Character creation is king – Skylanders: Imaginators preview

The original creators of the Toys-to-life genre, Toys for Bob, are back in the saddle for the newest iteration of the Skylanders series, Skylanders Imaginators. They’ve made some big changes by allowing the player to make their own changes with a full character creation suite. Customization begins with a physical toy called the Creation Crystal. Each has a different color that represents an elemental ability. These Creation Crystals will store your different created characters much like the Traptanium Crystals from Skylanders Trap Team.

When you place the Creation Crystal on the portal, the element comes on screen and a menu of 10 battle types can then be chosen from to combine with the starting element. Combinations like Undead Smasher, Fire Ninja or, as in our demo, Life Bowslinger offer a variety of different ways for you to fight. The battle type determines your primary attack and the element affects your secondary ability. Different options are available for both primary and secondary attacks.

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As a Bowslinger, the initial primary options were either a single longshot arrow or a shorter range three-shot spread of arrows, allowing you to choose whether you want to go into a scrap guns blazing or stand back and pick apart enemies from a distance. The secondary elemental ability chosen was a spread of vines that would reach out and ensnare nearby enemies. Special techniques can be acquired throughout the game as well by defeating more powerful foes and gaining them as drops. These special techniques are much stronger attacks, like raining down a volley of arrows from the sky, but can be used less often.

Once you have chosen your battle and attack types, there’s an entire character customization suite where you can combine various body parts to create a unique Skylander to run around with in the game. But the buck doesn’t stop there; you can even go as far as changing the size and shape of each individual part to create some pretty funky combinations. Players can equip their Skylander with tons of weapons and gear that will boost their stats in areas like strength, defense, agility and luck. When choosing an initial battle type, stat points will be divvied up accordingly; the Smasher class will have more points in strength and defense while the Ninja may have a focus in agility and luck.

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Toys for Bob’s quirkiness will allow you to change your SKylander’s voice as well, warp their voice with various filters, give your character a custom sound when they attack, and even a music theme that chimes in when the onscreen action amps up. Weapons, gear, sound and music themes can be found in Imaginite Vaults throughout the world, at Troll Radio stations, and after defeating bosses and mini-bosses. And every aspect of your character from gear to tail width can be changed on the fly.

If you decide that you’d rather not create a character, Sensei Masters and Villains are the more traditional figures that fans of the series are familiar with including re-imaginations of some fan favorites like Wolfgang and Golden Queen. The Sensei Masters cannot be augmented or have any of their gear or weapons changed, but anything they collect while exploring the world will be kept and can be used by the created character in the future. They also have a special meter called Sky Chi that when maxed can unleash a devastating, room-clearing attack. Wolfgang, with his electric guitar of death, crowd surfs on a bunch of skeleton hands that pop up out of the ground and carry him around decimating everything in his path.

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The demo also showed off another level where the Skylander is trapped in an arena to battle one-on-one with a Kaos Doomlander. The fight unfolded in three stages, where a new attack or environmental trap added another layer of complexity to the fight. The Purple Doomlander Knight of Cataclysm, decked out in massive skeleton armor, wields an over-sized sword, and had a special charge attack where he drags his heavy sword along the ground, swings it over his head and smashes it down onto his enemy. Once you’ve defeated the Knight of Cataclysm, all of his weapons, armor, abilities, and even his unique catchphrase are available for you to equip for your character. Items dropped from these tougher enemies may end up being Epic — a rarer class of weapon or armor that boosts your character’s stats significantly.

Skylanders Imaginators is looking to allow players to open up their imaginations by giving them more in-game customization options than they’ve ever had before. All 20 Sensei Masters, 11 villains, 10 Creation Crystals, and every single figure, vehicle, and Traptanium Crystal from previous Skylanders titles will be available to play with at launch when Skylanders Imaginators gets released on October 16, 2016.

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