Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Avalanche Software
Release Date: Aug. 30, 2015


PS4 Review - 'Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Aug. 28, 2015 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Disney Infinity 3.0 allows players to experience original adventures in some of their favorite Disney and Pixar worlds, and to build their own using the power of their imagination.

In a lot of ways, Disney Infinity is the sort of thing I'd dream about as a kid. It was fun to see various characters cross over and have adventures, but in Disney Infinity, you can have Donald Duck fighting alongside Thor while Spider-Man hangs out with Aladdin. Nothing quite compares to this year because Disney Infinity 3.0 throws Star Wars into the mix. The idea of a game where the various Star Wars characters can cross over is enough to get plenty of kids (and some adults) excited. Add in the huge cast of Disney Infinity characters, and it's easy to see why Disney Infinity 3.0 isn't trying to rock the boat. When you can bring Darth Vader to the table, you already have people's attention.

The core gameplay in Disney Infinity 3.0 is nearly identical to last year's 2.0 version. Skill trees seem a little cleaner, the controls feel a little more responsive, and the game has seen some minor tweaks, but everything is going to feel very familiar.  It might be a little disappointing for those who were hoping for more of a change, like Skylanders SuperChargers, but I actually think it works out for the best. Rather than reinventing the wheel, 3.0 feels like an attempt to polish things. Many of the minor changes are in response to complaints about last year's game. I enjoyed the vehicles I played around with a lot more than the more awkward ones in 2.0, but there's nothing in the gameplay that will make kids want to run out and grab 3.0 at launch.

As with the previous title, the 3.0 play set is completely backward compatible with the last year's toys. You don't even need to buy a new portal if you don't want to! Newcomers are treated to a simple tutorial that explains the core game mechanics and gives a taste of the new additions. If you unlock everything in 3.0, you'll receive the Keyblade from Kingdom Hearts.

The Toy Box Hub, which allows you to create your own levels, has been improved so it's easier to create levels and share them online. It's easier to unlock features in the Toy Box mode, though many are still locked behind various figurines. There are more toys themed around popular Disney shows like "Gravity Falls" and movies like "TRON." The tools have been updated with a music creator and a new path creator, which lets you create controlled paths for toys, simulate roller-coasters and even make cut scenes.

The star of the show in 3.0 is Star Wars. The starter pack includes the Twilight of the Republic play set, which is based on "The Clone Wars" television series and includes Anakin and Ahsoka, though it can support every Star Wars character. Some require unlockable tokens, as in last year's game. The play set is very similar to last year's Marvel play sets but is more focused. Since the characters share a very similar set of abilities, it's easy to design the game around them. After all, Anakin and Ahsoka are a lot more similar in scope than Iron Man and Black Widow.

The Star Wars gameplay is quite fun. It's a very polished beat-'em-up that is simple enough to be accessible to players of all ages. Ninja Theory of DmC: Devil May Cry fame helped with the combat system, and it shows. Some of the Star Wars characters have canned combos, but since you only have a small number of attack buttons, don't expect anything like God of War. The characters have different Force powers. Anakin can grab things from the environment and toss them while Ahsoka has a Force Saber Throw and twin lightsabers. Other characters have more distinct abilities, such as Yoda, who can take advantage of his small size and bounce between enemies.

This new combo potential makes the combat even easier. As Anakin, if you knock an enemy into the air, you can follow up with a combo, which you instantly reset with a Force Pull, allowing you to string together an infinite number of combos. After the gulf in 2.0 between regular folks and superpowered folks, the Star Wars gameplay feels much closer in tone. Everyone will have a favorite, but nobody is going to feel like he or she is using a weak character.

A big part of this year's features are two exclusive expansion games: Takeover and Speedway. Our package only came with Takeover, which is a neat addition to the lineup. It's basically a "cross-over" beat-'em-up where you can use almost any Disney Infinity figure — the Cars lineup is excluded — to take on the evil Syndrome as he steals the wands of Mickey and Yensid. The opening cut scene is extremely funny, and Takeover is very easy to pick up and play and takes advantage of the variety of available characters. The saber-wielding Star Wars characters are clearly more effective at beating the living snot out of foes than Mickey or Olaf, but it's well balanced enough that you can use anyone and expect to succeed. It's a great add-on and is more fun than even the default play sets. You can use almost all of the toys with it, so for longtime Disney Infinity players, 3.0 is a much better purchase than a regular play set.

Unfortunately, we were not able to try the other expansion, Speedway, though we tried it out at E3. The basic idea can be summed up as Super Disney Kart. There are nine themed tracks based on Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters, and you can choose characters and cars and put them to the test. As with all good kart racers, this includes regular driving skill and a host of powerful weapons to knock opponents out of the race. Speedway includes Combat, Race and Time Trial modes.

Disney Infinity 3.0's only "problem" is that it feels like an incremental upgrade to the original title. The appeal is clearly in the new figures rather than significant improvements to the game. Fortunately, Disney seems to recognize that fact, and the upgrade can be purchased for $30 via digital download. You're not obligated to drop the full purchase price to get the accessories to go along with the game. Of course, picking up the new play sets will run you around $40, so if your child is looking for the Twilight of the Republic set, it's probably better to pick up the starter pack for $65. If not, I'd strongly recommend the Takeover play set, which will provide more bang for your buck than the traditional play sets.

Since the appeal is the latest lineup of toys, I should provide further details. The big sellers are Star Wars figures from the prequels, the original trilogy and both of the television shows, as well as characters from recent movies, like "Inside Out" and "Age of Ultron." Joining them are some retro characters, such as the much-awaited Mickey and Minnie Mouse and fan favorites like Mulan and Olaf. The figures haven't changed much, but the new Star Wars figures feel a little less solid than last year's Marvel figures. The Anakin figure that came with the starter pack felt surprisingly breakable. Otherwise, the toys' strengths and weaknesses remain: They're good collectible figurines but poor as actual toys. Parents should be prepared to spend a good amount of cash, especially given the influx of Star Wars characters.

One big improvement to the collectible features this year is the change from the "blind bag" for power discs. In previous years, they were blind and random, which made them extremely poor purchases since they cost too much and contained too little. This year, the power discs are in clearly labeled packages, so kids no longer have to gamble on getting discs. Parents will surely appreciate the cost-effectiveness.

There isn't much of a difference in terms of graphical quality with this year's version, either. Some of the character models look slightly better, but by and large, you're looking at very similar graphics and visual style. Most of the Star Wars cast is based on their Clone Wars or Rebels appearance, which helps keep them solidly in-line with the rest of the cartoony cast. Some of the original trilogy characters look a little odd, but that may just be years of nostalgia talking. The voice acting is a mixed bag. Some characters sound great, and others sound incredibly phoned in or bored, like Obi-Wan Kenobi. It's difficult to complain, though, since young kids will love it regardless.

Disney Infinity 3.0 is a solid update to last year's edition, and fans will have a lot to like. It seems more focused on addressing complaints and shoring up weak points than it does in reinventing the wheel. It largely feels like an excuse to introduce the Star Wars juggernaut to the franchise, and it's certainly a good move. The Star Wars characters and play sets alone make it a worthy purchase for young fans of the franchise. Having Tony Stark and Han Solo team up to beat up Syndrome is just icing on the cake.

Score: 8.0/10

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