WiiU

North America

Skylanders Giants

by Neal Ronaghan - December 4, 2012, 1:44 pm PST
Total comments: 5

9

The Wii U version of this game is tops, but might not be the best for series troupers.

Skylanders Giants on Wii U is a gorgeous, feature-rich game that may just be best on Nintendo’s new system under the right circumstances. Giants is a better game than the original, and offers a ton of replay value bolstered by a wide cast of fun, varied characters. Vicarious Visions, who developed the original Skylanders game on 3DS, handled the port, and with the exception of a few logistical pratfalls, it’s the best version of the game.

For more minute details on Giants, read our review of the Wii version. For the purposes of this review, the focus is the features exclusives to the Wii U version. First off, Skylanders is in HD for the first time on a Nintendo platform, and looks gorgeous. The game’s winning art style shines through, as every character animates wonderfully and environments look fantastic. The Wii U version seems to run better than it does on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Simply, Giants is a well-done port on Wii U.

The GamePad is the only controller you can use for the first player, but that shouldn’t be an issue as the GamePad is a novel addition. You can switch to using just the GamePad easily, and the game loses nothing in the transition. Unfortunately, you remain tethered to the Wii U—the included Portal of Power is wired, and must be plugged into the system. Wireless portals from previous games work if you have them, but considering you can only buy Giants on Wii U in the full-blown Starter Kit (as opposed to the Portal Owner’s bundle on other systems that includes just the game and one new figure) with a wired portal, it’s a weighty restriction. Also, the GamePad’s range exceeded that of even the wireless portal (at least for me), further complicating the inclusion of Off-TV Play.

When playing on the TV, the GamePad functions as a second screen where you can check your level objectives and your character’s stats. It’s nothing spectacular, mostly just decreasing the need to go into menus during gameplay. The GamePad’s other functionality is used for the other aspects of the game, mostly the mini-games. For example, you solve the lock picking mini-game by tilting the controller instead of using an analog stick, and you can use the touch screen to place tiles in Skystones.

Skylanders Giants on Wii U is, based on the gameplay experience,  a fantastic version of the game. As such, if you’ve been hesitant to dive in, Giants on Wii U is a fine entry point. However, the bundled wired portal inherently negates part of the appeal of the Wii U version. Even the wireless portal doesn’t have the range of the GamePad.

With no way for Skylanders veterans to dive into the Wii U version without buying the Starter Kit, the best bet may be to stick with whatever system you’ve been using and wait until the next year’s version to consider jumping to Wii U. Skylanders Giants is excellent, and the Wii U version is  a fine port, but until the near-field communication technology on the GamePad is used in the game, this version is unfortunately hampered.

Summary

Pros
  • Addictive, fun gameplay
  • Beautiful HD graphics
  • Excellent version of a great game
Cons
  • Starter Kit comes with wired portal, limiting Off-TV Play
  • Wireless portal range hinders Off-TV Play

Talkback

CericDecember 04, 2012

Their is a Glaring whole in this review.  You did not speak of what controllers the other player can use.  Is it just the Wiimote or can they use the traditional style controllers?

Quote from: Ceric

Their is a Glaring whole in this review.  You did not speak of what controllers the other player can use.  Is it just the Wiimote or can they use the traditional style controllers?

I do mention that only player one can use the GamePad (and only the GamePad). Wii Remote+Nunchuk works for player two.

spitmanDecember 05, 2012

I only use the Wii remote and Nunchuck, the Gamepad is not needed.
The review doesn't make sense...  the game is better on the Wii U but you don't recommend it because you can't take the portal and gamepad into another room???  first of all...  that is a bonus, you can't do that on the other consoles either.
Also, waiting until the characters can be used with the sensor on the gamepad is a horrible idea, that will never work right,  how in the world would you  play with characters and items sitting on the gamepad?  and lets not totally screw up character swapping like they did with the 3DS version.
Sorry, but this isn't a well done review at all.



lolmonadeDecember 05, 2012

Quote from: spitman

I only use the Wii remote and Nunchuck, the Gamepad is not needed.
The review doesn't make sense...  the game is better on the Wii U but you don't recommend it because you can't take the portal and gamepad into another room???  first of all...  that is a bonus, you can't do that on the other consoles either.
Also, waiting until the characters can be used with the sensor on the gamepad is a horrible idea, that will never work right,  how in the world would you  play with characters and items sitting on the gamepad?  and lets not totally screw up character swapping like they did with the 3DS version.
Sorry, but this isn't a well done review at all.

I'm not sure I echo your criticisms about the review specifically, but I'm very happy about the wired portal.  I wasted too many batteries on the first game.

spitmanDecember 05, 2012

Quote from: lolmonade

Quote from: spitman

I only use the Wii remote and Nunchuck, the Gamepad is not needed.
The review doesn't make sense...  the game is better on the Wii U but you don't recommend it because you can't take the portal and gamepad into another room???  first of all...  that is a bonus, you can't do that on the other consoles either.
Also, waiting until the characters can be used with the sensor on the gamepad is a horrible idea, that will never work right,  how in the world would you  play with characters and items sitting on the gamepad?  and lets not totally screw up character swapping like they did with the 3DS version.
Sorry, but this isn't a well done review at all.

I'm not sure I echo your criticisms about the review specifically, but I'm very happy about the wired portal.  I wasted too many batteries on the first game.

Ok, that may have been a little harsh...  I just really hated the thought of having to use the near-field communication in the gamepad, that would totally break the experience.  The review shouldn't fault the Wii U version because of potential ideas that would be bad anyway and you can't fault the Wii U version because you can't take the portal into another room with the gamepad. you can't do that with the other console versions either.  The Wii U version does everything that the others do plus more, the bonus of being able to see stats on the gamepad if you want to, etc... 

I'm using my wireless Wii portal with it. It may cost me a couple of sets of batteries but it's better than watching my portal go flying off the table when the cats attack that wire  :)




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Skylanders Giants Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Toys for Bob
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Skylanders Giants
Release Nov 18, 2012
PublisherActivision
eu: Skylanders Giants
Release Year 2012
PublisherActivision
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