Thursday, October 8, 2015

Skylanders Superchargers: Review




Price: Starter Packs = $40 - $100 bucks (varies on version)

After 4 games I want to say that Activision corrected most of there mistakes of the past. The 5th installment, SuperChargers does a lot of things right and adds a few new problems that aren't that big a deal but does hurt the game's lifespan.

Story:

Okay I'm still wondering how Kaos got out of the Traptanium Crystal in the last game. Not to mention the other villains I have ideas but I'm unable to confirm. Apparently this is all explained in the side comics and stories that you can buy or download by searching the internet. But yeah he's at it again just like old times. What surprised me is that the minute I start the game "shit hit the fan" has already happened. Skylands is being utterly destroyed, you get booted from Skylands by Kaos denying access to your portal. Everyone's been captured. Yeah I'd say shit hit the fan. But honestly seeing the story I can already see its the classic, "Evil guy is messing with forces he has no idea how to control" scenario.

From the looks of things it seems every NPC makes an appearance and does something significant this time round other than just standing around and begging you to help them with some random tedious task all the time (Still no sign of Tessa and Wheellock from Swap Force). The story also seems to go at a much faster pace than before. In the old games each chapter was insanely long especially if you did every side quest available in it.

Dialogue isn't too bad. You still get annoyed by either Eon or now that mole character telling you that you can't enter a specific area without a specific skylander.

Gameplay:

I'm kinda a 70/30 here. The main story is rather fast paced compared to before. But at the same time it feels like there's a lot more to do without being hindered by an enormous paywall. The paywall is still there with needing more figures but you don't have to buy every last one in order to get the full experience. Depending on the version you bought you only need about 2 or 4 different toys to do all the main quest.

Villians no longer play a role in this game. Instead whatever villian you have inside your trap crystal you'll get that character's skystone card. You also use the trap as an alternate means of attack during the vehicle portions of the game. I suspect villians no longer being a thing cause of unknown story plot and the fact that they were BROKEN beyond all belief and virtually were the entire game.

All skylanders still work on the game. The level cap is still at 20. I did have to take ownership of all my skylanders again manually so that was a chore. Your magic items are pretty much cosmetic trinkets you can decorate the hub world with now. They no longer serve the purpose of assisting you during gameplay. Some will drop random amounts of money, exp, or hats for you to use. Others are literally there to look pretty.

I only own the land vehicle for this game at the point of me writing this so I can't say much about it. But I do love the driving portions. Customizing your vehicle for whatever situation. The controls feel just like your average kart racer. The combat doesn't seem to throw anything insanely cheap at me yet. I remember the previous games having really cheap bosses that used "Bullet Hell" for most of there attacks. The game did add falling off the stage as a method to damage you however. Nothing in the game seems to drag on forever like the previous ones. I still find there's too few enemies in sections. It also seems like the battle arena is gone which is a dissapointment.

I'd love to talk about online play except I can't seem to find anyone playing this game online. I have a feeling people bought the Wii U version.

The Racing. Well from what I've played. Its pure rubber band AI.  Its borderline MarioKart Wii with difficulty. There's items that apparently I can't even use but the AI can. Also have to deal with the fact that I have no way to defend myself from an attacker from behind. It may be the car I'm using. But I pretty much just have to take it or somehow gain a burst of speed to avoid other races from shooting me from behind. If I could defend myself I would be able to stay at the front of the pack a lot easier. But expect to get "Welcomed to Mario Kart" on the 3rd lap at that last stretch.  Also the paywall rears its ugly head here. By default you only have 2 tracks unlocked. You need a Sea and Sky vehicle to unlock at least 4 more. Then you need to buy what's called a trophy in order to unlock the other tracks and mirror mode.

Music:


The music is forgettable. Heck sometimes I didn't even hear the music. At first when you hear the music its not all bad but later you forget the music is even there and likely drown it out with something else.

The voice acting is still as good as it always was. And this is coming from someone that doesn't care for voice acting. I am somewhat annoyed when I play as Spit Fire and use his dash attack. Or during races. He'll keep going "Woohoo!" Its not as cute as back in the old days of Mario Kart 64 when you mashed turbo with Toad.

Visual:

For those looking for info on this game. I'm not sure if game runs at the highly esteemed 60fps. Youtube keeps screwing with my uploads for this game. PS3 version goes to 720p.

