Here are 10 things to note about the new Skylanders: Swap Force console game, released on October 13, 2013:
- The graphics are VERY much updated from Skylanders: Giants. The environments are more detailed and the UI is cleaner. The game looks slick on the PS3.
- The Portal of Power that’s included in Swap Force is REQUIRED to utilize Swap Force characters (the ones that separate from the Top and Bottom), although you can use the previous game’s portal if you only want to play with non-Swap Force characters.
- The new Portal of Power is about half the height of previous generations, so it actually takes up less room and has more space for Skylanders on the portal itself and generally looks cooler.
- You’ll come across locked areas that now require TWO different types of Skylanders to open. In previous games, to open a Fire area, you’d need a Fire Skylander, but now you’ll come across a Fire and Water area, so you’ll either need two players each using a Fire and Water character, or one player that has a Swap Force character with a Fire top and Water bottom, or vice versa.
- There are also new locked areas that are based on solely the Swap Force characters. If you notice in the photo above, there is a small ROCKET icon on the base of that character… you’ll need that icon to access certain areas during the game. There are 8 icons on the Swap Force characters, including: Bounce, Climb, Sneak, Teleport, Speed, Spin, Rocket, and Dig.
- Assuming you already have all the Elemental character types from the previous games (Earth, Tech, Undead, Life, Fire, Magic, Air, and Water) and also that you purchased the Starter Pack that contains both Wash Buckler and Blast Zone (see below), expect to spend another $90 to pick up the remaining Swap Force to access all of the locked content within the game.
- The game is fully voiced, as expected, with new and familiar characters returning… and the cut scenes are just as impressive as ever.
- All the Skylanders can now jump… which adds a new dimension to the puzzles within the game. It’s very cool seeing the older Skylanders from Spyro’s Adventure and Giants leap into the air on command.
- Whenever you attack an enemy, the elemental TYPE of damage is displayed next to the damage. So instead of just saying “15” it will have a FIRE icon that appears next to the “15”.
- Finally, in the village hub (where you rest in-between chapters), there is a Target Dummy practice area right next to where you purchase upgrades for your Skylanders, which makes testing out new abilities and effects that much easier. It’s something that was sorely missed in the previous games.
All-in-all, Skylanders: Swap Force is an excellent game and I can’t recommend it enough… just be willing to shell out some cash for the new Swap Force characters and you’ll be set to experience the 40+ hours of everything the game has to offer. A worthy investment, in my humble opinion.