Monday, October 14, 2013

Skylanders: SWAP Force Day-One - Impressions and Changes

While playing this game yesterday on stream. I do like the game it has gone through a ton of changes however.  

My Thoughts Of the Game So Far

There is a ton of stuff to do in this game.  In fact the replay value far outshines that of the older games. Activision still throws in your fact to go buy more Skylanders figures.  But its funny that I actually want them this time where Giants I wanted only very few characters.  I'm not exactly happy with the graphic changes and that's actually rare coming from me as I don't usually care for the graphics. I honestly wonder if its the fact I have the Wii version and not the other games. Dino-Rang's look the game made me double take. While Dark Spyro's looked rather derp.  The SWAP Force characters are what's actually interesting about the game. Instead of just upgrading the character as a whole. You can now upgrade the legs and the body of those characters. Giving you varied abilities.  But now I gotta buy more Skylanders and I'm still saving up for a new Desktop.  Sheesh.  The SWAP Force characters are magnetic and will even repel if you try to put them on backwards.  But looking at the possible combinations I find some of the characters look cool with certain legs.  

What I will do for this game first is do a stream only run. Then I will do an actual playthrough.  

What's New?

-Well Obviously the Swap Force characters is what's new about the game. The swap power-up is rather interesting.  You can make a Swap Force character 2 elements instead of just one. For example you can Swap Wash Buckler and Blast Zone to make Wash Zone and Blast Buckler. They will carry both Fire and Water elements.  This makes getting the elemental bonus easier.  

-SWAP Force Mini Games

If you intend on completing every minigame and getting everything through each level. You'll need not only a character of each element. But you'll also require a SWAP Force Character with each different ability:
  • Rocket
  • Climb
  • Bounce
  • Spin
  • Speed
  • Dig
  • Sneak
  • Teleport
So that's already 8 different SWAP Force characters you need to buy.  There minigames are straightforward. Its generally get to the finish line within the alotted time limit. There are extra achievements that involve finishing with no damage and finishing while grabbing all Red Gems. If you're playing 2 Player. The 2nd Player can help by doing a random action (dependant on the stage itself). 

-Only 2 Adventure Pack Levels

Instead of being able to replay the old Adventure Pack stages 2 new ones have been added to the game.  Sheep Wreck Islands and Tower of Time.  

-All Skylanders automatically registered to game file

Instead of having to take ownership of each and every Skylander you carry over from the older games. They're automatically registered to the file you're playing. The advanatage is you don't have to pause and select take ownership of each and every one. The downside is the nicknames of each skylander are usually reset.  You do keep your levels and money however.

-Jump Function

Now you have a jump command which you're generally forced to use. If you mess up your platforming jumps you won't take fall damage just end up respawned where fell off.  The jump command pretty much cancels all other commands so you can't use it with connection with other attacks and don't expect to be able to attack in the air.  This actually makes Stealth Elf jump move she had rather useless.

-Portal Master Achievements

Instead of Accolades for you. You now have a set of Portal Master Achievements to obtain. These are based on how well you do in each stage, how many skylanders you have. difficulty level completed, etc. By ranking up your Portal Master rank you'll gain access to more stuff in shops and minigames to play.


-Control Scheme.  

With the addition of the jump command. A lot of commands have changed buttons. B button is your main attack while Z and C are your secondary attacks.


While I am playing the Wii version. The Graphics are rather more detailed but at the same time downscaled. Probably to compensate for the extra characters. I noticed the skylanders don't even move there mouths anymore while they talk and Spyro looks rather derp.

-Access to challenges

Instead of just instantly having a brand new Skylander results in a new Heroic Challenge you find what is called "Bonus Maps" through the stage or buy them and play those.  The stat boost are no longer given to each individual Skylander that completes them. Instead its a universal stat boost too all characters you play.

-Skylander Achievements

In Giants there were achievements that you couldn't see how to acquire. Instead you had to guess and you were reminded as you progressed with each challenge. Now you can see the various challenges each skylander has available.  

-Skylanders Can Be Knocked Down?!

The Skylanders now have a knock down animation.  Although this only applies to certain attacks this means you'll have to be extra careful around enemies.

-Old Skylanders Toys

The Toys have either been nerfed or buffed depending on each toy. The ones I have I'll list.

  • Anvil Rain: Much smaller attack radius, knockback isn't as great.
  • Hidden Treasure: Instead of searching for a hidden treasure box, for a limited time all gold obtained is doubled.
  • Sky Iron Shield: 3 Shields now rotate around you.
  • Ghost Pirate Swords: No notable changes
  • Winged Boots: No Notable Changes
  • Darklight Crypt, Empire of Ice, Pirate Ship, Dragon's Peak: No longer have the extra level to play and AoE has been severely nerfed as well as damage.

-Winged Sapphires affect shops too

Instead of giving you a small discount on upgrades which you usually obtain them all long before the game ends. You can now get a discount at the shop as well.

-Arena Challenges

Introduced during giants. You still unlock these by progressing the story. There's a lot more available and you're rated based on how well you did instead of just surviving. There's also Team Survival, Rival Survival, and Ring Out modes. You also gain achievements for doing a PvP match.  

-Spark Puzzles

Instead of old lock puzzles. These are now called Spark Puzzles. Where you make 2 sparks meet and touch each other to unlock. These are rather simple compared the old ones. If you're doing 2 player then each player will control one Spark.

-Elemental Gates

There's now a SWAP Force style elemental gate. They require you to have a SWAP Force character of the said element. You can bypass this by doing player and placing two skylanders of the required element on the portal instead.  

-Max Level is 20 now

-Time and Score Attack Modes

After finishing the game the first time you can play time attack mode and score attack mode which are exactly as they sound.

-Game Saves Your Spot in the Stage

Its funny the game actually froze on me near the end of stage 3. But when I reset and went back to it. I found myself in the last area I reached. Very Awesome.