Why Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure Will Bring Out the Collector in Me
Spyro of the older days is gone. That's not to say forever, of course, but for the time being, we have quite the different take on Spyro coming out soon. Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure is the newest game from Activision that doesn't solely focus on the purple fire breather anymore. Instead, it has a slew of characters that people can opt to play as, but not in the traditional sense. Players no longer unlock characters by completing the game or meeting certain requirements; instead, they are unlocked by buying their respective toy figures and placing them on the included portal peripheral that teleports them into the game. I can already hear you say "Way to price gouge your fans Activision!", but hear me out. This is actually one of the most unique and interesting aspects of the game.
It's not secret that Skylanders is aimed at the younger crowd. The game lends itself to be enjoyed by the younger crowd due to it essentially being a dungeon crawler Lite. Some slight leveling mechanics and a collection of accessories in the form of hats that give you certain positive status boosts aside, it's an easy game to grasp. It's no surprise then that toys are being used as means for players to unlock more characters.
I personally think this is a genius idea. Sure, it means that each extra character is essentially DLC, but at least it's a tangible item that, if for some reason later I don't want, I can resell or re-gift to other Skylanders players. I can already see the eBay listings now... well maybe not. Though that's not quite the genius behind it. People, in general, love collecting things: from baseball cards and Pokemon cards, to smiley face memorabilia to Disney character figurines. The examples can go on for hours, but the fact remains that collecting things brings that sense of accomplishment in seeing your collection steadily grow.
The best thing about the Skylanders figures is that not only will they adorn your shelf in all their plastic-y glory, but you can take them down and actually use them in the game. What's more is that leveling and items are all stored into each figure. This is great for two things. First off, it's a quick and easy way for you to bring your character over to a friend's house and continue using the character you built up. Everything you then do in your friend's game will again be stored in your figure so you can take all that progress back to your game. Another way these "save states" can be used is for trading! I can already see someone saying "I'll trade you my level 16 undead knight Chop Chop for your level 15 electric dragon Zap!" It makes for a great mechanic for those who have played some characters to death and won't mind parting with them in exchange for someone else's leveled up character.
For those not convinced with the greatness that is figure collecting, you can rest assured that the game is still fully playable with the three included figures, one of them obviously being Spyro himself.
Activision has gotten a ton of flack because of Skylanders, even to the point of receiving hate mail. To a certain point, I understand. Fans of Spyro wanted to see their favorite purple dragon return to his former PSX glory days, but on high definition consoles. In all honesty, these people need to pop that chill pill and realize that this game is primarily targeted at the younger market. However, there is no reason gamers of all ages shouldn't step through the Portal of Power with their favorite Skylander and rid the lands of evil.
As for me, I'm already itching to start and finish my very own collection of Skylander figures.