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Skylanders Spyro's Adventure

 

Skylanders Spyro's Adventure

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: 3DS, Adventure, Family Fun, Platformer
 
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One of the first game’s that I had a chance to preview at E3 this year was Activision’s Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure. Now I have to admit that I went into my time behind closed doors very blind, given that I have not played any form of any Spyro game in quite some time. Well I have to say after spending about 30 minutes of or so with the game I walked away quite impressed.

One of the biggest things about Skylanders is that it is not your traditional Spyro platform game. There is a sense of collectability and interactivity that has not been seen in the series before. Let me explain.

Skylanders retails for $69.99, and is set to release on the Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, 3DS, Mobile Devices and Windows PC. I played both the Wii and Xbox 360 version. For the price you get more than just the game disk. You get the game, a peripheral called “The Portal”, which attaches to your console, you get three character figurines, and you get a special poster. There are a total of 30 figurines that one can eventually add to the game, but more on that later.

Now I am sure those reading this are wondering what the heck you need all of this for. “The Portal” is a very key piece to Skylanders’ gameplay, as are the figurines you get. To play the game you put a figurine on “The Portal” and instantaneously that character becomes playable in the game where ever you are on the level. I started out with Spyro given that he lends his name to the game’s title. Each character, including Spyro, falls under a specific element class such as tech, life, etc. As you venture throughout the level you will find that there are areas that are not accessible without a character of a specific elemental class. Should you require a character with a specific element it is as simple as taking your initial character off “The Portal” and putting the new character on the portal with the element you need. Once you do so the new character immediately shows up in-game where you left off. You then use the new character with the necessary element to continue on your adventure. It is a seamless experience.

Now, I mentioned the total number of figurines you can choose from, 30. Each character, of course, has a specific element attached to it. In the end I am sure a lot of you are thinking “That is a large number of character figurines to collect”. Well, in theory it is, but rest assured you don’t have to buy all of them. If memory serves me correctly, there are approximately seven elements to rely on, so as long as you have one character representing one of the seven, you’ll be ok; and remember, you start off with three characters when you buy the game. That being said, if you do come across areas that rely on a specific element of a character you don’t have, you can always head to your local EB Games, Gamestop, Toys R Us, or any other place that sells videogames, and pick up a new character. Now I did not get a price on each figurine, but they will be sold in singles and in three packs. Being able to just rundown to your nearest gaming store is pretty handy given that you can get that one character you may need to access special areas of the game.

Skylanders is a cooperative game as well, so you and another player can sit in the same room and play. To add a second player all you have to do is put their character figurine on your own portal and the two-player madness begins. What I have not mentioned is that each figurine you own stores its own stats and whatnot, and these stats then carry over as you take the figurine over to a friends and put it on their portal for some cooperative fun. Oh, and did I mention that the characters are also able to go between platforms? Well, they are. You can take your own character from the Wii version, go over to a friends house who may own the PS3 or Xbox 360 version, and play on that console as well, maintaining your special items, stats, etc.

For example, while I was playing the Wii version when I first tried the demo. I managed to find a special hat for my character. Upon finding the hat, putting it into my inventory, and then equipping it, my character’s figurine was taken off the Wii’s portal and then placed on the Xbox 360 version beside me. Like magic, my character showed up in the Xbox 360 game, hat and all, and I was able to play with him on that new level. Again, everything was seamless.

There are also some adversarial multiplayer modes available. Now for the life of me I cannot remember the mode I played during my demo, but it was pretty fun as it was a one-on-one versus mode where not only did we use our own characters powers, but you also used part of the level to lay some smack down on each other. Although I lost, which was inevitable, it was fun and I can see kids battling their friends or family and having a blast doing so.

Visually, the game was looking pretty strong at this point. Of course the Wii version looked somewhat weaker than the Xbox 360 given it is a weaker console. Seeing Spyro and his friends in high definition was pretty cool and somewhat satisfying given how long Spyro has been around. Now my time was limited to the two platforms mentioned, so I cannot comment on any other platform, but needless to say it will look best on the more powerful consoles, but the game will also hold its own on the other ones too.

I did not get a full answer to how long the game will last in terms of a single player run through, but what I did get was a sense that it would not be a ‘one or two sitting’ experience. This game is meant to be played an extended period of time, and once done you can team up with a friend to play even more. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is slated to release this fall, so watch for more information as its’ release date gets closer.






 
 

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