The Skylanders are back. This time around they have brought in a special team known as the Swap Force. With Vicarious Visions and Beenox taking over developing duties from Toys for Bob, can Skylanders Swap Force continue the winning streak for the franchise or will it just become one of the many franchises that Activision has milked into oblivion?
Original Simple Storyline - With new developers comes a new story for the game. In Swap Force, a new evil has appeared in the world of Skylands, and to combat that evil, the Swap Force has returned after being dormant for 100 years. It’s as basic as you can get for a kid’s game, but it does a wonderful job establishing itself as its own game while making references to previous games. The game gives you brief description on who the Swap Force are, (more on them in a bit) what their duty was before disappearing for a 100 years, why they are called Swap Force and then throws you right into the main game.
Meet the Swap Force - The new gimmick for Skylanders this time around is the Swap Force. This allows players to take two Skylander Swap Force figures and swap their parts (chest and legs) to create a new Skylander that has the powers of both figures. I was really impressed that the game was able to pick up on which figure had what part and was able to generate it in game as well. The swap force feature allows for about 250 different combinations of Swap Force heroes. Which leads to…
New Regular/Giant/Swap Force Figures - With a new Skylanders game comes a new set of figures to go along with it. In this round of figures for the game, in addition to the new Swap Force figures, the regular Skylanders and the Giants line will also be seeing new figures as well. But if you already built up a sizable collection of regular Skylanders and Giants, and just want to collector only the Swap Force line of figures….
Spyro’s Adventure and Giants Figures are Compatible - Then you need not to worry as the original Spyro’s Adventure and the Giants figures are fully compatible with the Swap Force game. This is a great to hear as this will make use of your current collection rather than seeing them go to waste. Ever since Skylanders came to market, it has taken off to become the new crack for collectors. I don't think I’ve seen a toy/video game hybrid line take so fast by consumers.
Return of the Real Life DLC - Everyone knows that DLC can be a real pain in the ass. I have mentioned this twice already in the previous Skylanders games and I might as well mention it again for those who are just now jumping on the Skylanders wagon. DLC has invaded reality in the form of the Skylander figures.
This is how it works; some areas in the world of Skylands can only be reached with a Skylander that matches that type. You can beat the game with only the starter set of Skylanders that comes with Starter Kit, but you will be missing out on extra areas, loot and other hidden activities. Is it a little exploitive? Yes, but think of all those cute figures you'll have if you try to fully complete the game. If you're anti-DLC, then this could be a deal killer for you.
Skylanders: Swap Force is more of the same toy collecting, dungeon crawling that we have come to known since the first Skylanders game. And that’s alright by me. Many new things have been added, such as a new story that isn't attached to the last two games, new areas to explore, and of course the new line of Skylanders and Swap Force figures to collect and play within game. If you have invested time with the previous line of Slylanders figures or the Giants line, don’t worry as they are compatible with Swap Force and are even required to access some areas. However if you’re the type of gamer that is annoyed with developers trying to shove DLC down your throat, then you might want to avoid the toys and electronics sections of your preferred store. Even GameStop sees the power of Skylanders as some locations have a whole wall dedicated to Skylanders.
Skylanders in general is one of the few games that both kids and adults can have fun with and Swap Force pushes that theme even further. I mean what kid or adult doesn’t love to mix and match powers for fun. If you are looking for something to play with your kids this holiday season, or want something silly and fun in a sea of serious plotlines and stories, Swap Force is a great pick.
*This review was based on the PS3 version of the game with a review copy provided by the publisher.