It takes three to tango.
There's a good reason why it's called "Rock, Paper, Scissors" instead of just "Rock, Paper." When it comes to strategy, three is indeed the magic number. Two opposing forces are rarely perfect matches for one another, but add a third and suddenly the entire face of the game has changed. One side is strong but slow, another fast but weak, and another a balance of the two. Otherwise, Paper beats Rock, time and time again.
In Interplay's upcoming Giants: Citizen Kabuto, three sides vie for control of a fantastical island...and it's a little more fun than Roshambo. With jaw-dropping graphics, a hefty dose of humor and some incredibly fun gameplay, this highly anticipated game proves once and for all that size doesn't matter - usually.
Giants has been in development for a really long time. In fact, it was a runner-up in several categories in the Best of E3 Awards - 1999. Well, times have indeed changed. GR was lucky enough to get our hands on a press beta, and our interest level shot through the roof after playing around with this gem for a bit. In addition to the gorgeous graphics, there's more game here than meets the eye.
The single player game revolves around the Island, a floating paradise populated by a variety of bizarre alien life forms. Two species dominate the planet: Kabuto, the enormous, lumbering Giant, and the Sea Reapers, beautiful seagoing magicians. The two live in fear of one another (well, at least the Sea Reapers do), until one day a spaceship crashes down from the heavens. Inside is another species, the Meccaryns, a high-tech military crew. The Island isn't very big, and soon enough the three forces collide.
Smallest in stature are the Meccs, the token earthling representatives and the most familiar of the three. Meccs rely on technology and air supremacy (they've got nifty little jetpacks) rather than magic or brawn. With a variety of cool guns and items, these techno-junkies have the firepower to easily hold their own against their alien counterparts.
From the oceans emerge the Sea Reapers. The lovely ladies embrace magic over technology, though they're deadly with bows and swords as well. Equipped with a kick-ass turbo boost (the graphical blur effect is REALLY cool), these sirens are quite versatile. Plus they've got some impressive spells...tornado, anyone?
But the spotlight truly shines on Kabuto, the giant, er, thing who literally towers above the competition. In addition to stomping, eating and bodyslamming, the not-so-gentle giant can lay eggs. After they hatch, Kabuto can order his offspring to hunt other creatures or have them fetch him some food. What a good daddy.
When it comes to eye candy, Giants delivers enough sugar coated joy to give you cavities for weeks. From the amazing textures to the fantastic vistas to the plethora of particle and lighting effects, this is sure to please. Kabuto in particular is quite impressive, and it's obvioius that the developers have put a great deal of time into him. I should also mention that the Sea Reapers prefer to go topless. Their breasts are sure to stir things up a bit, though personally I admire developer Planet Moon for sticking to their guns. Why should they wear shirts? They live underwater!
While primarily an action game, Giants adds depth by including real-time strategy features. Each side can have a base constructed for them by collecting "Smarties," the other intelligent life on the island. Smarties can also be ordered to construct hi-tech weapons and vehicles for the Meccs, and will be more than happy to supply the beautiful Reapers with various spells as well as energy-based bows for swift ballistic attacks. The Smarties simply require a steady supply of food as payment for their generosity, and by hunting the indigenous cow-like Vimps, this can easily be achieved.
The beta build we received contained a few single player missions, which hint at the truly hysterical story. The top-notch voice acting and a bizarre plot add humor to a game that would have been just fine without it.
However, the game really shines as a multiplayer affair. The three forces have varying strengths and weaknesses, and the checks and balances work out well. Of course, play balancing is the sort of thing that developers tweak right up until the day the game goes gold, so keep your fingers crossed.
The game community has been waiting a really long time for Giants, and thankfully the wait is soon to end. It's currently planned to ship sometime this Winter. In the meantime, a word of advice: go with "Paper" - everyone always chooses "Rock."
Kabuto screens! Click to enlarge!
Mecc screens! Click to enlarge!
Sea Reaper screens!