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E3 Impressions - Skylanders Swap Force

4:24 PM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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'Skylanders Swap Force' from Activision.
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  • Some might find it hard to believe, but it's only been two years since Activision introduced Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and its affiliated toy line to the world.  Now in its third year, a new Skylanders title is about to release in Skylanders Swap Force.

    Last year, Activision went big with Skylanders Giants.  This time around, Activision will be switching things up when Skylanders Swap Force releases on October 16.  Well, players will at least.

    The game takes place in an area known as The Cloudbreak Island.  In this location is a volcano that erupts every 100 years and replenishes the world's magic supply.  As it turns out, the evil-doer Chaos intends to corrupt the volcano to spread evil instead.

    Viciarious Visions, the primary developer this time around, is using their own game engine in Swap Force.  The new engine now only makes the game look nicer than the previous two games, but it also allows the Skylander characters a new global ability: jumping.

    Luckily, the use of a new engine doesn't mean that the Skylanders figurines from Spyro's Adventures and Giants won't be compatible.  In fact, not only will they be compatible with the new game, Activision is raising the level cap of those (and the game's 32 new characters) to 20.

    As far as the new Skylander characters are concerned, Activision is introducing 16 new standard characters and 16 new "Swap Force" characters.  Much of the game seems akin to what player will recall from the previous two, but it's that latter group of new characters that should prove to be the driving force behind this title.

    Swap Force figurines such as the undead vampire boxer, Night Shift, and the ninja skunk, Stink Bomb, are fully-playable characters on their own.  The cool thing about these and the 14 other Swap Force characters is that they can each be physically split apart then re-attached to another Swap Force figurine to create new hybrid characters.  This should come in handy when playing single player and more than one character attribute is required to access an area.  Furthermore, Swap Force characters have an extra attribute assigned to them that allows them access to special Swap Force only areas.

    There are also special "strong zones" that exist on The Cloudbreak Island that favor one type of character over another.  Those playing with a swapped Swap Force character that shares the same attribute and a strong zone will get the bonus, even if the other half of the character does not.

    While Vicarious Visions is the primary developer on this title and is responsible for making the Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 versions of the game, they're not the only ones making Skylanders Swap Force.  Beenox (Spider-Man: Edge of Time) is making the Wii version while n-Space (RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D) is creating the 3DS version.

    The game will sell for $74.99 as a three-character starter pack (including the "Portal of Power" needed to bring figurines into the game).  Additional Skylander characters can be purchased for $9.99 each or three for $14.99.

    Three years into Skylanders, and Activision still has quite the racket.


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