Skylanders Gets Bigger In Every Way
Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure was an interesting concept. It allowed players to use real-world toys inside a video game by placing them on a “Portal of Power,” with different figurines opening up different areas of the game. What could have easily been an obnoxious marketing push that flooded our homes with cheap merchandise actually managed to be a creative and fun interaction between toys and video games.
But the adventure isn’t over. At E3 this year, I got to take part in a meeting with Activision where we talked about the upcoming Skylanders game, Skylanders Giants. This serves as both a brand new standalone game and an add-on to Spyro’s Adventure.
Now, the first thing we said was, “Oh great, now we’re going to have to buy a whole new set of figurines and another Portal of Power.” But Activision was quick to explain that this wasn’t necessarily the case. First of all, those who skipped the first Skylanders game will be able to pick up the “Starter Pack,” which includes the Portal of Power and a set of figurines. However, if you already have a Portal of Power and have no use for a second one, you can pick up the “Portal Owner’s Starter Pack,” which is a less expensive, portal-less version. On top of that, all the figurines from Spyro’s Adventure will work in this game, so if you already have a collection started, you’ll be able to keep using those same characters. Of course, there are also the “Series 2” characters, which are new versions of old characters with new poses. The true collector will want to pick these ones up too.
We got to see one of the new characters, Pop Fizz, in action. He’s an alchemist, so he uses potions in combat, and he can also turn into a Berserker and go completely nuts. Awesome!
Additionally, as the name suggests, there are new “Giants,” which are twice the size of the old Skylanders. We got to see some gameplay involving Tree Rex, who had a charge attack, lasers, and a ground pound. He was slower than the regular-sized Skylanders, but he was able to pick up massive boulders and toss them. We also saw Bouncer, a tech Giant who rides around on one wheel.
And besides the Giants and Series 2 figures, there are LightCore versions of characters. LightCore figurines actually light up whenever they come in contact with the Portal of Power, and they come into the game with a blast wave that knocks enemies back. (This blast wave can only be used once per level, though, so you won’t be abusing it.)
For all you crazy hat collectors, we were also told that all your hats will carry over from Spyro’s Adventure. So don’t worry about losing your hats in Giants.
Another feature that’s been brought over from the first game is drop-in/drop-out co-op, so you can tackle the adventure with a friend. Also, this means that, once again, your stats/level/hats/etc. will be stored on the figurine itself. Yes, this means you can bring your level-capped Pop Fizz over to a friend’s house without having to start over at level 1.
And speaking of level cap, with Spyro’s Adventure, the characters had a cap of 10. Giants raises that to 15, so it will allow you to continue to advance characters you had already maxed out in the first game. And all the new characters will be capped at 15 too. (Of course, this level cap only works with Giants. Level 15 characters still operate in Spyro’s Adventure as if they’re still capped at 10.)
Additionally, Activision told us that they’re pushing the sense of exploration even further with Giants, and they’ve made environments larger to encourage more exploration. They’ve also integrated more elemental areas so you’ll be doing more experimentation and swapping between characters. Finally, they’ve added interior environments.
Just like Spyro’s Adventure, the 3DS version of Giants will be a standalone adventure that comes with a unique starter pack. This means it wouldn’t hurt to pick up both a handheld version and a non-handheld version. Unfortunately, there is no Vita version in the works at this time, which admittedly makes me a bit sad.
Still, Skylanders: Giants is a great addition to Spyro’s Adventure, and it’s intriguing even if you missed the first game. Whether you opt for the Portal Owner’s Starter Pack or the full Starter Pack, there’s a lot of cool stuff in this package. You can pick it up when it launches in October.