Saturday, October 29, 2016

Skylanders Imaginators Review - Great Game With the Same Horrible Business Practices

You got robbed 30-40 bucks. 

Seriously this is a problem for me.  For ridiculous reasons Activision wants you to spend unneccessary amounts of money. After there stupid business decisions with SuperChargers.

When you buy this game. There is no Portal Owners pack or Download version from the day that I wrote this review.  (10/26/2016)
So when you buy the game for whatever amount of money you chose to pay.  (70 for standard and 100 for Dark and Crash edition). Basically you're getting another portal. My issue with this is that you don't need a new portal. The portal they give you is the same one you recieved from Swap Force. There's also no downloadable version which was the best move Activision made. Saving everyone money who's been playing the previous games. They said that the reason for this is cause the reception for SuperChargers was bad. Yet there's good reason why they didn't get the desired results for SuperChargers (They cut corners in too many places).

Anyway yes you're getting another portal for no reason. You can still use your Trap Team, Swap Force, or SuperChargers portal and the game still plays.

Micro-transactions

The thing that most gamers hate but has to accept as a part of there life. Now I said Microtransactions cause this isn't DLC. DLC is usually extra content in the game if you want to play some bonus stuff or have something cool to show off.
Microtransactions are basically what most Mobile Games do to have you play the game more to either unlock something at complete random. Or just to continue the game. Things that can be unlocked/completed if you go out your way to keep playing the game.

This game has Microtransactions. Of the 2nd worst if not the worst kind. You buy random chest for your Imaginators that contain random items of a specific rarity. You don't know what's in them until you open them. What's worse at least to me is. You can get duplicates of items. If you get a duplicate of an item then it'll power the item up slightly. But that's still a waste.  What's worse is there is a specific number of items that can only be unlocked via these microtransactions.  It isn't enough that Activision wants you to buy more figures if you're intent on doing everything you can in the game. But now they want more money to help you make the game unbalanced.
For the Platinum Chest it's 10 bucks. Which is the highest price you're paying but it's still Microtransactions. 

Imaginators - Character Creation

I'm a sucker for games with character creation. Particulary the kind that's "You create your own super character that's clearly better than everyone else cause for whatever reason everyone else sucks." I love this in games and wish it was done a lot more and executed correctly.

Besides what I mentioned above about the Microtransactions. Character creation is fun. Now it's not as in-depth as say SoulCalibur V was that game spoils you. But it's enough. There's a lot of creation parts that absolutely disgust me. But eventually I come across a part that looks cool. You can customize there voice, moves, size, outfit, and equipment. Of course there's some drawbacks.
My first issue arises when I switch the head part to see what it is. When I switch the head the voice changes. And I have to go back and switch the voice back to the setting I had it in.

My 2nd one comes with Unlocking these parts. You basically have to play the game for the most part to unlock most of them and more than once. Others...are locked behind buying Skylanders.

The last issue arises when it comes to picking your battle class. Once you select it. It's set. You can't just simply reset your figure and be able to choose another class cause you don't like it. I did come across someone mentioning a way to fully reset the figure but it's far too convoluted to be effective. I wanna call this an oversight by Activision but I also suspect that they did this on purpose to make more money.

Other than that the parts are hit and miss. I mean again I'm spoiled by the sheer amount of creativity that SoulCalibur V's character creation allowed. You could say that game may have taken things too far in some cases but there was tons of customization.  It's very nice to have this in the game. I just hope that it's not suddenly removed should they make another game.

My 1st Created Skylander. Incomplete cause I'm lacking Parts

Multiplayer

Local Multiplayer is still more of the same as it has been. You and your friend are tied by an invisible tether. You fight together. I didn't see any sign of Online Co-Op like the last game did. Although in SuperChargers the online was a major failure.  The netcode was absolutely terrible and even worse you were generally separated by console.

