Gigantic: Utilizing “Summon Monster” For Fun and Profit
I love team-based competitive games. I’ve been delving more into SMITE and Heroes of the Storm lately, and Gigantic neatly packages my favorite elements of each into a fluid unbeatable package. This is going to be one of the breakout titles to hit people this year, I can feel it in my bones. Gigantic is an arena team-based gladiatorial title, where teams of five duke it out against each other, controlling choke points, and gaining power by killing their opponents and holding territory. But there is a caveat: You get to summon monsters! Each control point offers the chance to summon a healing plant, rough and rowdy tank, or fiery damage dealer to best support your team composition and situational tactics. Also each team has a tremendous, monstrous titan that can come to life and wreck the landscape, and the other squad! As the creatures awaken and rampage, your map will change accordingly, forcing both sides to change how they interact with their own side and the enemy.
The characters are also fascinating. Each one has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and they actually “feel” different. I don’t feel like I’m playing Garen, or Sven, or Uther. Every character I saw felt and looked so much different, brand new concepts in a more three dimensional world than anything like it. For instance there was my chosen character, Xenobia, a woman who reminded me of a slender Ursula (of Little Mermaid). She’s labeled as an aggressive support, and that’s no bluff. Her primary attack drains life, and she also has a variety of curse/disruptive abilities. As you level, there is a system in place very akin to Heroes of the Storm’s trait system. There are no items to buy, instead you upgrade your skills in a variety of ways, with 2 separate trees for each that individually branch into two unique options a piece. As you can imagine this means there are just as many ways to play any character as most MOBAs offer via in-depth itemization systems. Just the replayability of experiencing each character in so many different lights is a huge plus in Gigantic’s favor. I built Xenobia around her ability to disrupt, making my armor break bounce to three nearby targets, which also slowed, and created other annoying effects. Meanwhile our opposing Xenobia focused on area crowd control and damage over time, and by the end game both characters played like totally different entities. The action was non stop, intense, and quite heated.
Myself and DizzyPW had the opportunity to do battle against some of the community managers and developers (only one dev on our side!), and though we only had one match to enjoy personally, it showed a great deal about what the game has to offer. The early match of MistForge is all about racking up experience and nailing bonus damage on a less cautious foe’s Guardian to build up an advantage before the final push. This mechanic hasn’t changed since Dizzy’s first experience at PAX Prime, where the wide ruinous terrain ideal for small skirmishes condenses down into a small team death match arena to test your full team synergy in high stakes combat.
Here is where one misstep can cost a dominating team everything, allowing for plenty of comeback opportunities if your side can play smart. Each death feeds power to your enemy’s guardian, and every time you fail to defend your guardian, the enemy can rush in to steal away its power by attacking it directly. Things go from hot to boiling when a guardian strikes the other down, revealing a weak point for the enemy team to unleash catastrophic damage to the guardian through. The arena does a fantastic job of pushing each team’s platforming and use of cover to the fullest, and no amount of lead early on will make you your victory idiot proof.
Unlike Dizzy’s past experience in which his team stopped out their rival press in the final confrontation a minute flat, the four developers on the rival team were not willing to go down without taking a swing at us. The match eventually devolved into trench warfare as each side utilized their best ranged damage spikes to pick off freebie kills on out of position enemies. With the exception of Dizzy who ignored our developer to continually Leeroy Jenkins into the lot of them as Aisling. Thankfully his unpredictable aggression left even the chiseled veteran developers baffled enough to grant us the opening we needed to pick off a few kills, and every once in a while he inexplicably walked out of the five man focus fire in one piece.
You’re not Team Captain, I am!
But back to the character of Aisling, she was one of two brand new characters Motiga whipped out to reward their fans attending PAX East. Carrying the ghost of her father in her father’s sword, Aisling offers either an incredibly disruptive AoE tank character into the game, or a massively damaging and armor destroying melee dps figure if you prefer. Dizzy went the supporting route since our team was already rather damage heavy, sharing attack bonuses to nearby allies while melee attacking while gaining a substantial free heal when he reabsorbed his ghost back into his blade. Eventually he built up enough bonus max health passives, armor while attacking boons, and heals to be nigh indestructible, though his damage fell off hard late game. Though the AoE repulsion ability, Terrify, was downright brutal for buying extra time to freely attack the vulnerable enemy guardian.
While we didn’t have the benefit of seeing him in action, a new kung fu frog named Wu was also added. On paper at least his playstyle seems most similar to the original assassin, Tripp, though Wu exchanges a bit of ranged damage for full frontal brutal melee dps. Basically every attack on hand involves unleashing a flurry of destructive blows that punish anyone crazy enough to let him sit in melee range of your character, though his tricky Tongue Lashing ability can either pull a fleeing foe back to him, or launch him through the air to catch you sooner than you’d like.
All in all, if you enjoy team combat, and want something new, Gigantic is going to be a game to hold you and not let go. We’ll likely all be playing this before the end of 2015 so feel free to join me on the hype train!