Skylanders Swap Force is still a relatively new game series, but that hasn’t stopped it from regularly topping charts and bleeding the wallets of parents worldwide. In fact, the series only launched in 2011 (and at the time acted as a reboot of Spyro the Dragon) but there have already been two sequels and numerous iOS incarnations since then.
There have been plenty of criticisms surrounding the series due to the nature in which 100% completion is achieved. It brings the current ‘freemium’ trend to another level by having players physically purchase figures (as well as their digital self in-game) in order to unlock certain levels and access certain features.
In total, there are 32 characters to buy and collect (along with the base for the characters to sit), which would cost parents of eager children in excess of $300. That’s $300 just to complete the game.
Why hasn’t a line be drawn under this?
At least we should consider ourselves lucky that there haven’t been too many imitations – apart from Disney Infinity of course – but Skylanders optimizes the ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ mentality that a lot of gamers have these days.
It is a shame that young gamers have been so embracing of the format, but then again it isn’t anything different from what we have experienced throughout time. The kids with the parents willing to spend the most on their new ‘fads’ are always going to have an advantage over those who don’t, whether it’s the best yo-yo or the best Skylanders collection.
But freemium culture is something which we shall save for another day – however the reason I bring it up is because I cannot help but let it affect my judgement of the game. Of course, there is just no way I can score a game I can only complete 30% the same as a game I can complete 100% when spending the same amount to buy it.
Let’s not be too harsh on the game, because it does look and play incredibly well. If you’re willing to flash the cash and get all of the figures, then sure, Skylanders Swap Force will likely be something that you will get a lot of enjoyment out of.
The gameplay is very simple to pick up and play, and has a very similar feel to the Jak and Daxter/Spyro titles which obviously inspired it. There are no complex controls here, so the game is perfect for casual and young gamers alike. It is also relatively easy, and while children may get more enjoyment out of that, it may leave more experienced gamers feeling a little frustrated.
Now don’t take my opening rant too literally – you can complete the basic Skylanders Swap Force story mode without the need for all of the characters and figures. The only reason to purchase the additional would be to access new areas and special abilities which the basic starter pack doesn’t offer, so if you like the look of the game but don’t want to spend the green stuff, the option is still there for you to play and enjoy the game. For me though, I just can’t shake the fact that I have to pay extra just to visit certain new areas – it just feels a little wrong.
And you may wish to pick up Skylanders Swap Force purely to get into a new series – and it is a lot of fun to play. The story is fun, the dialogue and cut scenes witty, and the cast even includes a few voices you may recognize. Plus, the actual figures themselves are very well produced and a large collection looks great on a shelf, so die-hard fans and video game collectors will have a lot of fun with that.
I just dread to think how much some of these figures will cost on eBay in the future when they’re no longer produced. Just the thought makes me shudder.
If you own Skylanders Swap Force on Xbox 360 or an equivalent next gen console, then I wouldn’t suggest making the leap to buy the game again for Xbox One. The graphics are almost identical and the gameplay no different, so it would make very little sense. If, however, you or your kids are looking for a fun, and lengthy, adventure title and you’re not so hot on having to 100% it, then I would encourage you to pick it up. It’s a lot of fun, and you may just find yourself getting the urge to make that Skylander Swap Force collection grow bit by bit.
Gotta catch ‘em all, huh?
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
What do you think about Skylanders Swap Force? Is it worth the price tag in order to complete the game?
Final Score: 7/10
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 3/14/2014