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First time playing Giants: Citizen Kabuto after all these years and… wow!

If there's one era of gaming that I will always come back to with a smile on my face, it's the era when devs were delving into the exciting opportunities introduced by 3D graphics, i.e. late 90's and early 00's. It's no surprise, then, that most of my all-time favorite games come from this era.

Back then, I was living my first teenage years and I didn't have a gaming PC that could run most of the "high-budget" titles. The best I could do was buy gaming magazines which helped me stay up-to-date with major game releases and top lists. Meanwhile, I primarily focused on 2D gems like Heroes 3 and 4, Rollercoaster Tycoon 1 and 2, Theme Hospital, Impressions Games' city builders, the Monkey Island Series, the early Broken Sword games… you get the idea!

I also felt really bad for not being able to play most of the games developed / published by Interplay (I personally loved their contribution to 3D gaming!), like Sacrifice (this one's next on my list after Giants), MDK2, Messiah, Evolva, and – you probably guessed by now – Giants: Citizen Kabuto.

But enough about the past. Fast forward 2 decades later. I was browsing my GOG library after work last week and noticed Giants: Citizen Kabuto. Okay, about time I give it a go, methinks! What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out, NOTHING could go wrong – I am in love with this game already! I was afraid that I might find the visuals or the gameplay dated, but let me tell you, I am having a blast! I was really surprised to see there is a recent fan patch for it (the definitive way to play Giants in 2021!) and after pushing all the settings to (very) high, I feel like I'm playing it 20 years ago on the most powerful PC there is. And I find it absolutely captivating.

The visuals hold up really well. You can tell the devs were very excited to experiment with 3D back then and did their best to push the game engine to the limit. In my humble opinion, they did a fantastic job and the world of Giants is oozing with its own quirky charm.

The gameplay is plenty of fun. Does it feel dated at times? It does (looking at you, save system!), but don't let that distract you from the game's overwhelming pros. I am slowly wrapping up the story with the Meccs and I am already more than ready to continue playing with Delphi and Kabuto. RTS elements in a 3rd person action game? Bring it on!

Oh, and the soundtrack definitely has a Star Wars vibe to it, especially once the action starts. The initial melody that plays right as you begin a mission has this zen feeling to it and reminds me of other games from that same era that I hold dear, like Black & White, Zeus (Master of Olympus)…

Last but not least, the humor (I remember magazines highlighting it 20 years ago). It may not be everyone's cup of tea, especially since things have changed quite a bit since the early 00's, but I just find it so exaggerated and stupid, that I cannot help but laugh out loud most of the time.

To wrap it up, I guess I could say that I feel honored to have the opportunity to play games from a special era (to me, at least) in the way they were meant to be played. Giants easily managed to tick all the boxes and it is the sole reason I completely stopped playing Forza 5, a game I would say is a strong contender for the Game-of-the-Year title.


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