Nonetheless, I just wanted to post a few updates for those of you who faithfully read the blog.
Skylanders Giants Playthrough
I have recorded through Part 31 and believe it or not I have up through Part 20 ready to upload.
These recordings basically cover the first few character intros past the somewhat scattered first chapters. After that we get into Chapters 3 and 4. So far I have to say Rumbletown is the best chapter in my opinion...That is in large part due to Ch. 1 being somewhat of your tutorial, Ch. 2 being relatively brief, yet divided into three parts, and Ch. 4 having Skystones (that's another post!).
Chapter 3 actually has the most of what I anticipated and hoped for...action. I wanted to have a lot of enemies, showdowns, and a little exploring requisite to finding treasures etc. Chapter 3 has been the best to produce what I desired. That said, it is important to note I have only played through Chapter 4.
After the Ch 3 & 4 playthrough I introduced all the characters in Triple Packs #2, 3, and 4.
I then opted to go in and record a "What We Missed" video that will compile all the stuff we missed (Treasure Chests, Hats, Story Scrolls, Legendary Treasures, Areas etc) into one video. The levels are just so long (well time consuming I should say), I didn't want to bore everyone with a 15 minute run thru a level just to obtain 1 Treasure Chest. Similarly, I actually want to play through the levels in full detail to obtain as much XP and cash as possible.
I will being editing the next round of videos (21-31) and at that point I'll upload the stuff that is ready to go.
Skylanders Giants Impressions
I have to say that I was most looking forward to Crusher. I think he is very powerful, but may not be the most user friendly out-of-the-box. Tree Rex is great in my opinion and fairly versatile with his charge attack. It is Bouncer, who I was looking forward to the least, that has been the most versatile Giant thus far. His bouncing bullets are the cream of the crop in terms of "box stock" as their range makes up for the lack of speed, although Bouncer isn't quite as slow as you'd think.
Swarm has been a nice surprise having the flying ability right from the start...it also helps him move quicker and offers a more spirited offensive alignment.
Granted, once the Giants are upgraded and have some Heroics (cough, Speed, cough) under their belts I think things will fall more in line with my overall expectations. That said, the bottom line is to not write Bouncer off just yet!
New Skylanders Impressions
Keep in mind I have not upgraded anyone just yet.
Jet-Vac, who I was most looking forward to, is great. He has decent range with his gun and the vac is super handy and efficient. I think Pop Fizz has a lot of potential down his upgrade paths, but to be honest I am currently just using his potion toss as a hit-and-run type attack...the results are pretty good! Shroomboom isn't quite up to par with my early 4, but I definitely think his upgrades will alter that. I have yet to loose him and enjoy playing as him though. Fright Rider has proven to be quite efficient for me. Similar to several Undead Characters (Ghost Roaster and Cynder), he has an initial combination of a decent close quarters attack and a speed move to get away or deliver some damage. This suits my play style and that is probably why I've used him so much at this point.
The other three new Skylanders (Chill, Sprocket, and Flashwing) I literally just got into the mix. Sprocket's secondary attack is pretty disappointing right now. It looks like the upgrades will address it, but as of right now I liken it to Hex's "Rain of Skulls" that just took so long to conjure I never got to use it. I have to say the turret gun is cool, but the time involved usually gets it decimated in Hard (Story Mode), and when you set it up, the range is lackluster.
Flashwing is probably going to be seriously under the radar based on her looks. I think her upgrades will be huge. I have yet to use her for anything outside her Heroic Challenge, but she isn't bad right out of the box.
Chill is probably the best in stock form out of these three. She has a perfect pairing of offense and defense in my opinion. The Ice Walls not only push enemies back, but also allow you to set up several and adopt defensive techniques. The range on her javelin is very impressive and the best thing is she can throw the javelin through the ice walls! I haven't used her in gameplay yet, but I know that will suit my style of play.
Bottom line is each new Skylander here has something to offer. While I think the upgrades will no doubt impact my opinions and change rankings, I can see each of these 7 benefiting greatly from what they've got to work with...
I think I'm going to make a poll on Skystones to see how well it is liked or disliked. I could certainly do without it. I don't hate it, but I'd rather be smashing trolls or cyclops spinners. I think a lot of my griping about it has to do with recording late into the night, lol.
So far I can say that the only one to really be challenging is Crushers's with a box stock Crusher. If the enemies didn't respawn it would be a cake walk. If the secondary attack had another 8" of range it would get done within 2 tries. As is, this is insanely tough for Crusher with no upgrades or other Heroics.
It is actually why I haven't uploaded Part 11-20 just yet. Crusher is Part 13 and I spent several tries on his HC and didn't get it. I hit the 30 minute mark (loosing audio is a huge risk there for me), and I wanted to progress and get into the game more so I just left it at that.
I know with a few upgrades and other speed challenges it wouldn't be as tough, but as of right now it is a complete pain. I'm not sure if I want to upload it without being complete, but I haven't had time to touch it since those initial attempts failed to pan out...
