In a sea of mature rated shooters and heavy narratives, it is refreshing to play an experience like Disney Infinity 3.0. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and it is a Disney fan’s dream. As one of these Disney fans, I have had such fun making my own levels and playing through the toy boxes that the developers and other fans have made. Also mixing up Star Wars, Marvel and Disney properties in the same universe is so wacky in a fun way. Disney Infinity 3.0 is truly magical and signifies how impactful Disney is in the hearts and minds of many, including myself.
With this year’s Disney Infinity, Star Wars is featured with the Twilight of the Republic play set. Developed by Ninja Theory, the campaign included with the game is brimming with the force. The last time I played Disney Infinity was the original, and with this playset, Disney have stepped up the production value drastically since then. The environments are true to the source material with huge destroyers in the air and an immaculate detail to the locations themselves. In this play set, there are four different areas from the Star Wars prequel universe to explore, which all come with plenty of side missions. There is a story that interweaves all of these areas as you go out and search for the one who is making new droids mysteriously. The voice acting is solid across all characters, except for Anakin, who doesn’t sound like the original actor. While the story is nothing to write home about, it does an excellent job at guiding the player through the outstanding set pieces of the play set that Ninja Theory have created.
From space fighting to chasing down a bounty hunter, Twilight of the Republic offers variety in its gameplay, which gives the player about 3 hours of enjoyment. The developer has created a game that truly sounds, looks, and feels like Star Wars – unlike many tie-in games before it – and that’s the beauty of Disney Infinity. Disney have been able to create a platform, which provides fans a gaming experience that is deserving of the original source. One genre of gaming that has been missing for the last generation mostly is the beat-em-up collect-athon that sprouted from many movie tie in games. Sure, they’re not the most creative or strategic, but at the same time, they’re fun to play with friends or even by yourself. Throughout my experience with Disney Infinity 3.0, I loved to fight enemies with the traditional beat-em-up stylings of old, but unlike the original, the game is able to keep me going with the experience system.
Do you want Obi Wan Kenobi to learn how to force jump? You’ll have to gain experience. The experience system from defeating enemies and finding green capsules in the levels offers an elevated sense of choice for how your character can evolve. The cool thing as well is that all of this experience is tracked on the figure itself, so if you go around a friend’s house, you can continue to play as your customized character. The experience system allows you to elevate a character’s attributes and moveset overall and adds an addictive quality. Another fantastic feature of this is that Disney Infinity 1.0 and 2.0 characters can be used and leveled up in the toy box as well as the Star Wars/Disney 3.0 figures.
In addition to the experience system (that was originally from Disney Infinity 2.0), the teams at Disney and multiple other studios have improved both the combat and racing segments. In the first Disney Infinity, you could only do a simple combo of ground attacks, but with the improvements that Disney have been putting in since with 2.0 and 3.0, the combat is more involved. You can now juggle enemies in the air, and there are delayed combos included with certain 3.0 characters. Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Transformed developer Sumo Digital, has also given players improved handling and drifting in vehicles (even though cars are still somewhat loose to control at parts still).
Another issue I had with Disney Infinity that is resolved in Disney Infinity 3.0 is the previous lack of options for non-play set characters. Now, there is a new mode (that has to be purchased outside of the toy box) called Toy Box Invasion. In this optional subsection of the game, Syndrome (from The Incredibles) is able to grab the magic wand that the player uses to create toy boxes and creates his own dungeons. He also receives help from the other villains from the game. Now that all of the Disney characters are in danger, you can use most of the figures you have at your disposal against Syndrome. This mode is similar to games like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and the Diablo series, in which you fight through waves of enemies to get to the end of the level. There are also basic platforming elements that succeed in differentiating the gameplay from monotony.
This Toy Box Invasion mode is not as involved as the main play sets such as Twilight of the Republic, but I found it fun to play as Star Wars or other Disney characters in a Pirates of the Caribbean or Marvel inspired world. The story of the Toy Box Invasion mode, however, is very lackluster and with all the Disney characters included, there was so much potential for an epic storyline. In future games, I hope they expand the Toy Box Invasion mode into a full play set that is similar to the production values of Twilight of the Republic as I think this addresses the core idea of Disney Infinity: mashing up many Disney characters into one game.
And that brings me to my overall enjoyment of the game; it’s just pure fun. This is how wacky the game gets. I was playing as Yoda at one point in the game riding Bullseye from Toy Story as I’m slingshotting the pirates from Pirates of the Caribbean. That is just wacky, and I love it. Disney really delves into the archives as well for the game. For example, they have included the bed from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the solar surfer from Treasure Planet, and even Darkwing Duck as a townsperson, but there is even more than that included for those who are die hard Disney fans. For an hour, my sister and I were geeking out as we were trying out multiple scenarios as we changed the sky, placed different vehicles in the toy box, and summoned many people from the Disney universe into the game. Disney Infinity 3.0 is the most fan service that Disney has given since the initial release of Kingdom Hearts, and as the game continues on with possible new entries, it is only going to grow.
The only issue I have with the game is how difficult creating a level is. As an adult, I found operating the menus clumsy and the logic connections between characters, gameplay tools, and the environment confusing. And for a child, I think this would be way too difficult to understand. Disney have included tutorials, which have helped to some degree, but figuring out how everything connects is so strange. For example, I spent about 10-20 minutes on making a 2D side scrolling camera and even after looking up a video online by the Disney Infinity team themselves, I was barely able to suss it. But when it does work, man, it sure is rewarding when you create a level of your own and for me, it has slightly budged the locked doors of game development open.
You can create a narrative with the text creation tool and the camera, but if Disney define how to use these tools to a larger degree, it would be so much easier to accomplish. The menus, as said previously, are very clumsy as you have to go through so many unrelated items to get to what you want. It’s like looking through Yzma’s potion cabinet! What would make this experience so much better is a search engine. Disney have included lists in which you can favorite items and categorize as particular Disney series or item type, but a search engine is sorely needed for those who want to find a set item they need. Despite the clumsy menus, Disney did make putting down rows of objects much easier in 3.0 as you can flick the stick to whatever direction you want, instantly snapping to the next spot. This significantly reduces the time of applying multiple items in the toy box.
Disney Infinity 3.0 offers the ultimate gaming experience for Disney fans. The initial starter pack for 3.0 offers the outstanding Twilight of the Republic. The experience system and combat are fun, and the immaculately crafted worlds that the company has created are just magical. The game also offers die-hard Disney fans cameos from lesser known but beloved franchises that should please. In a time that has first person shooters and mature storylines crowding the gaming landscape, it is such a treat to play a game that is just a delight to play and Disney Infinity 3.0 definitely fills the void. I cannot wait for the future of this series. I am now a fan.
A copy of the Disney Infinity 3.0 starter pack, two extra figures, a play disc set and the Toybox Takeover play set were provided by Disney for the purpose of this review