Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Five Things I Hope To See in Skylanders Giants

Okay, so just a little update on my Skylanders scenario: I got the game at Christmas and have been playing it on and off for a while; I own 15 Skylanders and all of the level packs and am getting ready to send in for a couple of the Sidekicks through the Frito Lay Promotion (Whisper Elf, I've got my eye on you!)

I have also done some research on the new game and found to my joy that the level cap has gone up to 15. I found I leveled up awfully fast in Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and would often hit Level 10 before clearing half of my powerups, especially while doing Heroic Challenges or anything other than money-grinding on Perilous Pastures (You average about 1,100 Skybucks each time through). Thus, the increased level cap is a welcome addition. There will also be a streamlined edition for those who already own Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and thus already own a Portal of Power.

Still, there are a few things I would like to see happen and pretty much expect from Skylanders Giants.

1: A Longer, Bug-Free Game.
Let's face it, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure was short. Even with the added content from the level packs, it only took me a couple of days of casual playing to complete the story mode. Fortunately, the rule of Video Game sequels is the opposite of the law of Movie sequels, that being that Video Game sequels tend to be better than the first one. I mean, really, is there any comparison between Street Fighter and Street Fighter II? Since a lot of the work done on the first entry involves developing everything practically from scratch, there is less time to develop content and work out the kinks. In the sequel, most of the time is spent simply generating content and level design. With the unique technology and programming for Skylanders already finished, hopefully Giants will have a longer and more engaging storyline.

  2: Skippable Cutscenes
Man, even all of the kids I talked to hated this. In the first Skylanders, it was not possible to skip many of the cutscenes, particularly if this was your first encounter of the game. This became especially grueling when trying to play the Heroic Challenges. Step on one land mine and it's back to the top for 30 seconds of exposition about the Scepter of Nort before blowing yourself up again 5 seconds later. A good rule of thumb: All cutscenes and dialog should be skippable with the push of a button at any time. If someone wants to watch them, they simply won't hit the button.

3: At Least One Lady Giant
I was pleased to find that there were actually a lot of female playable characters in Skylanders, with Stealth Elf and Hex being of particular potency while Sonic Boom is actually required to complete the Enemy Goal challenges on several levels where the goal is set higher than the actual number of enemies in the level (When her little birdies bite it, they count towards the total). In the case of Air and Undead, ladies made up half the roster and none of them were disappointing.

I hope to see at least one female giant in Skylanders Giants, as that would only be fair to those who like the female characters of the series. Most franchises have their obligatory girl character and tend to deteriorate when they lose that idea (See: Bakugan) So, who's our lady giant gonna be?

 4: More Actual Boss Fights
 That's another thing that bugged me about the original Skylanders: There was only one real boss fight (The final one against Kaos). Otherwise, it was little mini-boss rushes against evil Skylanders or puzzle bosses or, in the case of Vathek pictured here, just one huge tease that went nowhere. I hope to see some gut-punchingly awesome actual bosses in Skylanders Giants. They can be plenty hard and require a bunch of Skylanders to defeat, they just need to be there.

By the way, speaking of Bosses...

5: Kaos As A Playable Character!
Come on, There is no reason for this not to happen! Based on the fate that Kaos meets at the end of Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, it is more than plausible to release a Kaos game character for use in the Skylanders game. I can just imagine him popping up and spouting one-liners as he unleashes his dark magic and attacks with his "Giant Floating Head Of Doom" (I can imagine it would be his "B-Button" Move). Players love the chance to play as the Final Boss, and I think having Kaos come out to play would be a hilariously awesome cherry on the Skylanders Giants cake.

So, will any of these predictions come to pass? We'll find out in the future when Skylanders Giants is unleashed. I'm asking for the chance to feature it on my channel and we'll see where it goes from there.

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