Last October, Activision released a Spyro the Dragon sequel with a novel concept.
Kids around the world saved allowances, begged for more chores, and hoarded birthday card cash in a quest to collect all 32 characters and their rarer metallic variants. And that led to a smashing financial success, with Activision on track to make a half-billion dollars in sales this year.
So a sequel was pretty much inevitable...
Skylanders: Giants will be available for purchase on Oct. 21.
To get the obvious out of the way, Giants is part of the title because there will be more than 40 new characters to play with. Some of them are twice the size and power of regular game characters, both the physical statue and the virtual, in-game form.
Additionally, all characters from the original game can be used in the sequel. While this sounds like great news for those who shelled out a lot of money on game figures over the past year, be warned that "series two" versions of existing characters are being released, and they'll have more power; children will likely lose interest in old figures and pester their parents for the 'better' version.
You'll advance through the game and its "story-driven adventure," swapping out whichever characters you own on the fly, using the one whose powers most suit both your preferred playstyle and the terrain and enemies you're currently up against.
Adding to your arsenal are a series of "light core" characters. They have special powers (similar to Prism Break in the original game) and have little crystals in the figurines that will glow as they come closer to the Portal of Power. Just the neatness of that effect will likely have kids desperately trying to get hold of these nifty characters.
Also, you don't just get to merely use characters from the original title in this sequel. They'll be fully importable with levels and skills intact. You'll also be able to get more out of them, as with this new game's level cap of 15 (it was 10 in the original), even characters you had maxed out before now will have room to grow.
But perhaps best of all is that even though the game is clearly made for children, it's strong enough for an adult. A slew of difficulty levels will make the game challenging enough that even those past college can play without feeling the game is totally beneath them.
Combined with bigger worlds to explore and more Hero Challenges, this sequel looks to be a game the whole family can enjoy together.
Skylanders: Giants will be available from Activision on Oct. 21 for all consoles and 3DS. Rating Pending
Jeff is currently playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; follow him on Twitter at JKLugar.