The Game Overall
I have to say thus far (Chapter 4, ready for Chapter 5) has been pretty fun. I like all the new characters and greater challenge in terms of difficulty. I do miss some of the old voices and think that shot of using the treasure chest or a glitch it is going to take a brief eternity to get the cash to upgrade everyone. If I was just using Giants and New Skylanders it wouldn't be as daunting. (That said I do think I remember you getting cash in Battle Mode...that is nice, but without either Single Player mode or Online play it kind of limits my chances to "cash in.").
The best thing to take from that is that you will have even more play time to milk out of Giants. There are a few other things I won't go into right now (Quests etc), but let's just say Giants will keep you as busy as you so desire.
This is a big one, and I really didn't mean to go into a full mini-synopsis of the game like that, as it is probably what is driving most people (literally in many cases).
Wave 1 is pretty well in stock everywhere. Outside of missing a Giant at Walmart or something I feel like you can easily snag all the Wave 1 releases. And I should note, if you do miss a Giant at Walmart they probably have more in the back.
Wave 2 is hit and miss right now. It came out the Monday after launch at TRU and has slowly trickled elsewhere. I was without any Wave 2 figures until last week when I stumbled upon Sprocket and Flashwing in both Single Pack and Triple Pack offerings.
The Triple Packs of these two characters are currently pretty hard to come by...that said, anyone with diligence or contacts can get them relatively easily, but it might take a week or two.
Sprocket seems to be quite a bit more common then Flashwing at this point. I have noticed that every store other than GameStop (smaller and more controlled display) runs into the situation where people are stashing what they want (which is likely Wave 2 figs).
Hot Head is the only currently available character I have yet to see in person. I nearly landed him on Amazon last night, but in the short time it took me to add a CD to my cart for free shipping all 14 were gone! I am hopeful more stock on this Fire Giant will trickle in soon.
As for store-by-store here is what I've noticed the last 2 weeks:
Toys'R'Us: The biggest selection overall. They have also kept good stock on the Legendaries, Giants, and LightCore. If you dig around you can find Wave 2, Series 2 Singles like Flameslinger, Hex, Bash, Double Trouble, Stump Smash, Gill Grunt, and Sonic Boom (I listed those in order of what I see the least often to the most often). Sprocket seems to outnumber Flashwing about 5:1 by my counts and you will likely have to skim the pegs to find them. The Wave 1 stuff is still fully stocked (Pop Fizz, Fright Rider, Triple Pack #1, Triple Pack #2, TP1 singles (Trigger Happy, Whirlwind), TP2 Singles (Ignitor, Zook), and S2 Singles Slam Bam and Terrafin. Jet-Vac's LightCore is really the only thing past Flashwing and Hot Head that is tough to come by at TRU.
Target: They seem to keep a nice stock of Wave 1 Series 2 Singles (Slam Bam, Terrafin, Trigger Happy etc), Triple Pack 1 and Triple Pack 2, and the base Giants. Oddly enough it is rare to see a LightCore at my local store and I have not seen the LC Triple Pack they have rights to...The big thing here is I have not seen Granite Crusher since release day when I snagged the last two. That said, GC is online so it isn't too big of a hit. I have not seen Sprocket or Flashwing at Target, and I have only seen Stump Smash and Gill Grunt in the W2 S2 Singles. Their presence tells me they probably had Bash, Double Trouble, and Sonic Boom but they must go quicker for some reason.
GameStop: They have the smallest display, but it is about the only one actually controlled and kept orderly. They seem to stock 2 of each Giant and 3 or so of everything else. I have seen Sprocket and Flaswhing single and Triples but they are the least common.
Walmart: Believe it or not, they have had the best stock on Sprocket and Flashwing by far. Similarly, there count on Wave 2 Series 2 Singles is higher than Toys'R'Us by a significant margin. I think I saw 4 Flaswhing Triples tonight. However, I did not see very many Slam Bam, Terrafin, or Fright Rider singles. Also of note is the fact that their Giants and LightCore selections seem to be the most picked over.
Misc. Stuff Just Because
Wii U Countdown
-Hot Head (Skylanders Giants)
Recent and Upcoming Releases
-Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS) 10/30/12
-Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS) 11/11/12
-Skylanders Giants (Wii U) 11/18/12
-Wii: Skylanders Giants, Wii Fit Plus
-3DS: Skylanders Spyro's Adventure
-Auto Audio (In the Car): Taylor Swift's RED
-Home Audio (At the House): Matchbox Twenty's Exile on Mainstream
Well that turned out to be a lot more of an update than I had anticipated. I really just wanted to tell you that I had Parts 11-20 ready to upload, had recorded Parts 21-31, and currently didn't have Crusher's Heroic Challenge complete....I suppose that just would have been too simple, eh?!
Oh well...I have just honestly been too busy to upload what I've gotten recorded or really dedicate toward the playthrough or blog as I had hoped. You should see some new vids go up Sunday and if all goes well I'll upload 1-2 more a night till I'm catching up with the current recordings etc.
Stay tuned for more updates...I also think you will be seeing Skylanders Battle Tournament #2 here shortly!