Are giants enough to warrant a sequel?
Skylanders Giants Got Right
- + Giants open up gameplay possibilities
- + Old figurines work with the new game
- + Addition of internal environments
- + More fun gameplay awaits
Skylanders Giants Got Wrong
- - Story is weak
- - No jump abilities
Skylanders quickly rose to the top of the toy charts, outselling every action figure franchise including both Star Wars and Transformers. Skylanders Giants promises an epic quest for gamers of all ages, but are the improvements enough to make it truly stand out?
Check out the official trailer!
Skylanders Giants tells the tale of the the giants, ancient Skylanders who once roamed the lands defending us all from evil. They disappeared for over one hundred years, but now they are back once again to stop some super evil dude from harnessing the world's power for himself. Why the lack of details in this review? Simply because the story is nothing more than background noise, a reason for you to go forth and smash a whole bunch of things, find some loot and have one hell of a time.
Is that so bad?
For those who missed out on the original Skylanders, using a peripheral named "The Portal of Power", players place a series of action figures on the platform which magically transports them into the game. These characters gain XP, unlock items and ability, with all of the information being stored in the figurines themselves. They also work across all platforms, which makes it nice and easy when playing at a mates house who has the game on a different platform.
Skylanders Giants is compatible with all of the figurines from last year, which is a smart move by Activision. Players who have hunted for each and every figurine can now use their favourites in the new game, all XP and unlock intact, while exploring the game world with XX new figures. The game also introduces giants, figurines who are considerably bigger and have special powers which will be required to complete some areas.
"The story is nothing more than background noise, a reason for you to go forth and smash a whole bunch of things, find some loot and have one hell of a time."
These giants may be a little slower than the regular characters, but they certainly pack a punch when it comes to going the offensive. Tree Rex, the giant included with the Skylanders Giants starter pack, was able to bash his way through enemies, and crumble certain walls that would require a bomb from a regular character. Mixing and matching their abilities with your favourite figurines is a lot of fun and opens a lot of opportunities as you press forward.
The gameplay itself is fairly basic: players will move their Skylanders throughout a series of areas, smashing through a variety of enemies with their two primary attacks. There are several items in the world that are breakable, revealing loot and lost treasures, some of which can add some cosmetic appeal to your character. Items such as hats really offer a reason to go exploring as you try to provide your characters with some awesome bling.
Skylanders Giants has a great art style, particularly for what is largely considered a kids game. The colours are bright, the environments are detailed and the characters all have a flair of their own. The voice acting is superb also, particularly for those involved in the main cutscenes as you progress through the water-thin story. Any child will easily find themselves engaged in what the world has to offer.
But is it enough? While Skylanders Giants doesn't necessarily do anything wrong, it doesn't go out of its way to push for innovation either.
The Final Verdict
Skylanders Giants is a magical experience, fulfilling the fantasy of every boy and girl as their toys come to life on the screen. While it packs in some new features such as indoor dungeons, hidden areas and of course the giants themselves, it is a by the numbers sequel that doesn't really push the series forward. If you loved the first game then you will find plenty on offer, even if it's only to level up your favourite character again as they embark on a new adventure.
By Stephen Heller