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Preview: Skylanders universe grows with Skylanders Giants

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Activision enjoyed incredible success with Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure this past holiday, and the company is planning on building upon it one year later with a sequel, Skylanders Giants. By bringing a huge, destructive take on a title that's already a favorite among kids, Giants aims to put a fresh new spin on the game with larger-than-life (literally) characters.

In the original Skylanders, players were quite limited in what they could do on each level, be it taking down enemies or traversing new planes. With the Giants awake, that is all changed.

Skylanders Giants (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, Wii)
Developer: Toys for Bob
Publisher: Activision
Release date: Fall 2012

Eight new Giants figures will join the Skylanders universe when Giants releases this fall, though every previous character from Spyro's Adventure will be playable in the new installment, upgrades and all.

At yesterday's reveal event in New York, Activision only showed one Giant, "Tree Rex." During the demo, the player came to a point where he was surrounded by enemies, and jokingly said that that's where the brute force of the Giants comes into play. He was right. Instantly, the game had changed, and what were once-formidable foes quickly became little more than pesky ants. The ground shook as the Giant traversed the level, and every rock and boulder in his path soon became a weapon.

The Giants are able to destroy certain parts of the environment, such as a nearby castle that didn't stand for much longer once it was in Tree Rex's view. But the destruction is more than just a visual effect; it can also be used to find new passages and hidden objects. One such example was the Giant plunging into a weakening patch of concrete, and after making contact he plummeted roughly twenty feet into the grounds of the castle. Getting out was easy as pie, too; all he had to do was smash through a few walls.

The world of Skylanders sees a bunch of floating islands adjacent to one another, and a time came in the demo when the Giant needed to get to another island. Said island had a chain attached to the bottom of it, so using what was called "Feat of Strength," the Giant pulled on the chain, bringing the previously distant island only a footstep away.

That was where the demo ended, but Activision made its goal perfectly clear: We got the cutesy Skylanders characters last year, but this year is all about brute force and destruction.


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