Skylanders SWAP Force Reviews

135,626 (94,195)
TA Score for this game: 2,177
Posted on 05 November 13 at 20:50, Edited on 03 July 14 at 16:10
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Skylanders: Swap Force is the third in the Skylanders series of video games released by Activision. It was released the middle of October 2013 on the Xbox 360, the PS3, the Wii, the Wii U, and the Nintendo 3DS. It will be released in November on the PS4 and the Xbox One. It is targeted for children six and older but is sophisticated enough that adults can enjoy it as well.

Skylanders: Swap Force follows Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure (2011) and Skylanders: Giants (2012). What distinguishes the games is that they are linked to physical miniature figures. From the player’s perspective, a figure is placed on a platform called a portal and the character it represents enters the game. In actuality, the figure is a memory device that stores the character’s game statistics.

Normally, the game is bought as a starter set that includes a portal and a number of figures. There are dozens of available figures. The characters represented by the figures have key attributes. These attributes are often required to unlock certain features of the game. The figures included in the starter set are not able to unlock all the features of the game. So, people who are striving for 100% completion will need to purchase additional characters. The characters are both well designed and well differentiated. So, not only does the purchase of the additional figures enrich the game but they also provide children with additional toys and collectors with additional items.

What is particularly intriguing is that the characters can be played on other systems. So, players can take characters that they play on one system like the Xbox 360 and introduce them into a game played on another system—say the PS3. This is of particular value because the game can be played in a two player cooperative mode—local not online.

The second and third releases in the series provide new aspects for the character figures. Skylanders Giants introduced larger characters who were depicted as Giants in the game with special powers associated with their larger size. Skylanders: Swap Force introduces characters whose top and bottom halves can be separated and mixed and matched in numerous combinations. This may sound awkward but the design is very elegant. The top and bottom halves are connected by two magnets. They can be easily separated and easily reattached in the desired combination.

It is not only the swap force characters that are elegantly designed but the entire game. The integration of the physical characters, the portal, and the video game-play is cohesive and contributes to visualizing a compelling dramatic story. Graphics, dialog, sound, physical and on-screen character design are solid gold. A lot of thought has been put into unifying all aspects of the game in a brilliantly designed package.

The objective of the game as in previous Skylanders games is to defeat the evil Kaos. The playable characters represented by figures are the good guys—called Skylanders. They must travel across a variety of geographic regions in order to accumulate the allies and relics required to defeat Kaos. The game has a chapter format. Each chapter is an adventure in a different region. Between chapters, characters can reconstitute and train at a home base.

The game is easy to pick up and learn. The game, itself, teaches the player the controls. The game can be played either single player or two player local coop. The game’s genre would be an action-adventure game with a few puzzles, races, and other diversions thrown in for variety.

The game holds up well after repeated replaying. Not only does the game provide considerable post-story activity but the continued release of characters and other expansion items ensures continued enjoyment of the game.

For anyone with kids and a video game system, I consider this to be a must-have game. It is very interactive and immerses the player in the game. Adults can enjoy it on their own. I have played all three Skylanders games in single player mode in order to develop characters for my six year old grandson and eight year old granddaughter. I find it very entertaining whether playing by myself or with my grandchildren. I would not, however, recommend Swap Force as one’s first game. For those who are new to the series, I would recommend they start with the second game, Skylanders: Giants.

The swap force characters, as mentioned earlier, have top and bottom halves that are differentiated by different powers. The bottom half has a certain ability—dig, spin, teleport, bounce, climb, rocket, speed, and sneak. This ability unlocks ‘swap zones’ where the character faces a challenge related to the ability. Unfortunately, at launch, sneak characters had not been released. Accordingly, although it was possible to complete the game and get all the achievements, it was not possible to achieve a 100% completion as tracked by the game. The game tracks the player’s progress in the game and informs the player of the completion percentage. The 'sneak' characters and the 'Sheep Wreck Island Adventure Pack', though late, were eventually released so players are now able to achieve 100% coverage of all game areas.

Three best aspects of the game:
-The elegantly designed swap force figures.
-High production values.

Three aspects that could be improved upon:
-The story is less dramatic and exciting than its predecessors.
-The swap force concept was not as well integrated into the game as the giant concept was in the second Skylanders game.
-Not all areas of the game could be unlocked with the characters available at launch. The sneak characters, however, are now available so, now, all areas of the game can be visited.

One thing that impresses me about the Skylanders games is that players can get all achievements (or trophies) with just the starter pack. However, it is difficult for someone who enjoys the game not to be enticed to purchase add-on characters and items. It is a fun game for people of all ages and I recommend it highly.
Given 4_5 stars by Allgorhythm
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