I like the level designs. Its not too big and its not too small. I particulary like the Cloud Breather Dragon as they called it. He actually felt pretty cool to see for the few minutes that he's on screen.

Character designs. Well looking at the figures I have to say that the figures look rather derpy compared to either there previous versions or in-game looks.  I do hate how the game insults me going cheap and downloading the game. The game gives you a built in skylander and vehicle except the color is rather bland. This is probably Activision saying I should've bought the starter pack instead of being cheap. But times are tough I was lucky enough to buy this for 50 bucks. In all honesty for this round of characters there's not too many that stick out and attract me in terms of looks. Some of the vehicles are cool. But considering I only need 1 of each. Unless I luck into some money I won't be buying too many.


The Good and Great:

Paywall is lowered

I mentioned this before. But you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get the full experience of the game. You also don't require to buy another huge starter pack. So that's less stuff to eat up space in your room.

For most consoles instead of buying the starter pack. You can just download the game saving yourself 20 bucks. You get a Skylander and a vehicle built in (these don't count towards your collection however).  You can use the old portal of power to play the game instead of having a brand new one.

Game is faster paced

I don't feel tired after running through 2 stages. The stages aren't insanely huge and still have a good degree of decent puzzles, platforming, and combat.

Online Play

Online Co-Op or just racing. If you can find someone now you don't have to hope that another family member or local friend actually wants to play this game.

Sharpfin is back

Miscellaneous my favorite NPC is back.

The Bad and Ugly:

Online Play:  

What online play? I haven't found anyone playing this game online. I'm glad they're smart enough to give the option to turn off voice chat. Thank god. But still WHERE IS EVERYONE PLAYING THIS GAME? I've been online multiple times and found no one. Probably limited by version and possibly region lock. In terms of this game competing with every other online game. And this game is competing in the Kart Racing online market.  I already see this getting destroyed by games like MarioKart, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, etc.

The Paywall

Yeah the Paywall while its a bit easier to overcome this round. It's still there. You can't complete the other level objectives unless you have the corresponding vehicle. You can't race on the other courses without that vehicle as well. To add insult to injury you need the corresponding trophy to play on the other tracks and mirrored courses.

Dull Music

The music is forgettable heck likely the same as its been in the previous games. This does bug me. Cause music drives me to continue to play the game.

Glitches, Bugs? 

I don't know but I seemed to have come across an in game bug were at times during certain races my Car gets launched in a completely different direction. With no rhyme or reason this happens. I tried contacting Activision via Twitter about it since they do respond (although they don't respond favorably) but I've received no answer to this glitch. I wouldn't be concerned if I didn't immediately see that this game received an online update. Meaning that any bugs and glitches can be fixed. I've only found one bug so far but I imagine that through continued play I'll find more as go on.

CONSOLE EXCLUSIVE GUEST CHARACTERS! ARGH!!!

I hate this...I hate this in every game its used in for many reasons. This being no exception. This game has Bowser and Donkey Kong as our guest characters. However they're only available and playable on Nintendo only consoles. They also can serve as Amiibo's.  I hate this cause I want to play as Bowser but requires I buy the Wii version. (DK's on the Wii U).  Not only that but now if you were to play a non-Nintendo version of this game there's 2 skylanders missing from the roster.

Once Again getting Skylander Figures is a pain

Where I live...getting Skylanders is a crap shoot. I should rephrase that. Getting functional and intact skylanders is a crap shoot. While they do go like hot cakes. The stores nearby me are either shady, lazy, or both. Never restocking when they're supposed to. And then asking if its available or coming out they'll never tell you the truth here. You'd have better luck on ebay. I've searched various online stores saying that a Skylander is in stock but then get told in person they never had em. This is cause that Skylander is being held behind the counter for the cashier to buy instead of the customer. I also have to deal with this like Yugioh cards. Except to see some skylanders opened, or broken cause someone wanted to steal it.

Also consider the fact that Activision releases there figures the same way. Certain skylanders I have to wait till a specific date to get them. And hope I get lucky that they're available.


Overall


I actually appreciate this game a lot more than the previous games. A lot of the things done fixed some of the glaring problems of previous games. While some problems will probably never be fixed. This game is fun to play and not as costly as it used to be. I do hope one day I can find someone online to play and I wish the music was better. But this game is better than the previous installments and I welcome the changes.

Worth the money? Yes.