Single Player

In terms of the amount of levels. It's rather shorter than the previous games. But there's extra side levels, and small things to do on the side to occupy your time. 10 extra levels for each element but you need a sensei skylander of each element. So you need at least 10 different skylanders. Then there's 3 extra levels. The Crash Bandicoot Level, and 2 extra levels. You have a battle arena and you can play the ever famous Skystones but that mini-game sucks now.

Skystones Mini-Game

This mini-game totally dropped the ball compared to its previous incarnations. You're no longer collecting cards (skystones) instead you just get a somewhat randomly generated set of Skystones and its more of a puzzle of luck than any actual skill. Depending on your opponent each match will be a breeze or a frustrating waiting game for the AI to make a mistake. Since you have no control over what Skystones you get. It's also completely pointless to fight the same opponent more than once as you can only get 1 prize per each different opponent.

Battle Arena

The battle arena is generally entertaining to an extent. Having Broccoli Guy and Chill Bill commentate over your arena fight is nice to hear. It's actual commentators that I'm actually willing to listen to without cringing.

Level Gameplay

The levels are designed a lot better than previous games. Especially in terms of replay. A lot of things are pointed out a lot better. The game doesn't truly favor long range type skylanders over close range ones. However this is where the good stuff ends.

I get bothered by how the boss fights pace is pretty much determined by whether or not you're using the right element. I wanted to fight the boss with my Sensei Skylander. But the game recommends that I use an imaginator to deal with it. In previous games it didn't truly matter who you decided to use. Only a small matter of damage. However in this game. It's a huge difference in terms of damage. This really gets on my nerves if I wanted to fight a boss using a particular skylander I now have to work way harder than necessary to finish the fight. I know that my writing this and my videos probably won't prove my point. It's really something you'll have to see for yourself.

The pace of each level is decent. I don't really feel like the levels are dragged out for eternity. The replay of levels is generally worth it. Your progress on each goal is saved. And you're always getting something out of it than the typical EXP, Gold, and whatever you forgot to get.

Racing

The Superchargers Racing bits have been included in the game. However it's a hit and miss as this mode. Really it's on the lines of what's the point? Just like in the original SuperChargers, you have to unlock the other tracks by owning the trophies. I still don't own the Land trophy so there's tracks I still can't play.  -_-

This is stupid IMO. Not even an option to just go and download it. Another missed oppurtunity is that the tracks and characters that are exclusive to the Wii/3DS version (SuperChargers Racing) are not included.

Old Figures are Useless.

Yeah as if they weren't useless in the previous game(s). They're more usless now thanks to how this game's system works. Your magic items from the older games do nothing but grant a 1-time 500 gold bonus to your skylander.  Your older skylanders despite being max level are still weak in comparison to the new guys. I guess I should count my blessings that they're still playable in the game. But really what's the point? These new guys outclass the old ones by a 100 miles.

Story

Well the story is typical like every other Skylanders game. Kaos is up to no good and its up to you and your new set of Skylanders to save the day. I'm 50/50 about the removal of Flynn and the rest of the crew being your general guides through the game. Cause now Spyro, Stealth Elf, Jet-Vac, Eruptor, Gill Grunt, etc. are your guides. The other guys are around but they don't really do anything.  (It's rumor that the reason is due to a voice actors strike happening. But I can't confirm this).

How much are you looking to spend?

You would have to get lucky to acquire some things for cheap. I would suggest hitting up amazon or ebay to just buy the game disc if you already have the portal from one of the previous 3 games.


  • Sensei's cost typically $15 + tax
  • Imaginite Crystals if you can get one by itself is $10. ($25 for a 3-pack)
  • Gryphon Park Observatory Pack - $30
  • Elven Forest Pack - $30
  • Crash and Dr.Cortex - No Price yet but will probably be a dual pack for 30 bucks.


Now with that in mind.  If you wanted to be able to do everything without having to buy everything. You're typically looking at this for cost. (This is without getting the starter pack and assuming no special sales.).

