Published on November 22nd, 2013 | by Xalaga0
Skylanders: Swap Force Review
Summary: The same quality experience of Skylanders can be found in Swapforce. With new toys, levels, & more, you will want to play this one again.
The same as Skylanders: Giants, a lot of the emphasis has been shifted away from Spyro. To be fair, Spyro has several toys and was the main magical Skylander, but you could play the games without having much of a Spyro back story or participation in cut scenes. Sad moments for Spyro fans, but for the young ones that might not know Spyro, perhaps like we do, this is really not a big deal.
There were several improvements in the game. The graphics looked much better this time around, which brought it to a current gen standards, and by what I have seen it looked even better on the PS4. The Skylanders now have the ability to jump, something that I could only do previously in the 3DS version of Giants. As far as gameplay goes, with the addition to mini games that can be found in special portals, you’ll find yourself in the ever familiar Skylands world. Break things to get coins, kill enemies to get experience, and in some areas, the game will go from 3D to 2D giving it a Mario Bros. feel. Sadly, these levels were usually reserved for coin collecting. This was a good and a bad thing, since a lot of the gameplay could have been expanded and used to make the world feel bigger than the, nearly, on rails experience. Keeping kids in mind, they won’t feel lost in the world, or have much of a learning curve, which is certainly more appealing to the younger generation. If you want to play the game at harder difficulties, you’ll find that “Easy, Normal, Hard, and nightmare” are still in the game, giving you a much more difficult area to jump into if you or your kids think that Normal is just too simple. Story wise, well, Chaos had an evil plan, but this time his mother got in the middle of things. New characters were introduced and some old one were shown as well. The story was simple and easy for any kid to follow and it did work with the overall arc presented in the previous two games.
The voice acting in this game is always worth mentioning. With Kaos voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz, better known by some of us as Zim, from Invader Zim. Patrick Warburton, who voiced Flynn in the game, but you might know him as Kronk from Emperor New Groove, or many other Disney series as well as The Tick and Men in Black II. The surprising part, this time around, is that Kaos’ sidekick, Glumshanks, sounds off. I had to search IMDB to make sure that Chris Cox was still voicing him. But the cast seems to be all there, and it is just fun to hear them in the game, especially since some of the mouth animation has been improved and better synced to the characters. It is not perfect yet, but very much improved.
One of the biggest changes in the game is the main area. In previous Skylanders games, there was always a safe zone where you could collect coins, upgrade your characters to have better powers, go to the expansion levels that you could purchase separately, and much more. This time around, the safe zone felt more like Orgrimmar from World of Warcraft. It had all of the previous things I mentioned, plus a hat vendor, daily random upgrades (30% more life), treasure chests that replenished daily, a training zone, the time trials and dungeons are now located in this area instead of the menu, and so much more. It really gave it the feel of a MMO and now works more seeminglessly than before.
Speaking of MMO, if you have been wanting to play Skylanders Co-op online, I am sad to report that you won’t be able to do it in this version. Local co-op is still something you can do, but online has not been added to the game.
With Swap Force you are in for 16 new characters, all with the ability to swap top and/or bottom. The base has magnets that when you pull the top and bottom apart, it just easily comes apart, leaving two big chunks (non-choking hazard) to play with. There are two new Swap Force characters for every element. There were eight elements in total. In Giants we had eight giants, which where one for each element. If you like to collect all of the characters, then you’ll have 16 more variants and new characters to collect.
So many toys, so little time! But how can you enter the world of Skylanders, keep it within a budget, and still get the complete experience?
If you have purchased Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventures, odds are you have at least one character for every element. If you bought Skylanders: Giants, you should at least have one Giant in your arsenal from the starter pack. For Swap Force, you’ll need eight regular character for each element, at least one giant, and eight Swap Force compadres.
This time around, the game brings the good old elemental portals, to which you can open with any skylander as long as it matches the element it ask for. Then they have added Giant Portals and Giant Treasure chests. You can open does with any Giant (not elemental specific). Then we have mix element portals, where you’ll need a Swap Force character to make the mix it requires (Fire/water, Air/Ground, etc). Last but never the least, we have a new set of portal, that act more like mini games. This new set of portals are the symbols on the base of the Sylanders from Swap Force. There is a ladder, Rocket, a spring and more. If you want to open all the portals and get 100% completion on Skylanders, you better get your wallet ready!
In the true fashion of Skylanders, not all of the characters have been released and their release dates are unknown. With Black friday upon us as well as many store offering sales on video games, it will be a bit friendly to your bank account to perhaps look into this deals, if you are planning on getting it for you kids, or yourself.
Whether you are a newcomer to the series or an old pro, Skylanders: Swap Force manages to bring a bit of everything, for everyone. You’ll be wanting to buy more characters, and collect all the new Swap Force guys before you know it. Think of it as Magic the Gathering, as a video game, with toys instead of cards. Just as addicting, just as fun, and with more to do, especially if you have someone to play with or against.
Editor’s Note: The copy played for review was on the Xbox 360 and was provided by PR.