by Liam Edwards
previewed on PS3
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, isn't exactly a Spyro game. Published by Activision and developed by XPEC Entertainment, Toys for Bob and Vicarious Visions, Skylanders is not the return Spyro fans are hoping for, but it is surely an interesting game nevertheless. Skylanders is a new concept, which involves bringing toys and video-games together. Created by Paul Reiche III, the current CEO of Toys for Bob, Skylanders announcement has been met with both intrigue and disappointment. It has been harshly criticized by fans of the Spyro series, and both Activision and Toys for Bob have received extreme hate mail and death threats in an effort for the game to be cancelled. But both companies have ignored the unnecessary mail sent my some vicious fans.
Although I can see why fans of the series might get upset with the Skylanders announcement, it is hard to see why such an extremity would be needed. Yes, at first glance Skylanders is the very sort of game many would pass over as childish and uninteresting. That is until you actually get to grips with the title and the uniqueness of the game and it is different versions. I had a good hour with Skylanders at GamesCom, and the concept was intriguing and even though the game is aimed at children, it promised some very good gameplay elements.
Gotta' collect them all!
The main concept behind Skylanders is the use of models that are extrinsic to the game. To play Skylanders, players must collect different physical models that are then placed on a “portal of power”, which is a peripheral that comes with the title. The portal then transfers the models into the game. The package that will be in retail includes the software, a portal and three models. There are over 30 different models to collect. Spyro being the main character and flagship mascot for the title, it is one of the first models available to players.
Each model is of a certain character and each character is playable in the game. They have their own weapons, characteristics and an element. Each character is based on one of the various elements within the game, and mixing and matching these elements is key to playing Skylanders. Players can place a character on the portal and the character is then transferred to the game within seconds, without having to pause or go to any special menu. Players can swap characters at any time in-game, so if the player needs to take out some enemies from afar, but has a short-ranged character on the portal currently, they can instantly take that character off the portal and replace it with an archer or another long-ranged character.
This feature really helps with Skylanders' gameplay, there is no break in action and it doesn't take minutes to swap characters. The models themselves are actually interesting and fairly impressive. With each being designed uniquely and there being no clones within the range of models, except for the models Spyro and Dark Spyro. The models were actually fun to look at and examine and it was nice to try and use them all by swapping and interchanging each on the portal.
The portal supports use of two models at the same time, allowing for drop-in multiplayer. The portal in itself is a nice piece of hardware, and flashes and lights up in different ways depending which character is placed on it.