Posted by Caitlyn Muncy on Dec 13, 2012

Review – Skylanders Giants (Xbox 360)

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Product Information

MSRP: $74.99 (Starter Pack)

 MSRP: $59.99 (Portal Owners Pack)

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Toys For Bob

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U, 3DS

Rating: Everyone 10+

Genre: Platform

If you’ve gotten yourself addicted to Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, then you likely know of Skylanders Giants. Yes, this is a great kids game, but it is a fun game for adults too (and pretty difficult sometimes)! This was the next step in the adventure, which means more things to collect, more hats, and more story to get into. It has definitely polished up some since the first game, however, there are a few down sides that come with it.

Story

Touching on any of the storyline would be immediately giving out spoilers for the game. The introduction of the new characters was handled well, and you start to get a better feel for the Skylanders Universe. There is a bit more explanation about what “ancient times” were like for this world, but past that, all I will say is that it is a good game to follow the first!

About The Game

This is an action platform game that incorporates physical toys. There were 32 collectible characters with the first Skylanders game, but the Giants version added on another 8 regular-sized skylanders, and 8 Giants. It should be noted that 24 of the characters received a touch-up, so you can re-buy some of the ones you already have if you wish to have the series 2 models. You use what’s called the ‘Portal of Power”, which uses NFC (near field communication), to transport your character in and out of the game. Each toy can keep track of its own level, experience gained, money, and hat that it wears from previous games or levels. The toys can be used in the 3DS, 360, and PS3 versions as they all use the portal of power to teleport into the game.

Gameplay

Things run about the same as they do in the first. Still no jumping, and you have to rely on bounce pads and teleports to get you around. While I don’t like not being able to jump, I’ve sort of gotten used to it. Definitely won’t be sad to see it go if it does though!

While this is a kids game, it can be hard! There are modes from easy to nightmare, and it can be rough. Things are laughably easy in the first level or so, but it starts to pick up speed right quick. The enemies you will face change as you get through the story. You’ll have to plan out your attacks and change strategy quickly. This means it can take longer to clear enemies, but thankfully, it doesn’t feel like grinding. Maybe this increased difficulty is why the game is shorter? While it certainly has cleaned up from its predecessor, it is about 7 chapters shorter, as it only goes to 15 when the original had 22.

There are things to do while in between levels, like heroic challenges and a battle arena. You can collect items to spruce up the exterior of your travel vessel along the way, which gives you some level of customization. It’s here that you’ll be able to play mini games, buy upgrades, and find even more hidden areas.

Your character never really ‘dies’ in this game, more that it needs to ‘rest’ if its health is depleted during a level. This means that you might have to face hardships like not being able to get into expanded parts of the level that require a Giant or certain elemental character (if you own all of the currently available Skylanders, you won’t need to worry about this unless you’re terrible at the game). The levels can be rushed through, but there are extra areas and collectibles sprawled out all over the place that you will want to take out time for. There are things that you can miss if you’re not really trying to explore. Keep in mind that replayability was built into this game because it has goals for both speeding through the level, and finding everything there is to find.

The money you get in this game can go towards SO MANY THINGS. There are your regular upgrades to buy for your characters, luck-o-tron bulbs, battle arena maps, hats, master keys, potions, and there’s even a way to call the fairy Persephone while you’re in a level to give you upgrades (if you have the money for it). Just so you know, you’re going to spend a lot of time getting and looking for hats, because they are absolutely hilarious and useful. It feels as though this game as a whole would be good friend material for Valve.

Multiplayer

This is both one of my favorite and least favorite part of the game. It’s 2 player, and your friends can drop in and out as they please, but you’re both stuck on the same screen. That has resulted in death a few times. It does encourage cooperation, but one or two miscalculated moves in a crucial moment can be pretty detrimental to how a bigger fight goes. There are four battle modes to choose from that are straight PvP, but again, only two players. These are great fun, and can have you on the edge of your seat, but it would be a much better experience if you could have more than one other person playing with you.

Additional Bits

There were some pretty well-known names in there like Hans Zimmer, who wrote the main theme. There was also some really good voice acting coming from Richard Steven Horvitz (Invader Zim) and George Takei who were best buds (in the game, I have no idea about how friendly they are in real life). These interactions were oftentimes quite cheesy script-wise, but also pretty funny.

Conclusion

This game is worth playing. It’s got a couple of annoying tidbits, but overall, it’s a fun game. They marketed it to kids, so you can’t criticize it as an adult game. However, it’s really, really fun to play, no matter what your age is. Seeing as we’re near the holiday season: yes, this is a game you want to pick up.

The Good

  • Polished
  • Lots and lots of content
  • Difficult enough to be fun for kids and adults

 

The Bad

  • No jumping
  • Multiplayer is limited to 2 for the main story and PvP
  • Having to share the screen for 2-player
  • You will want every toy that ever comes out, which can get to be expensive

 

Written by Caitlyn Muncy

Raised in a Podunk town in southern Indiana, Caitlyn had an appetite for games at a young age, growing up with SNES, PlayStation consoles, a Gameboy, and a PC. She has branched out into several different fields of art, music, and journalistic endeavors. Apart from being parent to Darth Giblet the hamster, she is currently attending Indiana University for Fine Arts. You can follow her on Twitter.

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