So, Skylanders is due out soon! I've decided I want to leap headfirst into it, and possibly even Let's Play it someday. It turns out this game has on-disc content unlocks, where you can only access certain areas if you purchase certain level unlocks and character elemental types. Therefore, if you want to experience all the content on the disc, you're going to have to drop some serious cash. Here's the breakdown, and how much it costs:
Let's assume you're starting with the Starter Pack for PS3, 360, Wii, or PC, which starts with Spyro and two characters. Total cost: $70.
There are two $20 Adventure Packs, which come with one character and one level each. Current total: $110.
At this point you should have five characters: Spyro, Trigger Happy, Gill Grunt, Terrafin, and Ghost Roaster. Each of these characters corresponds to a different element: Magic, Tech, Water, Earth, and Undead, respectively. This leaves the elements of Life, Wind, and Fire. You could try purchasing these elements individually at $8 apiece, but there are three character packs that give you three characters at $20 per pack -- so, why not, let's look at those first.
Three three-packs are due out at launch. Character Pack 1 features Tech, Fire, and Life elements. Character Pack 2 features Earth, Tech, and Magic. Character Pack 3 features Fire, Undead, and Earth. So, though it technically equates to a $4 savings versus buying them individually, you really shouldn't worry about it unless you're a toy collector and absolutely need every figurine. This means if you want to minimize the total cost of this on-disc content, picking-and-choosing the last three elements is probably the way to go. $134.
Alternatively, as it turns out, the 3DS version of Skylanders is a separate game from the console versions, and has the same content unlocking system! So, you could look at it as a way to crank as much value as possible out of all the figurines you've purchased so far. And look at that, it comes with two figurines aside from Spyro, which correspond to Life and Fire. That just leaves the Wind element, which you can purchase as this set's single standalone. If you go this route, the total cost is $178.
This isn't the way Activision wants you to think of it, of course! I'm only scowling at this $134 pricetag because I'm thinking of it in terms of a crazy spiteful Internet person. The game isn't targeted at people like me; instead, it's aimed at kids and toy collectors, who think of toys like these in different terms than people like me who are trained to think in terms of DLC and ingame value:
- Oh man, this is awesome! The starter pack characters are great, and there are so many other dudes I can collect! I want this one and this one and this one! Not this one, maybe this one, this one looks stupid (etc, etc.)
- I MUST HAVE ALL OF THESE. I WILL PLACE THEM ON MY SHELF, AND ONLY LOOK AT THEM WHEN THE TIME COMES TO DUST THEM.
In short: If this game functions anywhere near as well as intended, it is going to make Activision too much money.