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Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Developer: Passion Republic Games
Release Date: 2022


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PS5 Review - 'GigaBash'

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 9, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

GigaBash is a multiplayer arena brawler with gigantic film-inspired kaiju, larger than life heroes, earth-shattering special attacks and fully destructible environments.

Most people love giant robots and kaiju, and a good deal of this appeal comes from the fighting. It's awesome and awe-inspiring to see behemoths wreak havoc while regular humans look like ants. A number of games over the decades have tried to capture that essence in video game form, including classics like King of the Monsters, War of the Monsters, and more modern offerings like Override: Mech City Brawl. GigaBash is the latest game to take on the kaiju fighting genre, and while it has the mechanical chops to get it right, it remains limited in scope.

The core gameplay closely resembles that of Power Stone 2. The game is presented in an isometric viewpoint and plays out like an arena fighter. Buildings can be destroyed to create cover for others, or you can climb on them to get a better vantage point for the next attack. They can also be thrown, and the same goes for a bevy of other objects, and each has its own throwing distance determined by a visible arc. A piece of rubble may be thrown straight, but a large hamburger might be shot out at an arc. There are even army vehicles that can be used as weapons, like a tank acting as a machine gun before being chucked at foes.

While this may suggest that GigaBash is a simple fighting game, the mechanics suggest otherwise. You have both a basic and special attack, both of which can be charged up to deliver something more powerful and different. You can block, but you can also grab someone who's blocking to punch them up close, throw them, or deliver another special move. Both the regular and special moves can be delivered from the air, and even blocking gives you access to two more moves. If you enable it in the options, you can produce a giga ball that instantly gives the recipient an ultra-powerful attack. Delivering damage or collecting different orbs can grant you the ability to unleash your S form, which provides more powerful versions of your attacks while also making you double in size. Considering how so many other games in the kaiju fighting genre don't give you half as many moves, this is rather impressive.

All of the kaiju and robots you control have their own quirks, and while the game isn't necessarily balanced like in a more serious fighting title, they are enjoyable because of how vastly different everyone plays out. Rohanna can call on minions to help her out in battle. Woolley can crash into everything by turning himself into a giant snowball. Skorak can throw his own shell at enemies, while Pipijuras can reflect every projectile around him. Some of these moves are reminiscent of a variety of kaiju that have appeared in films and TV over the years; it's enough to forgive how tough it can be to use some of the kaiju effectively against others.

You'll put these fighting mechanics to good use in GigaBash's three main modes. Couch Play is the local multiplayer mode and the game's main focus; it's the first option available on the menu. Choosing from one of roughly 10 Titans, you can partake in free-for-all matches or 2v2 ones with either the CPU or other people locally playing along. There are more environments to choose from than Titans, and while that seems odd, it spices things up a bit, as each of the environments come with their own traits. One city might have a dam that breaks after a while to let in rushing water, while a rustic island has plenty of trees to be used as swords and walls where you can pin other Titans. It gives the game even more of that Power Stone 2 feel, as you'll have to be acutely aware of where you're fighting and how that impacts your strategy for each bout.

One of the more interesting options for Couch Play is Mayhem, which essentially strings together some minigames for the group. Some change up the parameters, like making each hit an instant kill. Others make it so that only damage is given if you hit others with objects. Some have you racing to get the most energy balls to transform into your S form faster, while another has everyone racing to destroy the most buildings possible. They retain the same fighting mechanics as the main game, but the ever-changing goals make them fun enough with groups who want a break from the standard fighting of the other modes.

There is a story mode if you want to play solo but not play against the CPU in random matches or in practice mode. The mode limits itself to four of the Titans, with each of them getting their own five-chapter narrative. While a good chunk of the chapters is devoted to you fighting against another Titan or a team-up of multiples, there are a few sections where your objective focuses on destroying buildings or corralling creatures. There are also sub-quests during some of these fights, like landing certain types of blows to gain bonus XP for unlocking stuff in the gallery. The overall mode is short, so the thrills won't last too long, but the difficulty takes some wild swings. Play on the easiest one, and the game is a cakewalk. Play on normal or higher, and you'll find the CPU opponents to be so cheap that the one surefire way to win is to also be cheap with a grab-and-punch combo.

If you're expecting to play online, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that the option is in the menu, with the ability to play in free-for-all or team-based ranked and unranked matches. The bad news is that the Mayhem mode isn't present here, so the match variety is lacking. The worse news is that no one can play online. When trying to do so for this review, we were met with a message stating that we had an outdated client, even though the PS5 assured us we were playing with the latest version. We have no idea what the performance is like, but until this issue gets fixed, consider the online community dead.

The overall presentation is quite good. Graphically, GigaBash is very well detailed with very smooth animations for some of the attacks. Due to your size, the humans in the cities aren't necessarily rendered with much detail, but they are visible; it's cool to watch a bunch of them scurry around. Buildings and other elements litter the stage, and the outright destruction you get to implement never feels old thanks to the number of visible objects at any time. The sound plays out similarly in that the music goes for a kaiju/anime adventurous vibe that works well both in combat and in menus, while the sound effects add a good amount of punch to each brawl. There are no voices in the game, and the cries of each monster aren't significant enough that you can recognize each by their pitch, but that's a small nitpick.

In the end, GigaBash is a game that's loads of fun if you're playing with local friends. Even if you don't partake in the minigames, the combat is deeper than expected in a fighting game like this, so you'll spend more than a few rounds playing with others. It doesn't have much going for it if you choose to play solo or are trying to get online, but as long as you have a group ready for a get-together, GigaBash fits perfectly in a party-style rotation.

Score: 7.0/10

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