Skylanders Swap Force Review: Nothing Beats a Vampire Boxer or Ninja Skunk

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skylanders swap force ps3

Title: Skylanders Swap Force
Price: $74.99
System(s): PS3 (Also available for 3DS, PS4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Release Date: October 13, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Activision (Vicarious Visions)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone 10+” for Cartoon Violence

Though people may have been skeptical of a NFC game like Skylanders at first, it’s proven itself to be quite a remarkable and dependable series. While there are some cash grab elements, each installment is actually well made, and sometimes even challenging. They’re filled with detailed characters and surprisingly awesome voice acting, with each installment improving on the last. Skylanders Swap Force is no exception. In fact, this latest entry offers giant leaps forward by improving not only minor gameplay elements, but offering even more improved visuals and the best lineup of new Skylanders heroes.

skylanders swap force

Kaos is up to no good, so send more Skylanders at him.

As usual, Skylanders Swap Force has a rather silly and almost generic story made far more interesting and palatable by incredible voice acting. Flynn (Patrick Warburton) is exploring the Cloudbreak Islands, when a young fox named Tessa (Kari Wahlgren) says her village is in trouble. Flynn and the Skylanders go in for the save, and learn that Kaos (Richard Horvitz) is causing trouble again.

The Cloudbreak Islands’ volcano is known for replenishing all the magic in Skylanders. However, Kaos has found crystalized evil, and wants to use it to taint the volcano. That way, its next eruption will spread evil throughout the Skylands, instead of magic. Fortunately, there is the reliable new portal master, the player, with hundreds of Skylanders to save the day.

skylanders swap force

A prettier and more imaginative incarnation.

Skylanders Swap Force mostly follows the typical series formula. Players go through various levels, which are filled with enemies, gold, hidden treasures, and special areas only certain Skylanders can traverse. Some spots are also zoned for specific types of characters, providing a power boost if, say, a fire Skylander is used in a fire zone. Players go through alone, or with a friend, and use their character’s three different attacks to reach the end. For the first time ever, Skylanders Swap Force adds jumping to the mix, adding some mild platforming elements that allow players to reach new areas.

Particularly notable are the special challenges for Swap Force characters in Skylanders Swap Force. Select Skylanders can be pulled apart into two pieces, with both the top and bottom parts having powers tied to them. Having one of each is key, should you be playing alone, as you’ll need to swap parts to open certain gates. The first level’s gate is a fire/water gate. Which means one of two things. A player can work alone, and use pieces from the included Wash Buckler and Blast Zone Swap Force figures to open the gate and explore the new area. Or, they can have a friend nearby and use two separate Skylanders from those two types. Either way works. Basically, it’s another way for Activision to enforce a kind of “catch’em all” mentality in completionists.

The other kind of challenge requires the bottom half of Swap Force characters. Each one has an ability tied to it. Wash Buckler, for example, can climb up steep slopes. Rattle Shake can bounce. Sometimes, a level will have a brief challenge that requires that ability to gain a reward. Rattle Shake‘s, for example, would have him jumping and double jumping off of platforms to reach a balloon with Kaos’ face on it that needs popping. If you miss one in-game, due to not having the proper Skylander, it isn’t the end of the world, but it will mean missing out on an extra.

The extra Swap Force specific challenges aren’t the only Skylanders Swap Force alteration. Vicarious Visions has given the series a major graphical upgrade. The characters are far more animated and detailed than they were in previous installments, as are the various levels and environments they’ll explore. They look better as they move around the world, and seem more vibrant than ever before. It’s easily the prettiest Skylanders game. If anything will have kids begging for a Skylanders animated series, it will be this entry.

It isn’t just that the character designs and names are more imaginative in Skylanders Swap Force. Their means of attack are as well. A good example is Starstrike. The Skylanders series has had characters that are long range attackers before, but with this particular character, the attacking requires players to show a bit of skill. She can send off a star to attack distant enemies, then it will boomerang back towards her. If a player uses her secondary attack at the right time, she’ll hit the star back, making it larger and more powerful. A really skilled player can keep this going for a number of hits, potentially wiping out all enemies in an area with one star. She’s not the only character to have a more advanced and strategic attack scheme, naturally, but the one that best illustrates my point.

skylanders swap force

Skylanders Swap Force is one to be reckoned with.

I can honestly say, after receiving Skylanders Swap Force from Activision and enjoying it for over 12 hours, that this entry truly steps things up. Each installment of the series has been better than the last, improving on the little things. Yet, instead of being a small step up, Skylanders Swap Force take a leap by adding more character customization, richer and more animated environments and characters, and gameplay elements that finally add some platformer elements. All together, it makes for a game that’s generally more enjoyable to play. The only downside is, as always, that someone needs a substantial figure library to find every extra. If

Site [Skylanders Swap Force]

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