Also on: PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, iOS, Android, PC
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Avalanche Software
Players: Single-player, multiplayer
Online: No – Community Maps
I wasn't a fan of the previous Disney Infinity entries. At least not the gameplay portion. I own almost every Marvel figure from the 2.0 series simply because I enjoyed collecting them. The games themselves were clunky and extremely limited, especially considering how many characters were available for each. For the most part, the toy box was the center focus in the previous games because it allowed the player to use their imagination in creating new worlds and playing with any of the characters in the series.
The overall concept sounded better than it was and needed refining. The one saving grace other than the extensive choice of characters you could play as, were the play sets that catered to specific franchises like Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean, or Marvel staples like the Avengers and Spider-Man. While some were entertaining, they mostly felt incomplete. The Marvel sets had the potential to be great and they turned out just okay. The lack of full cross over connectivity between the characters and playsets at least in the case of Marvel was a fumble and was a turnoff for me.
Only a couple of the characters were able to crossover, but to do it required finding multiple tokens of each character in the play sets. When I saw that Disney Infinity 3.0 was focused on Star Wars, I knew I had to give it another chance. Despite my feelings of the previous titles, I jumped into the latest starter pack which included Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano and the Twilight of the Republic Play Set which takes place after the events of Episode 2: The Clone Wars. From the moment I first controlled Ahsoka with her two green lightsabers, I knew this was a very different Infinity. The controls and combat have been cleaned up and feel much more responsive this time around thanks to Team Ninja, makers of Heavenly Sword and DmC: Devil May Cry.
The improved combat helped making playing solo or even cooperative more worthwhile. This Star Wars Play Set is the only one available at launch unless you upgraded to the PlayStation set which included “Rise of the Empire” with three bonus figures. This should keep you entertained as you play and unlock the ability to cross over the other Star Wars character that are available separately. Another improvement is the amount of disks you need to find to unlock the cross over ability per character. In Disney Infinity 3.0 you only need one per character which is a welcome change and includes all of the Star Wars characters and not limited to select ones. We will see if this formula is across the Play Sets.
Something that really helped bring this Play Set to life was the original Star Wars movie scores that is appropriately placed in each scene which critically improves the overall mood of the game. I am sure there are a lot of reviews don’t dig into this kind of stuff, but as a musician and fan of Star Wars music, it took my experience to another level. A vital point of this affect was the introduction to battles in space. In the story, you need to travel to other planets and in between you are treated with the ability to fly different ships from the Star Wars universe. The designs of the characters, environments and vehicles compliment the Infinity world. You have so many different worlds intertwined into one game, yet Avalanche and Disney found a happy medium to make everyone cohesive in design.
Outside of the included playset, you have the traditional toy box. I didn’t mess with this too much in the past but I played the game with my friend and co-host of my podcast @LegendPop. He is well versed in the world of Infinity and saw drastic improvements in the overall design and setup of the toy box. One of the coolest improvements to the creation aspect was the four button toy dispenser, which allowed you to access new toys within the game without having to unlock them.
There is a lot to do in the toy box as always, but this time I have more of an interest in trying it all. If you finish the Star Wars pack and want more until the next sets arrive in September, you have the "Inside Out" Playset based on the hit Pixar movie of the same name. If that isn't your cup of tea, then you also have the "Toy Box Takeover" which is an original story that allows you to use all your 1.0 and 2.0 figures plus the new ones.
I was pleasantly surprised with how much the series has evolved and look forward to the future expansions including the Marvel figures like the Hulk Buster and Ultron with the Marvel Battlegrounds which will include for the first time ever, four player co-op play including the ability to use all Marvel figures.
The last thing I will touch on briefly is the actual figures themselves. Quality has always been something I appreciated with the Infinity characters. They are larger and more detailed than other Toys to Life toys and they look better each year. Disney and Avalanche have crafted some great toys and are not only great for the game but also for collectors alike.
The only thing that would have made the figure sets even better, would have been the inclusion of Star Wars, Tron and other series vehicles. You have the ability to use some of these in the game without toys which is a huge bonus to the experience. I don't really have any issues and think the game is great for kids, fans of all ages, and even if you are a parent that embraces stuff like Star Wars with your children. There is a lot of fun to be had and I am going to get back into my toy box right now!