Whether you loved or hated the latest film version of "The Lone Ranger," few would argue that it flopped. Unlike past Johnny Depp/Disney films, this one didn't light up the box office or resonate well with most of the film-going audience. With that kind of performance, it wouldn't make sense to develop a video game based on the property. However, Disney Infinity provides an opportunity for second chances, and that's exactly what's happened with The Lone Ranger being selected as one of the first play sets for Disney's ambitious figure-based video game.
The play sets are interesting since they use the same blueprint as Activision's Skylanders series. Unlike most downloadable content for games, the contents of the play sets, from the characters to the level assets, are already on the disc. The only reason to buy the play set is to unlock the content. While this benefits people without an Internet connection, it also means that major settings are rather limited in their expansion. For The Lone Ranger play set, you'll find the game world cube and two figures: The Lone Ranger and his sidekick, Tonto. Unlike the other game worlds released thus far, there are no other figures for this specific world, so this is complete once you pick up the set.
Like the rest of the game worlds, it cribs some of the plot from the movie without necessarily becoming a retelling of it. The Cavendash gang is at it again, and this time, it's trying to take over the sleepy town of Colby. Once you rescue the town from the initial attack, you discover that the gang has also tried to take over the railroads. With the local sheriff powerless to stop them, it's up to Tonto and the Lone Ranger to stop them.
Like most of the worlds in the starter set, this is another action-oriented play set, but it differs from the rest in a few ways. The world feels a little smaller than the other play set worlds. There are plenty of canyons to explore and at least four different distinct areas, but these sections are small enough that no faux loading screens are needed. With smaller areas come better opportunities to get capsule toys. Since they're so close together, it's tough to not stumble across them every few feet. The level also makes an effort to display a night and day cycle, and you can see the transition, with shadows getting longer and the sky dimming and brightening accordingly. While it is a nice touch, it's important because there are certain tasks that are only available at night. The quests are varied, and while there are lots of story-specific fetch quests, you'll have a few that differ, such as various forms of target practice and finding Tonto's shrines.
The combat is also something you'll notice is very different from the other worlds. Instead of solely using melee attacks or a combination of melee and projectiles, both heroes rely on projectile attacks at all times. Tonto goes for slow but powerful tomahawk throws while The Lone Ranger goes for his trusty six-shooter. For the most part, you'll want to play as The Lone Ranger despite his constant need to reload ammunition since he fires shots rather quickly and they tend to bounce off objects for deflected kills. Both can use stationary cannons and Gatling guns against opponents, with pop caps and balls being used for ordnance to stay with the game's toy theme. The heroes can also use mystical trinkets, such as Crows Feathers, to temporarily turn into a crow and gain flight or a Thunder Horse to knock down enemies. They can also call upon their trusty steeds to better traverse the world.
It is the train, though, that commands the most attention for the player since it's one of the more interesting things in the world. Much like the Pirates of the Caribbean world, the train is the only thing you can customize, and you earn lots of items to customize it. Some are utilitarian, such as TNT cars and cattle cars, and are used to complete some quests while others are purely cosmetic, such as camouflage paint jobs for the cars and chrome trim. One of the more interesting additions to the train is a weapons car that lets you outfit it with a cannon, Gatling gun or both. Since the train is mobile, you can stay on the train and circle the whole world, if you wish. You can even hit track switches to customize your route, making it fun to ride the train and see how many paths you can go through before you've seen it all.
Unlike the other game worlds, this one is short in terms of playtime. While this would normally be seen as a negative, it actually isn't since that means the world doesn't overstay its welcome. If you're concentrating on finishing up story-related missions, you'll be done in less than two hours, but the level goes on for much longer if you want to do all side-quests and get all items.
One thing you'll notice is that the game is rather quiet as far as your protagonists are concerned. Whether they're celebrating a victory for a completed mission or just mulling over enemies, The Lone Ranger and Tonto aren't as talkative as the other Disney characters. While Tonto is voiced by a soundalike, The Lone Ranger is voiced by Armie Hammer, an unexpectedly welcome move considering so few of the original actors contributed to this game.
Aside from the main game world, you have specific challenges for The Lone Ranger and Tonto. For the Ranger, he has a timed challenge that asks him to hunt down as many members of the Cavendash gang as possible. With four minutes on the clock and you on horseback, the challenge is pretty easy to get a gold medal. Tonto's quest is trickier because it requires you to collect all of the non-descript collectibles before time runs out. This time, you have the power of the Crow Feathers to transform you into a bird, and the level makes great use of verticality and maze-like caverns to make the challenge quite difficult. Both challenges are fun and well worth replaying.
The Lone Ranger play set is a fun addition to Disney Infinity, even if you weren't a fan of the movie. Aside from grabbing the unique toys from this set, the focus on projectile fighting makes the set feel much different from the others in the collection. The smaller size of the world means that quests can be completed faster and new toys are easier to obtain. The additions of trains and horses make this a very involving play set. For a fan of the Disney Infinity game, this play set is worth picking up.
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