Tech Blog

Review: Skylanders: Giants

by Blogger on ‎11-08-2012 09:49 AM

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When I first heard about the Skylanders series a little over a year ago, I wasn't sure what to think about the concept.  Merging toys and video games seemed novel enough, but we've seen these ideas come and go so often that I couldn't help but be a little skeptical about the whole thing.  It wasn't until I sat down and played Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure that I realized how touching the game truly was, and how it went above and beyond in its overall quality.  I never ended up picking up Spyro's Adventure, but when the sequel, Giants, was released I couldn't help but snatch a copy.  With my Starter Kit firmly in hand, I was confident that this would be a compelling new adventure for me, maybe even a step back into my childhood.  

 
So far, the experience has been just that and more.  While Giants offers fewer levels than in the last game, 16 compared to 22 originally, there's enough content to make this game feel bigger with several hidden routes and collectables worth finding.  After playing through my first level, I was surprised by how much I missed, I felt inclined to try again and see if I might find something new and interesting.  Some of these secrets take some creativity and careful exploration, while others require a particular element in order to progress down that pathway so you'll need to have a Skylander figurine of that particular element.  They're not necessary purchases, but they are worthwhile if you plan on finding everything you can in the game.  

The light-action drop-in/out gameplay hasn't changed much since the last game, but provides something fun and simple for just about anyone.  Looting is a key part of the gameplay since purchasing upgrades for your characters can be pretty costly (there are some amazing abilities you don't want to miss out on).  Unlike Spyro's Adventure all characters (from both Generation 1 and 2) can now level up to Level 15 instead of the previous, Level 10.  That's pretty reassuring considering how quick it is to level up, especially if you're returning to old levels in search of secrets.  
 
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In addition to level exploration there's plenty more mini-games you'll want to check out as well including Hero Challenges, the Battle Arena and Skystones.  Hero Challenges are single-player timed training levels specific to each character.  Personally, I didn't find them to be the most fun, timed challenges somehow always manage to destroy me, but after a few playthroughs the maze-like maps become more manageable.  The Battle Arena is a one to two-player arena-style mini-game where each stage has different objectives you need to meet in order to unlock more.  Lastly is Skystones, a simple yet addicting trading card game harkening back to favourites like Triple Triad in Final Fantasy VIII and Tetra Master in FF IX.  These mini-games are a nice escape from the main campaign, offering something fun and different in the Skylanders universe.  

The game even gets pretty challenging as you progress (I'm playing on Hard only because the game would be way too easy otherwise) so some grinding is definitely necessary if you want to make it to later levels.  It came as a surprise for me the first time around, but gave me a little extra drive to progress further.  

As though that weren't enough, Giants also features several famous voice actors including Troy Baker, Richard Steven Horvitz, Patrick Warburton and many more familiar voices you know and love.  They each put a lot of heart into their performances and provide plenty of humor and charm to the different characters.  The visuals are just as colourful, and follow the same light-hearted feel. Giants might feel a little too kiddy for some, but you'd need to have a heart of stone to not warm up to this inviting world.  
 
Despite all the video game heavy-hitters out today, I still can't help going back to this game.  Whether it's the fun gameplay or intricately-made characters, Skylanders: Giants constantly impresses me.  In fact, it's probably one of the most successful kid's toy/video game series out today.  Not only is it extremely marketable and visually fun, it makes for one entertaining game, and offers more than I could have ever imagined from something so light-hearted.  

Skylanders: Giants is available on the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS and soon the Wii U. The game was developed by Toys for Bob and published by Activision.
 

The game is rated E for Everyone (10+).

 

For more information on Skylanders: Giants, please check it out at Future Shop

If you're new to the Skylanders series, check out the Starter Kits, otherwise check out the Portal Owners Pack! 

 

SKU: 10207666

Banished to Earth thousands of years ago, the Skylanders Giants are now the only hope against the rising threat of Kaos. Bring them back and unleash their power with the Skylanders Giants Starter Kit for Nintendo Wii U. Featuring everything you'll need to get going, the starter kit is the perfect entry point in to the world of Skylanders.




SKU: 10207476

The very future of Skylands is at stake and the only people who can save the day are the Skylander Giants.. The only problem is, they were banished to Earth thousands of years ago. Use the Portal of Power to bring them back and defeat Kaos in the ultimate battle for Skylands in Skylanders Giants.




SKU: 10207540

The very future of Skylands is at stake and the only people who can save the day are the Skylander Giants.. The only problem is, they were banished to Earth thousands of years ago. Use the Portal of Power to bring them back and defeat Kaos in the ultimate battle for Skylands in Skylanders Giants.




SKU: 10207632

The very future of Skylands is at stake and the only people who can save the day are the Skylander Giants.. The only problem is, they were banished to Earth thousands of years ago. Use the Portal of Power to bring them back and defeat Kaos in the ultimate battle for Skylands in Skylanders Giants.




SKU: 10207493

The very future of Skylands is at stake and the only people who can save the day are the Skylander Giants.. The only problem is, they were banished to Earth thousands of years ago. Use the Portal of Power to bring them back and defeat Kaos in the ultimate battle for Skylands in Skylanders Giants.


 

 

 

SKU: 10225469

The Skylanders Giants have been banished to Earth and only you can bring them back through the Portal of Power and save the day. Suitable for owners of the Portal of Power, this Portal Owners pack sports a Skylanders Giants video game, Skylanders figure, a character collection poster, sticker sheet with secret code and some trading cards.




SKU: 10225466

The Skylanders Giants have been banished to Earth and only you can bring them back through the Portal of Power and save the day. Suitable for owners of the Portal of Power, this set sports a Skylanders Giants video game, Skylanders figure, a character collection poster, sticker sheet with secret code and some trading cards.




SKU: 10225468

The Skylanders Giants have been banished to Earth and only you can bring them back through the Portal of Power and save the day. Suitable for owners of the Portal of Power, this Portal Owners pack sports a Skylanders Giants video game, Skylanders figure, a character collection poster, sticker sheet with secret code and some trading cards.




SKU: 10225467

The Skylanders Giants have been banished to Earth and only you can bring them back through the Portal of Power and save the day. Suitable for owners of the Portal of Power, this Portal Owners pack sports a Skylanders Giants video game, Skylanders figure, a character collection poster, sticker sheet with secret code and some trading cards.



You can even get Skylanders figurines as well: 

 

 

SKU: 10227000

The Skylanders Giants are the only ones who can save Skylands, but they've been banished to Earth. Activate the Portal of Power and bring them back to save the day. This Skylanders Giants Triple Pack includes three characters, three trading cards, three sticker sheets and a webcode. Tool up for the fight with this value Triple Pack.




SKU: 10226749

Fight for the future of Skylands with the Skylanders Giants Single Character Pack. The Skylanders Giants have been banished to Earth and the only way to save the day is use the Portal of Power to bring them home. This Giants Single Character Pack includes one character, one trading card and a sticker sheet with webcode.




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