The Skylanders Giants Starter Pack is for newcomers.
No review of Skylanders Giants would be complete without a little primer on the figures. This isn't meant to be a guide, but more of a simple "what's what" of the action figures. I'll go over what's essential, what's not, and what you'll need if you want to see everything Skylanders Giants has to offer. Here's a hint: You'll need about $125 bucks to access all the areas in the game.
First of all, stay calm and play on if you're a Skylanders Spyro's Adventure veteran. Your old Portal of Power and ALL of your Skylanders are compatible with Skylanders Giants. As an added bonus, all of your old characters' level caps have been increased from 10 to 15. Get your level-up on! All you need is the game disc and a "Giant" figure, which you can get in the Skylanders Giants Portal Owner's Pack. It costs $60, the same as any other quality game. All the new characters will work with your old Portal of Power. Go play. Shoo.
The Skylanders Giants Starter Pack is what you'll need if you're new to the series. It includes a Portal of Power, a new Skylander, Jet-Vac, a "Series 2" model, Cynder, and a "Giant" figure, Tree Rex. Oh, and the game disc, of course. This will retail for $75. Budget your happiness accordingly.
I wanted one more "Giant" figure and then this happened. I may have a problem.
After you have the game you'll probably want to add more figures to your collection. Like the previous game, Skylanders Giants is full of areas that can only be accessed by characters of a particular element. Since there are eight different elements you'll need eight different Skylanders to gain entry into each area. If you already have a Skylander from each element from the old game, you're all set. If not, they cost $10 each. Yeah. It's starting to get expensive. As in the previous game, there are Soul Gems which unlock characters' super abilities, and they show you a little video/commercial for each character. Playing the game is like taking a marketing sledgehammer to the face. I love it, but more frugal gamers may be turned off.
There are 48 new figures in Skylanders Giants. They each have a whimsical fantasy theme, including elves, knights, and dragons. Some are all new characters. Other's are designated as "Series 2," which means they're an old character in a new pose. Before you skip over these, know that they have a super special "Wow" power not available to the original figure. There are also "Light Core" characters that have screen-clearing powers which activate when they first enter the game. They also light up, which is cool. Then there are the "Giants," who can perform unique "Feat of Strength" which allow access to entirely new areas. Thankfully, each figure is clearly labeled. Be sure you read the packaging carefully.
I should note that original Skylanders Spyro's Adventure figures are compatible with the Skylanders Giants game, but new Skylanders Giants figures will NOT work with the original Skylanders Spyro's Adventure game. The reposed "Series 2" characters will work with both games. Confused? You can see a handy compatibility chart in our Skylanders Giants Co-Op FAQ.
Yes, two giants fit on one Portal of Power. Barely.
Overall, Skylanders Giants is a very satisfying, albeit simple, experience. Seeing the figures come to life on screen still makes me feel like a big kid. True story: I just powered up the game to check out a quick feature, and my two year old LOST HER MIND when the Giant figure lit up. (I've managed to hide the magic from her until now.) She tried to wave at it on the Portal of Power and then again when it appeared on screen. That was awesome. Then I told her not to touch it and it turned into a whole terrible ordeal of screaming and crying and ice cream bribery. Play at your own risk.
Our Co-Op Review of was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.
The Co-Op Experience: Two local players can each use a different Skylander figure with a single Portal of Power to play through the main campaign.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.