Giants Uprising Review - Roghbar SMASH!
Posted By: Alex - November 24, 2021
Giants Uprising throws me back to the feeling and vibe of the early PlayStation games back in 1995. The colours, the animations, the clunk, the edge of thrill. Does this make it bad?
Giants Uprising is a medieval fantasy action game. You play Rogbar the Giant in a world where the Imperial Human forces have managed to enslave giants and are slowly conquering the world.
Your story starts enslaved in a gladiator arena where you break free and fight your way out of the town, facing hordes of tiny human armies and machines they have built to tackle the giant threat - cannon towers, ballista, ropes, massive traps and many many many tiny arrows.
The moment where you first charge through a shield line of tiny humans, or stomp on fleeing villagers is that moment where the simple, but effective 90’s era of game nostalgia hits.I can’t really explain it exactly, other than it was enjoyable, in its own right with no further expansion required.
Smashing through the town as revenge was a great feeling ngl!
The game’s premise and the thought of smashing through hordes of miniature humans, stomping along and feeling like a giant massively appealed, but the game missed the mark just ever so slightly as the playtime wracked up.
I played three hours, completed the story-line twice, unlocked a bunch of skill points and then realised the gameplay loop wasn't going to expand. You repeat the campaign, with slight boosts and challenges to your giant or missions, and.... That is when it falls down..
"I'm one day from retirement!" "Well... sorry sir."
The art design, the graphics, and the theme are standard. Not bad, nothing great, but what you’d expect for an indie style game. My Ryzen 5900 and GTX 1080 TI performed well at 1440p at around 90fps after the latest patch.
I mentioned the game threw me back to the PS1 gaming era. Let me expand on how and why.
Gameplay feel and the animation had the clank, shudder and slight delay of late 90’s games. The graphics weren’t exactly modern but not outdated. They have a nice gritty feel which sets a tone of a world of enslaved giants. The animations and the interaction between the player model and the world fell a little short. Such as when you issue commands and the giant starts to move a few moments after. Not exactly lag but almost a designed animation-delay which is highlighted when you are in frantic combat against hordes of armies and dodging cannon shots.
In addition the game felt short and the levels were compact. The gameplay had an optimal method to play which I picked up very quickly and is even promoted in the challenges that are offered once you have completed the story once.
Roghbar.. more like Rushbar! - Charging through the enemy was the best tactic.
The optimal method was rushing, ignoring enemies, skipping sections and speed running through sections. If I stopped to fight a lot of humans, I would find myself slowly getting whittled down by the tiny mass of archers. This promoted a rush around play-style and naturally I started to miss out areas. When I did this and completed a second play through it was over in a remarkable time. Overall I played Giants Uprising in total for 3 hours and in that time, completed it twice and spent time just trying to murder everything on maps..
So the question remains: did I have fun?
Yes, and no... the game offered an enjoyable bit of fighting. Smashing miniature people and humans around, destroying villages, using different weapons to add more destruction and generally feeling like a giant.
Sadly once I had completed the levels, which were very linear in design I was left with the desire for freedom. My only option was to repeat the linear missions.
The giant vs giant fights were fairly simple with options boiling down to punching and blocking, repeat. Don't get hit. It left me wanting a little bit more and even after the fourth fight of a giant I was bored of those.
Your first fight, forced into gladiatorial combat against a fellow enslaved giant. Sadge feels.
The giant vs human combat boiled down to charging through them and stomping. It was cool for the first 10 minutes, but then slowly just became an obstacle. If I throw you back to a game called Walker which I played on the Amiga in 1993 that felt more rewarding stomping on the humans shooting them and battling them as a massive mechanical Walker vs tiny little pixelated people, and I think it comes down to level design.
Nice town... shame it's about to get SMASHED.
I'm aware that Giants Uprising has a roadmap which includes further customisation, extra levels, extra quests and new enemy types. For now, at the current launch state I am still struggling to see how those additions will expand the game.
The graphics were nice, the theme was aesthetically pleasing and the plot and the world really did intrigue me and I wanted to learn more. I feel the world, the game and the current foundation has a lot going for it. I really hope the developers can add those final touches and offer a better end game gameplay loop.
The UI/UX was “ok” for an indie game, but still had room for improvement. The menu was clunky which was largely controlled with the keyboard, including moving around a 2D map.
Giants Uprising map, levels, missions and talents system was an interactable map that used WASD.
When completing a level, you’d hit the end game condition and it would instantly snap to the next transition, and at times was a simple pop up of “end”. Not exactly damning but definitely reinforcing the feel of an indie game slightly a few steps away from the standard expected finished game.
The sound was ok, the voice acting was good. I particularly liked the way your giant character grunted and groaned in a barely understandable slow speech and your human companion riding your shoulder translated. He talked and expanded on the story and it allowed that otherworldly feel of giants, further generating and enhancing the world design.
Giants uprising could offer a beautiful playground, an area where as a giant you could run around destroying towns, cities, and fields. Battling with armies,destroying bridges, throwing rocks, boomerangs, spears and accessing various weapons. Really experiencing everything that the single-player campaign offered but in a large sandbox area. A bit like those times you just boot up GTA for a quick rampage with no real reason.
Giants Uprising does look good up close, but your kinda zoomed out smashing most of the time.
When I finished the short story line campaign I did actually want more. The idea of facing the same campaign for the third time with slight boosters such as 10% attack speed, was not appealing.
Overall I feel the game is priced accordingly for £15. I doubt I will pick this up to play again right now, but I will definitely check out what updates have been released late next year.