10 Battle Classes and since these can't be reset (without some convuluted method) that's 10 Crystals. Conveniently there's 10 elements so you only need 1 crystal of each element. That's $85 - $100 bucks.

You need a sensei of each element and battle class.
Sadly You'll be buying more than 1 of the same element if you're trying to cover the battle classes. Roughly it'll be about 11 or 12 different skylanders to cover this.  That's $180 bucks Give or take.

The 3 Extra Levels $30 each so $90 altogether.

Depending on how you go about it. You're looking to spend somewhere around $400 bucks overtime if you're intent on doing everything in this game. We're not talking about collecting every skylander and all the other stuff to clutter your room. Just the minimum to at least do everything in the game.

Not-Mentioned Stuff

Selfie Mode

I didn't bring up the Selfie Feature cause it's not as all cracked up to be. I originally thought that by taking these photos they would be saved my PS3's photo archive. But they're not. I seem to be limited to a max of 20 pictures before I'm forced to delete some. And I have 74GB of space left on my PS3 so storage isn't an issue.  The game doesn't save any of this to your hard drive to share with others.

Skylander Creator App

Well first off that's just another game on its own. 2nd I can't even play it. I don't have the right android version.  Basically you would be able to transfer your created Skylander from the game to the app and save it there. You could also have your Created skylander turned into a figure, t-shirt, card, etc. Apparently it's a limited supply though??? (Wut??? Why?)  It costs quite a bit of money. I think I rather just draw the character myself.

Skylanders Academy

What's the point of even bringing this up in the first place. It has little to do with this game. Not to mention I can't watch it cause I don't have Netflix. Maybe one day a DVD/Blu-Ray will be released of this series but for now I just have to ignore it exists.

Overall

Well the money crunch is back. But not as bad sorta. The gameplay is decent with enough changes to keep you from falling asleep. However Activision's business decisions heavily hamper this game's potential.  By once again deciding not to release certain figures until a specific date. Forcing consumers into buying another portal they don't need if they bought he previous games. Then having micro-transactions for the sole reason of just milking it makes me frown on this game.

It may not be as bad as SuperChargers was with blindsiding me with these $40 - $50 extra packs and not willing to just sell the trophies on there own as well as saying that Wii and 3DS owners are S.O.L. in terms of having a full game. But these business decisions are still bad.

If it wasn't for the that alone. I would love this game a lot more. I also see no sign of this so-called online vs Multiplayer besides the racing mode. So that was probably nothing more than a rumor. Like I said before I'm a sucker for games that have somewhat extensive character creation modes. Which is likely this game's saving grace for me. So 3/5 isn't so bad even if the missed ones are a huge problem.

Good


  • Decent Gameplay with replay value
  • Good amount of Character Creation
  • Decent balance of characters. It's not all about long range characters.

Bad

  • Old Figures are virtually useless. They might as well sit in a retirement home.
  • Can't fully reset imaginite crystals without some crazy method.
  • No real improvements over multiplayer. Just scrapped what they had instead of fixing the problems. (might've been the better option).
  • Figures of each all battle classes aren't released at the start. (you're lacking a few Sensei's. 

Ugly

  • The amount of money you're gonna be shelling out if you want to do everything in the game.
  • The amount of money you're more or less getting cheated out of cause there is no Portal Owners pack or Downloadable version available.
  • Things Locked behind a paywall making it hard to do everything with just the bare minimum. 

Rating

2.5 - 3/5


I would be more satisfied and give this game a better rating if there wasn't going to be another Skylanders game in about a year. The amount of money you're going to spend hurts this game. Then to turn around and have another game get released that pretty much kills the older mechanics of the game and making the majority of the things you bought useless. It makes this fact worse by having the figures released at the worst times. You're usually done with the game and moving on to something else especially for the older audiences. 

Activision isn't kind in this department and they're not willing to help should you have issues with there games.