26 Sep 2015: I have handed out all the keys! I’m in the game as El Tea. See you in there. Have fun!

Unless I just say that it’s “crazy awesome fun,” Gigantic is hard to describe. It’s sort of like you’re playing Team Fortress 2 in third-person view, but with the feel of a MOBA. In fact, Head of Communications Trow Hewitt tells me that Motiga initially avoided the term MOBA because of all the gameplay and community baggage that description can bring with it. However, time and again as players tried the game they referred to it as a MOBA. Motiga decided that when your fans spontaneously and unanimously classify your game for you, it’s best to embrace their decision, resulting in their description of Gigantic as a “MOBA Shooter”.

In Gigantic, battles are five-versus-five affairs. Your team’s goal is to power up your Guardian, a huge, awesome-looking monster, until it goes on a rampage. When it does, it will attack the other team’s Guardian, knocking it down. This creates a window of opportunity for your team to attack its heart, damaging and hopefully killing it to win you the match. Of course, while you’re trying to do this, the other team is going to be doing everything they can to stop you.

One team of five players stands in front of their team's Guardian, a Naga, a huge snake-like creature with arms, towering over them.
The Naga towers over the heroes, and if you get too close before it’s knocked down it will do considerable damage to you. Stay clear! Image: Motiga

Unlike most MOBAs I’ve played, there are no creeps (AI controlled minions that advance towards the enemy side of the map). Instead, you power up your guardian through other player actions. In the games I played on the Canyon battleground, this was accomplished by killing enemy players and spawning helpful creatures at summoning circles. Summoned creatures remain in their circle where they power up your guardian, fight to defend their circle, and give your team a power-up. My favorite creature to spawn generated a green healing circle around itself, allowing your team to heal up and rejoin the fight quickly.

Without creeps, there was no last-hitting required as in League of Legends, nor was there a need to split up to gain experience as in Heroes of the Storm. Instead, the game was much more focused on team coordination, and I found that this approach made the game a lot of fun. Sometimes we split up to capture lightly defended summoning circles, but a most of time was spent in team fights. These were often frantic affairs, with our melee characters trying to keep their heavy hitters engaged while our long range damage dealers laid down impressive attacks.

Speaking of which, the visuals for Gigantic are incredible. While I’ve only played one map, it was detailed and visually appealing while also providing a clear view of the action. Character artwork and animations exceed the beauty of the maps. In my second game I played as Charnok, a dragon who is also a sorcerer, and I loved to lay down waves of fire on the other team. You can see the visual effects for each of the 14 characters in the game so far at Gigantic‘s page, but I’ve linked to Charnok specifically because: Dragon. Sorcerer.

A hero shot of Charnok, holding a staff in one hand and a ball of flame in the other.
Breathe fire, throw fire: it’s all part of a dragon sorcerer’s day job drudgery. Image: Motiga

There are a lot of tactical options in Gigantic. Each character has a main attack, three cooldown attacks, and one focus attack. The focus attack powers up as you fight, charging up from levels one to three, with the level three attack affecting wider areas and doing more damage. On top of that, as you play you gain experience, which you can use to upgrade your character’s abilities. Motiga is working to ensure there are no “best” selections; choices on your character upgrades should be situational to the map, your team composition, and the enemy’s composition and upgrades. Now add in 14 different characters to choose from (so far) with their own expertise such as tank, dps, sniper, etc. and you should be able to easily find a character in the game that matches your play style.

How fun is it? The second game I played (with an assortment of media types) was an absolute blast. We were assisted by a slew of Motiga’s Community Coaches: players who are proselytizing, testing, and assisting new players with the game. With some gentle tutelage both teams did very well, pushing forward and back, with the central summoning circles changing hands frequently. With our own Guardian all but killed, it came down to a final race to power ours back up before theirs could attack again. We captured enough summoning circles to make the difference: our Guardian advanced and we won the map amid a large amount of cheering from the players. I was left wanting to play again, as soon as possible.

Fortunately, Motiga provided GeekDad with a set of 50 keys for the closed beta. You’ll have to agree to the NDA, but that just means you can’t post screenshots or video. You’ll be able to tell people what you think of it, and totally brag about your early access.

Gigantic is coming out for both Windows 10 and Xbox One. (There will even be optional cross-platform play!) Note that it is specifically for Windows 10; if you haven’t taken advantage of the free upgrade yet, be prepared to do so if you want to play Gigantic on the PC. Signing up requires you to have a Microsoft account, and to complete an Xbox Live profile. Beta keys are good for either platform (after signing up on the PC a second Xbox One key is provided).

Update 26 Sep 2015: I have handed out all the keys! I’m in the game as El Tea. See you in there. Have fun!

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