Give Giants a try, and in short order, you'll find yourself playing one of the PS2's most likable, most offbeat shooters.
Though Giants: Citizen Kabuto was originally released for the PC about a year ago, there's little evidence of that in the newly released PlayStation 2 version--this quirky, genuinely funny 3D shooter feels right at home on Sony's system. The only notable feature Giants lost in translation from the PC is its multiplayer mode. Otherwise, Giants for the PS2 offers the same uniquely enjoyable shooting action that the original offers--you'll get to control three distinctly different characters through a diverse series of action-packed missions.
Giants is one of those rare games that has a really great sense of humor. Even the game's manual is funny. The game itself is loaded with hilarious cutscenes featuring great characters, plenty of sight gags, a few gross-out jokes, a number of bleeped-out expletives, and a distinct visual style. These cutscenes are very well animated and have a comic timing that's downright impressive, and it says a lot for them that despite how good the game's action can be, you'll often want to press on from one mission to the next just to see how the story unfolds. If you find yourself wondering about the origins of Giants' inspired comedy, you might not be surprised by the fact that the game's creator, Planet Moon Studios, is made up of former members of Shiny Entertainment, the people who brought you famously funny games such as Earthworm Jim and MDK.
Giants begins when a spirited, disorderly pack of heavily armed, unmistakably British fellows called the Meccaryns crash-land at a place called the Island. There, they find a race of ugly yet likable little creatures called Smarties, which are being threatened both by a nasty aquatic species called the sea reapers and by its nefarious creation, Kabuto--sort of a cross between Godzilla and King Kong. During the course of the game's lengthy series of scenarios, you'll initially control the Meccs in their reluctant effort to assist the Smarties, after which you'll play as the beautiful, rebellious sea reaper princess Delphi and then as the enormous Kabuto.
Obviously, the playable characters are all different. On the other hand, all of the scenery in Giants is pretty similar--but once you see how pretty it is, you won't mind a bit. The setting looks like some tropical archipelago. You can see way off into the distance, and no matter which character you're playing as, you can cover a lot of ground quickly. The scenery is nicely detailed--dirt kicks up where stray shots hit the earth, the water glows with a sheen cast down by the sun, and various objects such as trees and Smartie houses blow up if you happen to shoot them. The characters themselves look just as good. The Meccs have lots of personality despite that they all look exactly alike, while the red-eyed, blue-skinned sea reapers and their evil queen Sappho look mean and nasty, just as they should. Kabuto, who's about a hundred times taller than the other characters, is suitably fearsome too, especially with his earthshaking roar and his pro-wrestling moves.
Battles in Giants often take place at long range, and you'll have little but craggy hills to use as cover when fighting against droves of enemies. You can play from either the default third-person perspective or switch to a first-person view at will. Each level tends to be both open-ended and expansive, but you'll fortunately have easy access to a map screen that shows your position relative to any objectives that you need to reach or destroy. If you've played other PS2 shooters, you should be able to get comfortable with the controls quickly--by default, the left analog is used to move in any direction, while the right analog stick is used to aim. You'll have to learn to use these in combination so that you can literally run circles around your enemies while firing, a key tactic in Giants' wide-open, enemy-infested levels.