October 29, 2012

The Land of Giants

Lasting First Impressions of Skylanders Giants

Developed by Toys For Bob  |  Published by Activision

Skylanders Giants Boxart» 2011’s biggest toy sensation for children wasn’t even a toy at all.  It was a video game that essentially brought the coolest little action figures to life.  That game was Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure and the sensation never ceased as toys were in high demand nearly a year after Activision released the game.  Now, developer Toys For Bob have done it again with the follow up title, Skylanders Giants.

Skylanders Giants returns kids and kids-at-heart alike to the wonderful world of the Skylands with all new giant characters that are twice the size of their Skylander comrades.  There will be 8 giants characters all together, one for each of the 8 elements, as well as new and returning characters.  All the Giants toys and new characters (one from each element) will be introduced with the new LightCore technology that makes the toys glow when on or near the Portal of Power.  This doesn’t add anything to the game itself but is cool nonetheless.  I even opted to wait on buying the new water character, Chill, in favour of her yet-to-be-released LightCore alternative.

Continuing the story that began in Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, players will enjoy the return to the same gameplay they experienced before.  Skylanders Giants feels more of a continuing adventure than a brand new game.  Even your favourite characters from the first game are completely compatible in Giants, with all their stats, upgrades, and items intact.  Level caps for all Skylanders have now been raised from 10 to 15, so there’s no reason not to bring along your best Skylander and continue their journey in the Skylands.

Skylanders Giants_X360_Jet Vac in Time of the Giants

In most cases, when a sequel to a popular game comes along, one would normally expect some major advances in the gameplay and the types of gaming elements available.  Skylanders takes the approach of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” and last year’s Skylanders was far from broken.  It is for that reason, that fans of this game will find that Skylanders Giants is simply more of what they loved in Spyro’s Adventure.  Graphically and gameplay-wise, it is essentially the same game, with some minor technical tweaks, but with a new storyline and that is certainly not a bad thing.  While there are less chapters in this game, the developers have promised that each chapter will be significantly larger than they were in the first game leaving players with relatively the same length adventure.  Each level now has more areas to explore and more items to find.  Just as in the first game, there are plenty of treasure chests, Legendary Items, secret areas, and loot to find in every level.  For the completionist in you, there are still several objectives to complete in order to 100% any level, including the speed run.

There was something simply magical about Spyro’s Adventure and Skylanders Giants holds on to that magic in every possible way and even makes it stronger.  This game is just as much fun as its predecessor while still expanding the Skylanders lore and adding something new.  The Giant characters are quite fun to play, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to play an entire level with just a giant since they move very slowly.  They are powerful, but that power is traded off in speed.  The Giants seem more like ‘helpers’ during the adventure than the stars of the show but, like the first game, Skylanders Giants is created for multiple play-throughs and each chapter is designed for several different Skylanders and Giants in order to finish completely.

Skylanders Giants_X360_Tree Rex in Junkyard Isles

After beginning the game, my daughter (12), commented that she really liked that it was just more Skylanders, but wished the game realized she had already played the original game and stopped giving her the tutorials.  I had to agree with her as I was also feeling the same way. The first level of the game is just a way to teach new players all the different mechanics in the game, but experienced players will undoubtedly find this a little cumbersome.

Skylanders Giants is everything you would want in a sequel to 2011’s greatest surprise hits. Original characters, fun gameplay, multiplayer battles, challenge maps, and intriguing puzzles all make a return.  In addition, every Skylander is now fully voiced adding to the humour of the game, as well as some new mini games and arena battles for gold and experience.  I chose Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure as one of my top 10 games of 2011 and, this year, Skylanders Giants has certainly not disappointed.

Toys For Bob, I gave you an hour and I am, once again, IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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