GI­GAN­TIC

Free-to-play mon­ster hunt­ing packs a steep price

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START/CONTENTS - Dave Meik­le­ham

What a thor­oughly bizarre lit­tle thing this is. Wait, did we say ‘lit­tle’? The cor­rect word­ing to de­scribe this odd MOBA/shooter hy­brid should be ‘mad­den­ingly enor­mous’ or ‘stupidly size­able’ given the ti­tle. This fran­tic, five-on-five on­line ef­fort may re­volve around a slim premise – namely, lay­ing a car­toon smack­down on cutesy war­riors – yet the head­line­hog­ging Guardians are se­ri­ously big cus­tomers. ‘Mul­ti­storey man­sion’ big.

Gi­gan­tic is one of the lat­est ti­tles to hit Xbox One’s in­creas­ingly crowded Game Pre­view pro­gramme. As such, it’s still ropey in places. Match­mak­ing is of­ten ter­ri­ble, to the point of be­ing bro­ken – in ev­ery one of our games, the borked sys­tem takes at least six min­utes to find a match. Such glacial waits are un­for­giv­able, and it’s an is­sue de­vel­oper Motiga needs to ad­dress im­me­di­ately if Gi­gan­tic has any hope of sus­tain­ing a de­cent com­mu­nity.

But what of the game it­self? Phew, this is go­ing to take some ex­plain­ing. So, an av­er­age match of Gi­gan­tic pits you and four team­mates against another band of five war­riors. Aside from slay­ing foes and cap­tur­ing com­mand points, the main goal is to in­jure, then kill the other side’s Guardian: a myth­i­cal beast the size of a bra­chiosaurus that takes a hell of a lot of slash­ing and shoot­ing to down.

Af­ter your team takes out a cer­tain num­ber of op­po­si­tion players, your Guardian hunts down its ri­val. At this point, you have 30 sec­onds to sprint across the map to get into a po­si­tion to put a hurtin’ on it. Once the re­gal grif­fin or mas­sive ser­pent wres­tles its foe into sub­mis­sion, you have a short win­dow to wound the beast. Deal enough dam­age, and a third of the mon­ster’s en­ergy de­pletes. Wound it sig­nif­i­cantly like this three times, and you win the game. Sim­ple, right?

Mon­ster smash

Um, no. Not at all. While you’re wail­ing on a ri­val Guardian, en­emy players try to stop your at­tacks, and this is when Gi­gan­tic de­volves into one ap­pro­pri­ately colos­sal clus­ter. Range com­bat with the likes of Charnok – a dragon sorcerer who flings fire­balls – is rea­son­ably ac­cu­rate, but close quar­ters melee com­bat feels frus­trat­ingly hap­haz­ard.

Charge in with a hero such as the Mino­taur-es­que Lord Knos­sos, and the re­sult­ing spear scraps are less pre­cise than per­form­ing heart surgery with a dessert spoon. Col­li­sion de­tec­tion for­ever feels off, and the sheer on­slaught of ex­plo­sions and en­ergy blasts that en­gulf the screen are both vis­ually ex­haust­ing and su­per dis­ori­en­tat­ing.

Gi­gan­tic is also free-to-play, mean­ing mi­cro­trans­ac­tions are never far away. Of the game’s 16 he­roes, six are avail­able for free. To un­lock more, you ei­ther buy them with Crowns – a cur­rency that’s drip-fed to you in sin­fully small doses af­ter matches – or you pay with Ru­bies – valu­able gems that cost ac­tual money. A thou­sand of the lat­ter will set you back £7.99, and with each hero cost­ing be­tween 300 and 900 Ru­bies, own­ing the en­tire eclec­tic roster will prove costly.

The real ap­peal of the game lies in play­ing with the pow­ers of its var­i­ous cast mem­bers, es­pe­cially if you want to get the most of its in­sid­i­ous price. It’s still a wal­let-basher, though, and when you add in those almighty match­mak­ing is­sues, Gi­gan­tic’s prob­lems are any­thing but small fry.

“Com­bat is less pre­cise than do­ing heart surgery with a dessert spoon”

right The num­ber of ranged pro­jec­tiles, bombs and melee slashes that dom­i­nate the screen can eas­ily over­whelm.

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