Developed by Games for Bob
Published by Activision
Skylanders Giants is one of those games that you can sit down and play with adults and children alike, and everyone will enjoy the experience.The sequel to Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure has built upon what was great about the game, and made everything giant, with expansive levels and of course, giant Skylanders.
The story shifts away from Spyro - instead, we are presented with the history of the world of Skylanders, going back 1000 years to when giants inhabited Skylands, and were then banished to Earth. We learn it all had to do with an ancient evil robot - voiced by Star Trek's George Takei - which Kaos has awakened and is going to extract his revenge on the Skylanders. It is our mission, with Captain Flynn and Cali, to reawaken the giant Skylanders and put a stop to Kaos.
There may not be any major changes to the core gameplay but there really doesn't need to be. The game is aimed at children, so complex gameplay or intricate storytelling wouldn't have gone down too well with the target audience. And as for adults, it's actually extremely addictive, plus it reminds us of the games we played as kids - always a bonus.
The gameplay is simple, and almost every answer to the puzzles is handed straight to you, but once again, it's for kids, and there are still those that will need the guidance of an adult. In fact, playing through Chapter 5: Glacier Gully, me and my 7-year-old nephew had to stop and really think about positioning the crystals and energy beams to melt the ice. We felt kind of silly after it took us almost half an hour to figure it out.
Playing co-op is more entertaining, however I would have liked to see dynamic split-screen employed here, rather than the tether method. The tehter doesn't actually provide much space for solo exploration, so it's a constant battle to pull your teammate to the area you want to see. This can be especially annoying when playing with said 7-year-old nephew. It's definitely frustrating, but once you accept that you have to stay close to your partner, it's fun to see who wins out and forces the other to go where they want. As always, smashing anything and everything looking for loot takes priority, and the competition for who can get it first results in plenty of laughs but sometimes a disgruntled nephew.
We played through with five Skylanders, three of which were giants: Tree-Rex, Bouncer, Crusher, and Cynder and Air-Vac. Having the life, tech, earth, undead and air elements meant that we were able to explore several different realms within each level. However, without at least one of each element, much of the game still remains unfinished. The need for completion gives Giants longevity, as you aim to collect all three stars for each chapter by completing the goal objectives.
In order to do so however, you need to buy more and more figures, to unlock every area. The need to purchase so many toys to finish the game was a point of contention in Spyro's Adventure, which has only grown worse in Giants. The new characters are great, and of course people expected new toys, but the real problem lies in "Series 2 Skylanders." When we first heard that any toys you had in Spyro's Adventure would be compatible with Giants, me and my nephew thought it was great; people didn't have to go out and buy brand new toys to play until they really wanted to. Then, the ball dropped. Activision released Series 2 of the original figures, with superior powers and abilities. While you'd think that would just an in-game upgrade for the original figures, this is obviously another ploy for the company who is raking in the cash already. Of course, children will want these new toys because, well, they're new, and parents will be forced to spend even more money on this already-expensive game.
Skylanders Giants is fun and worth playing - just try not to get sucked into buying all the toys. Your wallet will thank you.