Also On: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Wii U, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Panic Button Games/Avalanche Software
I went into Disney Infinity 2.0 on the Vita with no prior experience with the franchise. In fact, if I'm being totally honest, the whole game-related toy craze of recent years has completely passed me by: not only is the included Black Suit Spider-man toy my first Disney Infinity figurine, I don't have any Skylanders figures, and my Amiibo collection stands at precisely zero.
Now that I've played it, though, I get. Kind of. I mean, I'm not about to run out and start a collection or anything, but it's sort of like a slightly less obnoxious version of DLC, in that you're paying more for more content — but on the upside, you also get a nifty little action figure out of it. From the perspective of both the toy-sellers and the gamers, it makes a certain kind of sense.
Or, at least, it does in a broad sense. On the Vita, I'm a little less certain about its utility. For starters, for a handheld system, it's not exactly portable. You can't really whip out the base and plop down the figurines and the discs on the bus and start playing, unless you want them to go flying at the first bump. I don't understand why they didn't take a page from the iOS version of the game and just make it a virtual base instead of a real, physical one, but…well, presumably there are reasons for that.
Of course, the real issue with Disney Infinity 2.0's Vita port isn't its lack of portability (since I'm sure that if people want to bring the game with them on the go, they'll find a way), it's the speed at which everything seems to move. Load times are interminable, and you'll constantly be waiting for quite some time every time you try to start a new level. Admittedly, once you've started a level, you'll almost never have to sit through any loading screens (possibly none, if memory serves correctly, but I could be wrong about that), but it's still pretty agonizing to sit and watch the progress bar move slowly across the screen. And even once you're in, there's a bit of an input lag; I regularly found myself accounting for the extra seconds it seemed to take between pressing a button and having the game recognize it. It's obvious enough to be a little frustrating, but never to the point of being genuinely game-breaking. In other words, it's an annoyance, but one you come to accept as the price of playing the game.
You'll also have to be willing to expect graphics that vary enormously in quality. Sometimes, it looks like you're getting scenes that look like they belong on a 3DS on its worst days — which means, of course, that they look pretty crummy on the Vita. At other times, however, Disney Infinity 2.0 looks absolutely fantastic, like an extremely well-made superhero cartoon. It varies enough that it's hard to recommend one way or the other, but, as with the input lag, it's one of those things that seems to be the price of doing business.
And I have to say: it's kind of a price worth paying. Even if you set aside that whole toy-buying hook, there's plenty in Disney Infinity 2.0 to keep you occupied for a long time, regardless of whether you buy extra figures or game discs. Not only do you have a couple of pretty decently-sized missions included with the game, you also have the whole toy box thing to play with, which means that the only real limit is your imagination. Admittedly, for someone like me who doesn't have much of an imagination when it comes to world-building in games, that's not a huge draw, but it still offers plenty to play with if you're so inclined.
I don't want to downplay the potential negatives, though. The Vita version of Disney Infinity 2.0 has quite a few things going for it, but at least an equal number of issues that would make it fair for you to just walk away and stick with the traditional console versions. If you're a Vita completist like me, of course, it's well worth the investment, since it's enjoyable enough to be worthwhile, but otherwise, I'd suggest proceeding with no small degree of caution.