Skylanders Imaginators Preview
Spyro the Dragon and his friends are back for the latest installment of the Skylanders series and their next big adventure, Skylanders Imaginators, is all about player customization, upon which Toys for Bob delivers. Last week we made the trip down to the Toys for Bob studio in Novato, California and had a chance to get some hands-on time with the game. Needless to say, we were incredibly impressed as this is shaping up to be the most robust Skylanders experience to date.
The story sees the return of Kaos as he uncovers the secret to creating his own Imaginator army called the Doomlanders. Players will take the Imaginator Creation Crystal and with it create all manner of outlandish, interesting, childish, badass fighters they can possibly dream up to battle this new threat. But being “the new Skylander in town”, they aren’t quite ready to take on Kaos’ legion of minions and so they are going to need some help: enter the new Sensei class.
Sensei’s are masters of various elements and battle classes that – when put on your portal – will unlock corresponding special abilities, attacks, and increase the maximum level capacity for each Imaginator you have. Sensei’s can also be swapped into combat instantly by placing them on the portal and each one is incredibly unique, full of life, and a real treat to get to know. Among the Sensei’s will also be a few villains from the previous titles, now here to help Spyro and the gang defeat Kaos.
“Gameplay is beautiful in all respects: the environments are gorgeous and full of life, the controls are simple yet incredibly fun, and the audio for this game is something else both in music and sound effects.”
Gameplay is beautiful in all respects: the environments are gorgeous and full of life, the controls are simple yet incredibly fun, and the audio for this game is something else both in music and sound effects. Music flows organically with the context of what is going on around you, it doesn’t feel like it suddenly changes to a new track but rather crashes into a nice crescendo as enemies appear and gently fades off when the threat has disappeared. Specific equippable body parts also have their own sound effects as robot legs will clank about and boots will sound like soft footsteps.
Combat is essentially a three-strike attack combo, two special attacks and one very powerful special attack. These attacks (excluding the standard attack combo) can be switched at any time during gameplay and I do mean any time. The special attacks are just as comical and outlandish as the rest of the game in the best possible way. I regularly found myself grinning like an idiot as my custom made tiny piranha alien was setting off giant explosions and spinning in circles while letting loose both barrels of his handguns. My only complaint with combat (although there is a chance that I missed it) is what seems like a lack of dodging or blocking. I found myself setting one special move to be a sliding dash attack just so I had a quick means of escaping larger enemy attacks.
With the key aspect of Imaginators being the character customization there is an incredible amount of hands on customization for the player to experience and really form a personal bond with their Skylander. The most impressive feature overall is that your creation can be edited in any way (excluding element and battle class) at any time, instantly. No loading and saving, no waiting till you finish the level, it really is instantaneous. One button click takes you into the editor, you can make any and all changes you want to, and hit the button again to see all your changes with no load times. It sounds too good to be true but it was astounding.
Skylanders Imaginators is the next big thing to hit from Toys for Bob and you can really see the painstaking work they put into giving players a brand new and memorable experience. It feels very well polished and you really feel the heart and soul that went into this game that is sure to be a fan favorite.