When Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure was released last year many people did not see the potential of its popularity leading up to the release. We were lucky enough to see the game in early development, and back then we were under the impression that Toys for Bob was crafting something special. The idea of taking a figurine that you own and putting into the game was something that not only seemed fun, but also seemed addicting. When Skylanders was finally released it got off to a bit of a slow start, but low and behold, the game was a hit and it has only been recently that you can finally see a steady stream of Skylanders on store shelves.
During our time at E3 2012 in early June we got a chance to finally see the sequel to Spyro’s Adventure, simply titled Skylanders Giants. Now, if you read my 5 top gaming experiences while I was at E3 (click HERE if you have not), you know that Skylanders Giants was one of those top 5. Given my fascination with the franchise, as well as my kid’s love for it, I thought I would give a more in-depth look the upcoming sequel.
One of the biggest things that I was worried about when I first heard that Activision was going to be releasing a sequel was that all of the existing figurines that gamers have purchased for the original Skylanders game were going to be null and void. With a name like Skylanders Giants, I thought that we’d all have to buy a whole lot of larger figurines to play the game. Well you can breathe a sigh of relief, as you don’t have to buy a whack of new figurines, as those you have already own will work with Skylanders Giants.
Of course what would not be a new Skylanders game be without new figurines though, and there are indeed Giant figurines, which are about twice the size or so of the original figurines. You won’ t need to buy a new “Portal of Power”, as the larger figurines will fit on the original portal by itself or with another on it. So again, kudos to Activision and Toys for Bob for taking into account all those people out there, including myself, who already have an investment in the original game. If I heard correctly while getting our demo, there are a total of 8 Giant Skylanders, one for each element, so there is not a whole lot for you to have to purchase in regards to the new larger Skylanders.
For those who do want to buy more figurines, you’ll find that some of the original characters that you may already own (e.g. Cynder) will be in a new pose, with a new power, and a new look. The new look is that Series 2 Skylander figurines can actually light up when on the portal. I didn’t get a chance to ask how many original characters will be upgraded, and how many total Series 2 figurines (original and new) there would be in total, but you can bet there will be a few given the popularity of Series 1.
One of the things I was curious to know was if the new figurines would have a higher-level cap then level 10. Well, to my surprise we were told that the both new and original figurines could be leveled up to 15. So if you have any original figurines that are level 10, then there are 5 new levels for you to attain. This is even more incentive to use your original figs for some Skylander play.
Something that you will discover during gameplay with the sequel is that solving the in-game puzzles can be tackled one way with the Giants or tackled another way with the regular sized Skylanders. It’s a really neat idea and lets you truly choose how you will play the game. The Giants are slower and have certain disadvantages that the other regular Skylanders don’t, and vice-a-versa. Of course in typical Skylander fashion, you’ll be encouraged to use as many different Skylanders as possible to access all areas of each level.
For those “hardcore” gamers who complained that the original Skylanders may not have provided enough of a challenge, you’ll be happy to know that the skill level can be adjusted in the game to make it as hard as you want it to be. There are also some “hardcore” modes that Toys for Bob have added too. So, if the young ones are in bed, and mom, dad, or big sister/brother is looking to play with more of a challenge, they can feel free to turn on Skylanders Giants and play the game in a more difficult manner then when with the young ones.
Like the gameplay the visuals get a bit of an overhaul too. The version we saw was running on the Xbox 360 and the game seemed a bit sharper and more detailed then Skylanders: Spryo’s Adventure. You will notice new and better looking attacks, some new looking areas, and even little details such as the larger Giant’s footsteps in the ground. We didn’t get a lot of time with the game, but what we saw was looking pretty good at this juncture.
Overall I walked away pretty impressed with Skylanders Giants. Toys for Bob is taking their now established IP and making it a better game. They have listened to the fans and made some improvements in areas that needed improving, while leaving the core Skylanders experience intact. Lets not forget the support for the original figurines too, as you do not have buy new figurines if you don’t to. I for one can’t wait to play the final game when it is released, and I think that Skylanders fans in general will enjoy what is offered in this upcoming sequel.