Skylanders: Trap Team - PS4 Review
|10/10/2014||Activision||Activision||Toy for Bob|
For whatever reason we have never actually reviewed a Skylanders game here at Futuregamez. Actually, the reason is that we've never received one to review, nor requested it as it wasn't of too much interest. Still, it was a pleasant surprise when the PS4 version of Skylanders: Trap Team arrived in the post, and with my own nephews’ growing addicted to the franchise over the last year it was a game I was keen to check out.
|Skylanders: Trap Team is available now.|
As for the story, the Evil mastermind Kaos has blown up the walls of the feared Cloudcracker Prison freeing the most notorious villains in Skylands. It's up to you and the Skylanders to find and capture them. Using Traptanium, a magic material that can harness the power of the Elements, you have the amazing ability to trap the villains and return them to Skylands to fight for you!
Purchasing Skylanders: Trap Team provides you with the game disc, the Portal which plugs into the USB port on your console, and two or three physical Skylanders Characters, Traps, Collectors Cards, and Posters depending if you buy the Standard or slightly more expensive Dark Edition.
|Characters are superbly designed.|
Skylanders: Trap Team, like the games before it, is for the most part a platform action game with some lite RPG elements. Playing the game is as simple as placing a Skylander character on the Portal (which plugs into the console's USB port) and within seconds the character will appear on the screen in the game. Naturally, each character has their own unique set of weapons, attacks and attributes and each can be upgraded as the game progresses.
What differentiates this game from previous ones is that besides playing as your main Skylanders character you can, with the press of a button, switch over to an enemy you have previously defeated and trapped (and there are dozens of them in the game). While enemies can only be used for a limited amount of time before you revert to your main character they have different attacks, and are often significantly more powerful then your main character. Speaking of Skylander characters it's possible to use characters purchased for previous games (such as Giants or Swap Force) in this latest release which could save a few dollars for franchise fans.
From start to finish Trap Team is a fun game although we would have loved to have a movable camera to look around the world - it feels a little old fashioned being so fixed, but it's not ground breaking, just feels a bit old-school. The game also has some diversions from the platforming with some on-rails shooting, tower based defence challenges among others to enjoy, and they are all implemented fairly well.
|Indeed, you can attack enemies with a large tomato.|
Our biggest gripe with this game isn't really to do with the game, but the way in which unsuspecting purchasers may buy it not realising that there's a heck of a lot of characters and traps that will need to be purchased to see everything in the game. Now we understand the commercial reasoning, and the franchise has become one of the biggest and most profitable for Activision, but only providing two traps in the starter kit, and there are eight different categories, meaning you will likely need at least six more traps - and at $AU7 each that's another $42. Then you get onto the Skylanders themselves of which there are dozens more with prices ranging from $9 to $20 each, with only the more expensive ones unlocking new areas in the game. As you can see it's a big expense and one that people need to be aware of.
In terms of other disappointments we would have hoped there would be online multiplayer included, but sadly it's not and it is missed in this day and age, and with a game that isn't really pushing the hardware to its limits. We also found the game quite easy, especially the boss battles which are, more often then not, simply button mashing affairs more then a strategic battle. Gamers will also find that while you collect money throughout the levels to upgrade your character they will likely be maxed out well before then end of the game making coin collection unnecessary.
|Levels are fun, bright and vibrant.|
Of course a review of this game can't be completed without a comparison to Disney Infinity (and the latest version Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes was only just released) and there are pros and cons to each version. Trap Team is certainly a larger game overall with more levels and a lot more characters to use due to previous iterations of the game. The Disney title however includes a great level editor which will tip that game in your favour if level creation is of interest.
When it comes to visuals Skylanders: Trap Team surpassed my expectations. Sure, it's not overly complex with masses of visual effects, or polygon pushing levels to push the PS4 to it's limits but the 1080p visuals are clean, bright and vibrant and suit the game perfectly. Characters, be they the physical models or in-game counterparts, are well designed while enemies are also well designed and varied.
|Trap Team isn't just a platformer.|
The game contained a lot more cut-scenes then we expected and while some of the dialogue is a little corny - in particular those with Kaos - it must be remembered that this is a game aimed at a younger market and for them, it's probably tremendously funny. For older people, not so much. For the most part though the cut-scenes are enjoyable despite the moderately generic story.
Sound in the game doesn't disappoint either with a lively soundtrack and plenty of dialogue from the characters inhabiting the world. Music is largely forgettable, but appropriate to the on-screen action while the effects too are decent. What did surprise was that the Portal upon which you place the characters and traps contains a speaker so the villains trapped in your trap crystals will often call out to you. It's a nice touch...
|Yes, that is a flying dragon called Chopper.|
Despite the fact that the Skylanders game is designed to suck your wallet dry with all the extra characters and crystals you need to buy in order to see and do everything, Skylanders: Trap Team is a very entertaining game engaging gameplay and characters and plenty of content. An impressive release which demonstrates why the franchise is so popular.
Review By: Dave Warner
Talk about Skylanders: Trap Team in this forum topic now.
|GRAPHICS||Bright, colourful, clean, slick. Not pushing the PS4, but pretty nice.||80%|
|SOUND||Dialogue becomes a little annoying, but perfect for youngsters while music and effects suit the game.||83%|
|GAMEPLAY||Surprisingly addictive and entertaining, with several diversions from the platforming. A fun, kid-friendly, game which adults can enjoy too although a bit easy.||87%|
|VALUE||There's moderate length to this game, but could become costly with all the Skylanders and Traps to purchase.||73%|
|OVERALL||Skylanders: Trap Team is a fantastic game which will engross kids, and probably older people as well. It's impressive from an audio-visual standpoint and well worth considering adding to your PS4 collection.||81%|