You can’t fault Disney’s ability to run and run and run with an idea. There’s not much they won’t take to franchise, and not many franchises they won’t consider absorbing into their huge, cuddly corporate belly. You can say what you like about money-spinning excess, but recent history has shown that when Disney get a hold of something, they don’t waste the privilege.
Disney Infinity is one of the best examples of this. They already had a mountain of first party characters and worlds to pack into the original release, a money-pot they didn’t go to sleep on once they acquired the rights to the Marvel universe. Infinity 2.0 added a huge array of superheroes, alongside more recent Disney favourites like Brave’s Merida. More importantly, the sequel fixed a handful of problems and essentially gave us more to do.
In 3.0, Avalanche has gone a step further, demonstrating that they quite possibly have a diabolical plan in motion to get more grown men playing a game that is ostensibly for children. If adding superheroes was phase two, throwing lightsabers into the mix might well be the checkmate play. I’m not suggesting it somehow makes the game feel more mature, but I was hooked as soon as I heard the familiar vvvmmm, vvvmmm. Maybe it’s just me.
Although there are new figures from the Marvel universe, as well as Tron and Inside Out, the big draw here is Star Wars, with a large selection of characters from both The Clone Wars and Rebels, as well as Episodes 1 – 6. The starter pack features Anakin and Ahsoka Tano from the animated series, while other figures include Ezra Bridger and Zeb Orrelios, deliberately placed to attract young fans if the series.
Interestingly, they’ve done a much better job with the intro. It drops you first into Anakin’s shoes, then into the cutesy form of Joy from Inside Out, before catapulting you into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and rounding out with Mickey and Minnie Mouse racing Donald Duck. It’s all over in minutes, and you’re soon back in the mostly familiar realm of the Toy Box.
Once again, this is what Disney Infinity does best. Even more in-depth than last time, the 3.0 Toy Box is a huge slice of wall-to-wall fun. There are agility challenges, combat challenges, a horde mode arena, air and ground races and an arcade. As before, you can hop into several pre-sets or the hub itself, or you can create your own Toy Box from scratch and share it online. The more Disney Infinity pieces you already own, the more you’ll get out if it from the off. Sadly, you can’t use the playsets from the original release, although they do unlock features to use in the building mode, and obviously all the characters work.
There’s an impressive amount of stuff to unlock, both for the Toy Box’s build mode and the new INterior, a cute little living space you can customise like a Sim house. And the Toy Box Hub itself is wonderful. There are loads of optional side missions to take care of, and the overall look and feel of it – initially expanding with the first few challenges you undertake – is hugely appealing. It’s certainly a far cry from the largely hollow and disjointed original.
The Twilight of the Republic playset features a decent romp that starts with a battle through the Geonosion droid factory in a handful of set-pieces oddly reminiscent of Ratchet & Clank. The button-mashing combat has been deepened and improved slightly by putting the onus on special moves, blocking and evading, while running around as Anakin or Asokha (or indeed any Jedi or Sith) also allows you to use force powers, all of which can be leveled up alongside health, movement speed and a bunch of other character-specific attributes.
On the technical side, Infinity 3.0 improves comfortably on its predecessor. Loading times seem to have been lessened considerably, while the frame-rate is much more consistent this time around. There are still occasional stutters during busy fights, but overall the character animations and the graphical performance is a big improvement.
Admittedly, this is still primarily a game for children – hence the Star Wars character design lifted from the animated series – and as such, isn’t hugely challenging. Thankfully, it compensates with some genuinely fun challenges and even more natural likability than 2.0. The voice acting and sound design add an element of authenticity, even more-so than the last instalment, and the worlds pop with atmosphere and easy charm.
If you’re not a fan of Star Wars, the other characters may not prove enough of a draw to sell you 3.0, but even if you buy it simply to increase your Disney Infinity gameplay options, it’s worth it. The added activities in the Toy Box, coupled with the mass of new building mode objects and collectibles, mean you’re never short of something to do.
It’s fair to say that with all the new characters, power discs and modifiers to collect, Disney Infinity 3.0 will still be a major drain on your bank balance but, quite frankly, the lightsabers make up for it, and you’ll be having fun again no matter how old (or young) you are.
Star Wars characters are a great addition.
So much to unlock and create with.
Improved load times and performance.
Still too easy, even for younger players.
Slight frame-rate issues persist.
Mission structure is incredibly linear.