News Article

Preview: Skylanders Swap Force

Posted by Andy Robertson

Activision's latest money-spinner takes shape

As we wrote earlier this week, Activision has announced the next game in the Skylanders series: Swap Force.

At the New York event we had a chance to see some early levels of gameplay. What was immediately obvious was the higher fidelity of visuals this time round. With new developer Vicarious Visions delivering this year’s game it seems there has been more time to finesse the experience.

As you can see in this gameplay video, Skylanders Swap Force not only improves on the in-game visuals but cut-scenes also benefit from the sharper graphical engine. Vicarious Visions created the engine that was used by Toys for Bob on the first two Skylanders and here are able to squeeze a bit more out of it.

There is a potential issue here though as the Wii version is being handled by a different developer, Beenox. Losing its lead platform status, alongside the higher graphical bar of the 360 and PS3 versions, it will be interested to see how close it comes to the other platforms. Vicarious Visions are looking after the Wii U version themselves though which, although hasn’t been shown yet, should look every bit as good as the other core console platforms.

N-Space are again handling the 3DS game this year. Although not much was said about the portable version at the launch, it is likely to follow the same format as last year — offering a more action platforming version of the Skylanders experience along with its mobile mini-portal.

Of course, as with any Skylanders game, a big element is the toy figures. Swap Force revolves around 16 new toy characters that can swap their torsos and feet. By doing this players can pick and mix different stats and abilities — in over 250 combinations.

The Swap Force figures we saw, although not the final build, were of impressive quality. The detaching and reattaching of the two halves feels solid and positive as two powerful magnets keep the figure together. There were three Swap Force figures to get hands-on with at the New York event: Wash Buckler, Magna Force and Blast Zone.

In addition to the Swap Force characters there will be 16 new core Skylanders, 16 Series 3 figures and 8 new Light-core figures. This is a similar pattern to Skylanders Giants, with the Series 3 characters re-releasing existing Skylanders with a new Wow-pow ability and pose. However, Swap Force will bring 16 rather than 8 new standard size Skylanders this time round. Two of these were available to see at the launch: Countdown and Rollerbrawl.

One unexpected part of the announcement this year was that a new Portal of Power will be required to play the game. This means that there will only be starter packs for Swap Force, rather than the Portal Owner’s packs we saw for Giants.

As we get closer the launch of Skylanders Swap Force, which seems likely to be the end of the year again, there will no doubt be more information and gameplay to sink our teeth into. Time will tell if Activision have struck the right balance between collecting and value for money.

Thanks to Family Gamer's Andy Robertson for providing this report.

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User Comments (20)



carlocunanan said:

I've never been too interested in Skylanders but now that Disney Infinity is now into play, this Skylanders will need to kick it up a notch... Resulting in a better game. Better games will get me interested...



Drawdler said:

I'll be buying it. But I don't think I'll buy every figure this time. So far I mainly want Countdown, Magna Charge, and Stink Bomb but I can live without everything else that got announced. I'll use the figures-through-packaging exploit to get 100% this time, just leave them sealed, unlock the zones and return them. Can't deal with how poorly these figures are released a third time- it's the single worst aspect of the franchise.



PinkSpider said:

How come the Wii U version gets a different unknown developer. But the PS3 and Xbox version get the proper developer. Starting to get fed up with the Wii U being treated seperatly.



Nareva said:

@PinkSpider The article says the Wii U version is being done by Vicarious Visions, like the PS3 and 360 versions. It's the Wii version that is getting the Beenox treatment.



rjejr said:

I don't understand how they are announcing a new SKylanders game but 1 of the 8 giants from the Giants game - Ninjini- hasn't even been released yet. Which is even more annoying b/c 1 of the trophies in the game is to have all 8 Giants. And 2 others that they just released a couple of weeks ago - Thumpback and Eye Brawl - are still difficult to come by. I'm not opposed to them coming out with additional levels and characters after the fact but they advertised a game with 8 giants characters and months later they aren't even all out yet. That's just wrong.

So as fun as the first 2 games were for the kids we aren't getting this one. We already own 3 portals, we don't need another 1. They should just sell a sequel game for $40 and not REQUIRE any new characters. I hope they choke on the small swappable parts.



TheAdza said:

Loved the first game. It was new. I watched my son play the second game, didn't really feel like it offered much different so I didn't play it. When I told my son about there being another new Skylanders game, even he said he wasn't interested in it. Good old Activision overkill at work again.



Drawdler said:

@rjejr Giants was the same, though. At the point Giants was announced, Slam Bam, Cynder and Double Trouble were in very low stock while a comparative plethora of unique Skylanders (by which I mean Skylanders that play different from any prior- not recolors or reposed) were unreleased: Sunburn(Dragon's Peak), Lightning Rod, Zook, Wham-Shell and Warnado. Toy Fair is an annual event in February. The games launch every Q4. There's a very low chance they'll make a game that brings out characters so fast in the future.



paburrows said:

So I'm curious with the Wii U version if it will use the new controller tenology as the Portal or if the Wii U owners will still have to buy a new portal.



SteveW said:

@paburrows - you need a portal, you can't sit the characters and items on the controller and still be able to play without them falling off.



pariah164 said:

Not interested before, not interested now. Such a money sink with little payoff...



awesomerockets said:

I actually really want this. It looks pretty fun! Better graphics, the addition of jumping, the cool new figures, this is the second most anticipated game for me this year after Pokemon X and Y.



Urgthock said:

I will not be buying this third installment. I don't mind paying for the figurines. I don't mind there being so many figurines. I mind not being able to go to the store and find any figurine I want. I refuse to purchase any more games from manufacturers that refuse to support those games through the entire life cycle. If I can go to a store and find that store selling the first Skylanders game, I should be able to also find the majority of figurines for that game at the same store at the same time. I will not be buying into this franchise again. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. You WILL NOT fool me a third time.

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