Also On: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Movie tie-in video games used to be all the rage fifteen to twenty years ago; you would rarely see a blockbuster film released without an accompanied video game. Most of the time these titles were trash (E.T. and Batman Forever) but on the very rare occasion they were pretty good (Spider-Man 2 and Goldeneye). Strangely enough it's not such a happening anymore and I've kinda been clamoring for more tie-in video games despite their track record. Disney Infinity's newest place set is here to answer my calling. The Force Awakens place set was released on the same day the movie was released and has you playing scenes straight out of the movie. It should be super obvious but I will mention it anyway, if you have not seen The Force Awakens I would not recommend continuing this review. I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum but regardless of that the movie has made over a billion dollars and it was great, so what are you waiting for?
The Force Awakens play set plays nearly identically to the Rise Against the Empire and Twilight of the Republic that came before it. Check out my review for Rise Against the Empire play set here to compare. Where the Force Awakens differs from the Rise Against the Empire set is that it just focuses on a single movie while the latter rushes you through the original trilogy. I really enjoyed marinating on the single storyline of the Force Awakens and still didn’t feel limited because there are multiple planets left to travel between.
Along with a new play set is of course new characters to use (buy). The play set comes with Finn and Rey and available separately is X-wing pilot and Resistance member, Poe Dameron, as well as new big baddie, Kylo Ren. Also returning are the Star Wars Champion coins so you may use any Star Wars Infinity character you own once you've tracked down their particular coin hidden in the open world. But that isn’t all, Disney has also added coins for the new characters into the previous Star Wars play sets so you may return to them, find a Kylo Ren coin and unleash hell like a time traveling Sith (I realize we don’t know if Kylo is a Sith lord but I certainly can’t call him a jedi…ok nerd moment over).
One of the new touches that the Force Awakens offers over the other Star Wars play sets is the ability to salvage junk scattered all over each of the planets. Considering that Rey is a scavenger when we’re first introduced to her in the movie I thought this was a really cool touch. Not only are you salvaging scrap throughout the galaxy but then you have the ability to use that salvage to repair items on each of the planets. That could be something as little as repairing a pole to climb to a high ledge or something as important as repairing hoses as a mission for a merchant so he may operate his droid bath business.
Just like the other Star Wars play sets, the music and sound effects are all spot on, but I can’t say the same of the voice overs. I (unlike some of the other reviews that I read) didn’t mind the voice over choices that Disney made in the Rise Against the Empire play set and actually thought some of them were rather good. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same of the Force Awakens play set. The strangest thing about this gripe is that all four playable characters are allegedly voiced by the cast from the movie. I don’t know if they were just having a bad day while recording dialogue or they just weren't into it, but some of the dialogue sounds nothing like the lines delivered for the film. While playing as Poe it was particularly bad in my opinion. I did mention to my wife that I thought Rey sounded close (this was before I researched that the original cast did the voice over) to which she responded that she sounded terrible. So I assume I’m not the minority in thinking the voice overs sounded off.
After watching The Force Awakens in theaters, I wanted more, (like any crazed Star Wars fanboy) so this play set for Disney Infinity really hit a sweet spot. The missions are very similar in style to the other Star Wars play sets, but is that actually a bad thing? I found the missions to be varied enough to not feel repetitive while also featuring plenty of them to tackle on each of the play set’s environments. If you enjoyed the film I would say you can’t go wrong adding this play set and any of its additional characters to your Disney Infinity collection. The movie tie-in game genre might be dead but this play set shows it just might be time to give them another chance…if placed in the right developers hands of course.