As exciting as it is to venture through nature’s toughest terrains in a high-octane action-adventure title or exploring uncharted territories in open-world RPGs, nothing quite thrills like immersing yourself in a competitive multiplayer match. Win or lose, each round is a blood-pumper, and MOBAs have become the poster children of some of the most intense gaming sessions around.

Console MOBAs are a relatively new thing, but they’ve managed to make themselves at home despite their origins on PC. However, with the success of League of Legends and DOTA 2, it’s just a given that any MOBA on consoles is going to be compared to them, even if it isn’t exactly fair.

For example, Smite, the third-person mythological-themed PS4/XBO title, is nothing like its predecessors. Paragon, a PlayStation 4 console exclusive, is nothing like Smite. However, familiarity is still important, and being reminded of something similar while being introduced to something new is the winning formula when it comes to MOBAs — that’s why Gigantic, Motiga’s entry currently in the Xbox One Preview Program, is turning into one of the most promising free-to-play titles around.

The beauty of Gigantic starts with its art style. The colors here pop from its stylish main menu to the in-game visuals, and the cartoonish character models work well — think of it as an Overwatch/Battleborn hybrid — but it isn’t too in-your-face to distract from the gameplay. Gigantic’s cast is charming, with multiple heroes to choose from, each with their own personality, play style, and set of skills.

Speaking of the gameplay, it seems as though Gigantic’s point of emphasis is to make things as simple as possible, which is a good thing. Its tutorial does a great job laying out the mechanics, telling you exactly what to do to lead your team to victory.

How you win a match is, like other aspects of this game, straightforward — destroy the other team’s enormous “Guardian” after acquiring what is known as “power.” Power is the key to success in Gigantic, and luckily, you obtain it by doing pretty much anything useful in the game.

Kill an enemy? Get power. Kill an enemy creature? Get power.

You even have three orbs on your side of the map that will automatically generate power every 30 seconds or so, so your team has a way of getting power even if you aren’t killing much. Of course, the team you’re facing is trying to get this power too — and the first to reach 100 gets the ability to wound the opposing team’s Guardian. If it gets wounded three times, then it’s game over. This “three hit” system is a refreshing new take on how to win a MOBA match, and it provides exciting endgame moments where either team can potentially make an epic comeback.

At the moment, you’ll only see one game mode talked about  because this one mode is all Gigantic is. It may be off-putting for some, especially those used to the multiple modes found in Smite, for example, but having one mode allows the development team to put their efforts into making it the best it can be. Since it’s just a preview right now, it’s entirely possible that they’ll implement more modes in the future.

Naturally, with Gigantic being so early in development, there are a couple of things that could be changed, and a few issues that players will run into regularly while playing.

First and foremost, the game suffers from connectivity and matchmaking issues – on a bad day, you’re looking at a decent amount of time wasted away simply waiting to get into a match. Other times, though, queueing up and getting into a game is a breeze.

Another issue is that for a game heavily reliant on teamwork, it’s a questionable choice to omit any sort of voice communication in-game. Though there are little pings that give a basic direction or response, it hardly replaces the usefulness of actually communicating with your team. Sure, it essentially eliminates toxicity in the community with no path for abuse to other players, but perhaps they’ll consider it for the future.

Despite the spotty matchmaking and lack of chat, Gigantic is storming out of the gates already — and a big part of it has to do with the quality that’s put into this free-to-play game. In its current state, Gigantic is well worth the download on Xbox One or PC, and it’s going to be a time sink for both MOBA beginners and seasoned veterans alike.

— Joe DeAndrea

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