Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Genre: Action
Release Date: TBA 2012
Skylanders was a game that nobody really saw becoming a success. Plastic toys you put on a cylinder base to make them come alive on your television screen? Adults didn't get it but the kids did. Some see the release of Skylanders as the start to a next generation toy market. Activision is hoping to continue the magic and with the release of Skylanders Giants. The villainous Chaos is back from the first Skylanders and he is desperate to still take over all of Skylands. Fortunately there are the Skylanders standing in his way to stop him.
Players from the first game will be pleased to know that any of the toys from the first game will be compatible with Giants. This means that any hats, experience level, skills, etc, will be unlocked for your original toys in Skylanders Giants. Also, in the first game, you could only get your Skylanders up to level 10. In Giants, the level cap is now increased to level 15!
Lets take a closer look at some of the new Skylanders. First up is Jet-Vac, a British-voiced Air vacuum cannon. Can suck in treasures, gold, and enemies. This character is great in co-op if you are a parent or older sibling playing with a younger kid. The younger can beat up everyone, and you can just suck up all the goodies!
Next is Pop Fizz is a new Series 2 Magic Element with potions to throw and explode. He is extremely goofy and also has the ability to change his appearance after drinking a potion.
Finally, Tree Rex is one of the Life Element Giants. They are double the size of the regular toys and they all will have the Light up technology. I am wondering if double the size means double the price? I can see kids all over wanting these big new toys so lets keep the price down, Activision! Why should we worry about the price? ALl of the Giant Skylander toys will feature a lighting mechanic. Whenever you place it on the base, portions of the toy will light up. This requires no batteries and is completely powered by the base. Very cool tech in a toy but at what cost?
Activision is bringing back all 24 Skylanders from the first game, known as Series 1, two Skylanders Giants. They are calling these toys Series 2. All of the Skylanders will feature different poses and when you use one of the new Series 2 toys, they will have new skills not found with Series 1. Personally, I find this to be a cheap way to get kids to want new toys. Activision likes to think of this as the collector's aspect of the game. How about you bring back a handful and create new ones instead? Just my two cents though.
The good news is that Series 2 toys will be playable in the first game up to level 10. Giant toys will not work with the first game.
One of the complaints from the first game was the lack of exploration. This is one area that will be improved in Skylanders Giants. In one example from our closed door demo, a secret area can be found by pushing columns away. We were told this is an example that there is a heavy emphasis on exploration.
In the first Skylanders, you would run into Elemental Zones. These zones were blocked to any character but that specific elemental power. This encouraged players to go out and purchase toys from each of the elements. While these areas offered some nice treasures and experience, these Elemental Zones didn't change the look of the game. This is an area being focussed on in Sklanders Giants. When you approach an Elemental Zone, the entire look and feel of the game will change to match that specific element. For example, we were shown an Undead Elemental Zone that used dark purple and black colors to go along with that specific element. We weren't shown any other examples or given any other details.
Another new element to Skylanders Giants are the interior areas. You will find caves to journey inside that will contain secrets, items, and treasure to scoop up. Though the majority of the game will still be outside, this makes the world feel more explorable and adds some variety to the locations you visit.
As the title suggests, Giants will play a big part in this game. There will be areas that they will be required to get through. I am assuming that the game will come with at least one Giant because of this? However, the focus on Giants doesn't mean the smaller Skylanders won't be useful. In some areas, the Giants just won't be as effect as the smaller Skylanders.
When you think of Giants, the first thing that probably comes to mind is big and slow creatures. Not the case at all. Just like with their smaller brothers, Giant Skylanders will all have different skills and speeds. Some like Bouncer, a Tech Element Giant, has a ton of personality and battles with ranged attacks rather than brawling up close.
Skylanders Giants will see all of the Head to Head Modes back plus a new mode called Ring Out. They weren't really ready to talk much about this new mode so we will have to wait for more details.
We also were told that the drop in and drop out co-op was much more popular than they expected and it will definitely be making a return to the game. Other returning features will be the original Hero Challenges and new Hero Challenges for all the new characters they are adding.
Players will also be able to change up the difficulty levels to make the game easier and harder. This will help younger audiences and older audiences find a better mix to keep things interesting.
The original Skylanders became a big hit for Activision and by bringing us more of the same, with better features, and new Giant Skylander toys, we don't see why this will change for the franchise when it releases later in 2012.