Activision has recently announced the Skylanders SuperChargers Dark Edition packs at Comic-Con San Diego; this year special attention is paid to both the Wii and Wii U Dark Editions.
While the other consoles' Dark Editions offer additional characters and vehicles — including exclusive Dark Super Shot Stealth Elf, Dark Sea Shadow — the Wii U Dark Edition comes with Dark Turbo Charge Donkey Kong and Dark Barrel Blaster. Also on the Wii we see another variation with Dark Hammer Slam Bowser and Dark Clown Cruiser.
While avid fans and collectors will be driven by these exclusive new versions of characters for Skylanders SuperChargers, for families it's more about whether the new packs offer good value.
Comparing what you get will be key. The standard starter pack for the Wii U offers Turbo Charged Donkey Kong, Barrel Blaster and Super Shot Stealth Elf for £54.99. The Dark Edition pack is £84.99, expands the line-up to include not only the Dark versions of characters and vehicles but adds an additional Dark Spitfire and Dark Hot Streak combo along with the mysterious Kaos Trophy.
It's interesting here that Super Shot Stealth Elf has been switched out of the Wii U bundle to ensure there are two pairs of vehicle-characters. This is the first consideration though. Stealth Elf is a popular character, having Spitfire instead may be less popular with kids.
On pure value, getting an extra vehicle and trophy for the additional £30 doesn't seem great. Of course you get the Kaos Trophy as well that is likely to unlock more in game content, but in terms of characters separate purchases will be more frugal.
For those buying the Dark Edition packs it is therefore important that considerable value is placed on having the Dark edition of the characters. This not only makes them look different in the game but also offers bragging rights to friends at school. No doubt the Dark characters are the ones kids will want because they will be more rare.
Over on the Wii, the normal Starter Pack offers Hammer Slam Bowser, Clown Cruiser, Super Shot Stealth Elf for £54.99. The Dark Edition seems better value at £69.99. It offers Dark Hammer Slam Bowser, Dark Clown Cruiser, Dark Spitfire, Dark Hot Streak and the Kaos Trophy.
Of all the packs the Wii Dark edition gives back the most to consumers who invest. For just an extra £15 you are getting the additional Hot Streak and Kaos Trophy as opposed to the additional £30 on the Wii U.
Last year the Wii game came with a free download version of the Wii U version. If this offer extends to SuperChargers as a means to offer an upgrade route from the "Racing" version of the game, it could be the one to go for.
Least happy with all this are Nintendo amiibo completionists who would need to buy four starter packs to get all the amiibo character variants. More likely they will head to eBay to find the characters second hand, still this is a high price to pay to keep your amiibo collection complete.
Back in the world with "normal" Skylanders players, the Dark Edition walks the line well between incentive and cost. Of course the packs cost considerably more, but at the same time there looks to be enough additional content to warrant the cost.
With the Dark Edition news out the way here's hoping we'll see more details on the Wii and 3DS Racing version of the game. This sounds like it will be a Mario Kart style racer, but that is yet to be confirmed.