For me, hands-on game demos normally fall into two categories: fun and a bit too confusing.
Whether it’s a bad demo representative, an overly complicated game or an improper environment for play, hands-on previews can go south quickly if all the wrong things are in place.
In the overly crowded Xbox showcase with pumping music and yelling patrons, learning how to play a mildly complicated mostly PvP multiplayer game like Gigantic was tough. This is a free-to-play MOBA with heroes, leveling and a whole lot more.
I tried the game, but, despite winning and picking up second on a team of five, I’m not really sure I enjoyed it. In fact, I didn’t know what I was doing until what seemed like 15 minutes into the 20 minute session.
Here’s the gist. First, the game is much prettier than I thought it would be. It features a highly stylized, brightly hued environment, and that translates to the roster of heroes that you can choose from.
The game is sort of one of a kind in terms of mechanics. That’s probably what made it so hard to understand in this demo setting. Two teams face off against one another on a narrow battlefield. They’ll set up summons on the map that increase damage or help heal nearby players. All this is in an effort to charge up your giant guardian enough to attack the enemy guardian, make it vulnerable and then open up for your damage.
The guardians charge whenever there are more of one team’s players alive than the other.
So, you have this sort of tug of war as the two teams battle it out and the guardians attack one another leaving exposed weak points. This continues until the guardians meet in the middle of the map and you can’t summon creatures anymore. That’s when the game gets into a its final minutes and the guardians attack more rapidly.
I played Roland (I think that was his name?), a gunslinger with a grappling hook. I leveled up during play all the way to 9. Along the way, I was picking things to level up in over my four main abilities and earned passive slots. This is where the game got too complicated. I was leveling up during battle, struggling to figure out the skill trees and picking things at random that likely didn’t help me all that much. I’m not poo-pooing Gigantic here, just noting that I definitely didn’t have a full grasp of what I was doing thanks to the environment.
Still, the combat felt decent. Roland’s grappling hook didn’t work all the time, though. It’s meant to zip me to nearby spots on the map as a way to move quickly or flee from close quarters combat. When it worked, it was great. However, I’d say more than half of my attempts were met with Roland clipping on rocks and not grappling away. That lead to death, more often than not.
I’m not sure where I stand with Gigantic. It looks great, and it offers a unique set of gameplay mechanics alongside a cool looking roster of heroes. This preview, though, really wasn’t enough to sway me one way or another.
I’ll be watching Gigantic, but I’m really not sure if it’ll hit or miss when it launches. The game is bound for the Xbox One and PC platforms. It will be free-to-play.