Giant’s Uprising Early Access Review
Look, when it comes to early access games, there has to be a bit of consideration going into the review, both as the writer and the reader. For every negative aspect I might bring up throughout the course of this, one has to recognise the fact that said negative aspect might be patched or removed entirely. But in the case of Giant’s Uprising, for all its many, many technical flaws, one question remained with me throughout – who is this game even for?
Within the world of Gaint’s Uprising, the once noble and intellectually superior Giants have started losing their power. With humans being what humans are, these giants are slain or enslaved while humanity continues to grow. Our first taste of gameplay is when we are put in control of the giant Rogbar alongside our human handler/tutorial giver/exposition spewer Kiełbasa as we escape from a giant’s gladiator arena. The technical issues, from the off, are quite something.
Live. Die. Repeat.
These issues range from a severe delay between the audio and subtitles, to nausea-inducing screen tears and texture popping. This would be somewhat acceptable if the game looked like Forza. But it doesn’t. Not all game has to be at the cutting edge of realism, in fact, the best games often aren’t, but there’s nothing about Giant’s Uprising’s art direction that feels purposeful. There isn’t really a direction at all, just a series of hastily put together textures amid uninspiring landscapes and a drab colour palette that, more often than not, don’t load properly.
All of these surface aesthetic issues would be forgiven if the gameplay was great. But again, it isn’t. Each level boils down to the same sets of objectives: destroy a settlement, kill soldiers, maybe defeat an enslaved giant. There isn’t anything dynamic or engaging about the way you tackle these objectives. You just have to do them to progress. The games AI will occasionally throw the odd trap at you, or a simple puzzle to solve but the challenge of these encounters doesn’t come from intentional design, it comes from controlling Rogbar, which is cumbersome and infuriating.
A false choice
Though the game prefaces different ways to destroy these encampments such as improvised weapons and different attack options, the animations for these are so slow that just running around is the only viable course of action. This rigidness is more pronounced during giant vs giant fights, which for me just became an exercise in hitting the light punch button until my enemies health bar was depleted and I was hastily shunted into the next story mission. There is a skill tree, though I only discovered this as I was quitting out of the game the first time, but it only serves to give minor percentage boosts to pre-existing moves rather than give you new abilities. When considering that the only useful ability is the run button, this isn’t what I would call ideal.
But regardless of the technical faults, uninspiring combat or unnecessarily crass dialogue trying to make sense of a drab storyline about revolution and the titular uprising, my question still remains – who is this game even for? I believe wholeheartedly that Varsav Game Studios are trying to make Giant’s Uprising a powertrip destroyathon but, early access or otherwise, I simply cannot see a world where Giant’s Uprising will be anything more than a boring and uninspiring slog. Giant’s Uprising isn’t beautiful enough to gloss over its mechanical frustrations, isn’t fun enough to escape its graphical blandness and isn’t bizarre enough to make it worth playing despite the aforementioned issues. Currently, Giant’s Uprising, like its playable character, is clumsy and devoid of charm.