Last year Activision revitalized the Spyro series with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures. The Skylanders are back this year with the addition of Giants, sans Spyro. Kaos is up to his old tricks and it is your job once again to stop his evil plot. You’ll have extra help with the Giants this time around along with Skylanders characters past and present. The standard package comes with the game itself, a portal of power and three Skylanders (two “normal” Skylanders and one Giant). The humor that was present in the first game returns with the same voice actors including Patrick Warburton reprising the role of the ostentatious Captain Flynn.
You begin the game pretty much where the last one ended. At the end of the last game Kaos was banished to Earth and the first time you see him in Skylanders Giants is on Earth in a toy shop. He eventually finds his way back to Skylands and stumbles on to a weapon of great power that can lead him to a weapon of even greater power. The Giants were the original Skylanders however they haven’t been seen for thousands of years. Their reappearance is a sign that something of great evil (re: Kaos) is about to happen and it is your job to try and secure the safety of Skylands once again.
The basic concept of Skylanders Giants is the same as its predecessor. You have these physical Skylanders characters that you put on the “portal of power” and once you do that, that character is then transported into the game. The bottom of each Skylander has a battery so that your progress with each character stays with the character itself. This allows you to take your character over to your friend’s house, regardless of what system they have, and continue your game where you left off. The characters from Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures will work with Skylanders Giants and there is even an achievement encouraging you to use these “Series 1” characters by getting one of the characters to level 15. Two Skylanders can be on the portal of power at the same time as well so you and a friend can enjoy the game together. It should also be noted that the new “Series 2” Skylanders characers can be used on the original game from last year, however, they will lack any of the upgrades they might have for Skylanders Giants. In short they will play exactly like the “Series 1” characters.
The Giants are the big addition this year and they do change up how you play the game. If you choose to play as a Giant then there will be walls that you can walk up to and simply knock down with your own brute strength. Last year you would have needed a bomb to take down that same wall. If you choose to play a “normal” Skylander you will still have the option of using a bomb to take down that wall. There are also some areas that you won’t be able to get to without the help of a Giant. There are floating islands that the Giants can literally pull towards you or, if you see a crack in the floor, jump on the crack from high above and you’ll get access to a treasure trove of goodies on the floor below. The Giants as well as the Lightcore Series 2 characters also light up when placed on the Portal of Power which makes them look even better. The level cap has been raised to Level 15 (from Level 10 in the original game) which can make it fun to play some of the older characters while you are experiencing the new additions to the roster, so to speak.
The campaign is a bit shorter than its predecessor last year with there being 16 chapters this time around. You’ll visit various locales on your adventure and different Skylanders work better in different areas. What I mean by that is that a “wind” Skylander will obviously work better in a “wind” zone and they will be more powerful within that zone than if you decided to use an “earth” Skylander. The game does a great job of telling you what type of Skylander is best suited to the area you are in so you aren’t left guessing if you have made the right decision. Much like in the original title there are a whole bunch of collectibles for you to find here from Legendary Treasures, hats, potions and much more. If you are someone who likes to find everything in a game it will definitely take you a little while to do so with Skylanders Giants. The trademark humor from the original game is back and definitely had me chuckling from time to time. The team over at Toys For Bob definitely know what they are doing and it shows from the gameplay to the script.
The Battle Mode also makes its return this year, however, it is strangely lacking online multiplayer once again. Battle Mode mainly consists of one-on-one fights with another player in the same room as you but it is, once again, a huge missed opportunity not to over online multiplayer over Xbox Live. The battle mode serves as a great place to level up your character and earn some extra money and it will be a lot of fun when a kid wants to play with a friend or parent. This is also an instance where only being able to play with two Skylanders at a time poses a problem. I would absolutely love in future iterations if we could play three to four Skylanders at a time and really turn it into a fun party game. With how insanely popular Skylanders was last year (and will probably be this year) I’m sure it would develop a big community online where people could show off their characters, especially those who have been able to track down the really rare Skylanders.
Skylanders Giants is a really fun game. The team over at Toys For Bob did a great job reinvigorating the Sypro franchise last year and they have returned with another quality title. Skylanders Giants does seem to be a bit more polished than its predecessor and the inclusion of the Giants adds in a new gameplay element that is a lot of fun. The game ran really smoothly and I enjoyed the different environments and bosses that were in the game. If you were a fan of the original title then you definitely need to give this game a try. Skylanders Giants welcomes newcomers as well so if you missed the boat last year be sure not to make that same mistake again. Skylander characters became insanely hard to find in stores last year so please keep that in mind this year and plan accordingly. Skylanders Giants is a great evolutionary step for the franchise and with a few minor changes (such as online play) it could be even better.
- The Giants are a fun addition to the Skylanders universe.
- It is a lot of fun watching your toys "come to life" and then being able to play as them.
- No online play
Summary: Skylanders Giants is a great evolutionary step for the franchise and with a few minor changes (such as online play) it could be even better.
- Format: Xbox 360
- Developer: Toys for Bob
- Publisher: Activision
- Release Date: 10/21/2012
Skylanders Giants – Review,