Skylanders Giants is just a few days from release, and considering how well last year's release from Activision and Toys For Bob fared, fans are in for quite a treat. Not only do you have an all-new adventure that you get to tackle, but it'll also introduce a new series of characters, in case you feel like adding to your figure collection.
Giants will fully support all the figures (and portal device) from the original Skylanders game, though they won't be able to level up as sufficiently as the level 2 ones that Activision is introducing. Plus, the Giants characters actually light up when they're standing on the portal accessory, without the need for additional batteries. That's a neat trick in itself, and makes them worth the $10 purchase.
Smaller characters are also being introduced, and though not as powerful as the Giant characters, will be able to put out a little damage of their own, using special abilities that can be powered up over the course of the adventure. This is also quite useful when you're battling friends in the Arena, trying to see who's the top dog – or, in this case, the top Skylander.
Here's a brief but helpful overview of some of the new characters that are joining the fray, and what they bring to the bigger Skylander picture. All of them should be available for separate purchase once the game releases this Sunday – and some are even included in the package if you're buying a Starter Pack for the first time. Enjoy!
Probably the most prominent of the new Skylanders characters – mainly because he takes center stage in some of its advertising – Tree Rex follows the Life Skylander line, as he actually sprouts flowers near his arms and feet whenever he performs an attack. That's not to say he's fully environmental, as he can dish out major damage against any enemies that attack him. He starts out with a charge attack and smashing moves, as well as the ability to pick up rocks that are larger than the typical Skylander. But he can be powered up to fire green orbs of energy as well, perfect for hitting enemies from a distance. He comes included in the Starter Pack, so if you're getting into the series for the first time, he'll automatically show up in your time of need.
The main go-to character when it comes to Tech-based Skylanders, Bouncer is a one-wheeled robot with a whole lot of attitude. But don't worry, he's not all talk, as his abilities definitely speak for themselves. He's quite useful when it comes to moving across platforms, especially when you're in the need for speed (like moving a bomb to a wall that needs to be destroyed, before it goes off). He can also use his fists to knock someone around and fire lasers at enemies that need to be taken out in a hurry. He's also got some fun battle dialogue, making him an ideal choice when it comes to helping out fellow Skylanders.
Bring the Sting! This bug-like hybrid is one of the better Giants characters around. A quick character with plenty of battle power behind him, Swarm can attack with some cool claws, making him a force to be reckoned with on the ground. You can power up other abilities as well, enabling him to really deliver the sting (yeah, we said it) to his rivals.
A character that doesn't benefit from being as sizable as the Giants (he's one of the regular characters in the Level 2 launch set), Jet-Vac is an innovative Air Skylander that's useful in the heat of battle. He carries with him a wind cannon, which works on both an offensive and defensive set-up. For instance, he can shoot out gusts that damage enemies with projectiles, while also utilizing a vacuum capability, which not only destroys anything that hits it, but also sucks in enemies, throwing them off guard. He's included in the Starter Pack as well, so you probably don't need to worry about picking him up – unless you're getting the game only edition.
And you thought chemists wouldn't have their way in the heat of battle. Silly Skylanders owners. Pop Fizz is one of the more creative characters to make his way into Toys For Bob's game universe, as he lobs around potions and creates havoc amongst those who would attack him. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in power, attacking those with lobbed magic potions. He can power these up and really dish out some damage in later parts of the game as well, provided you use the right amount of currency for it. This guy is definitely no age-old Coke.
Ridiculous 80's TV show references aside (hello, Knight Rider?), Fright Rider is probably the most feared hero-and-steed combination since the old days of Joust. This Undead Skylander is able to strike enemies with his spear and charge at foes with the help of his mounted eagle-like animal, making him a formidable foe – even if he isn't necessarily a giant. This one's a good character to have on your side.
Along with the new characters in the Skylanders universe, several old favorites are making their return as Level 2 characters, if you feel like updating your figures. Spyro, the main hero of the series before it shifted gears to an all-character adventure, is back; Trigger Happy, a twin-pistol carrying maniac, is packing more ammunition than ever before; Eruptor returns and can pound enemies into molten lava in a matter of seconds; and Cynder does more damage than ever before. 48 characters (including Giants) will arrive at the launch of the game, and more are likely to be introduced in the months ahead. And don't forget, you can use old ones as well!
Be sure to check out Skylanders Giants when it unleashes its fury on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii on October 21st, and next month for Wii U!