Collectible figure video games are big business and it’s easy to see why. Take a popular franchise (or in the case of Skylanders create one), throw in a range of great collectible figures, add a random collectible element and finally a genuinely good game and it’s a license to print money. I’d managed to avoid the whole genre for several years until finally giving in to temptation when I purchased Disney Infinity 2.0 for the PS Vita. As a die-hard Vita collector, it was a must-have purchase whether I really wanted the game or not but as I said in my review over on our Vita Player website, the game got me hooked. Then came this latest release…
While 2.0 may have grabbed the attention of geeks everywhere bringing the Marvel universe into the game, version 3.0 was the one that really got people to sit up and take notice. Taking the tongue-in-cheek gameplay and creativity of Disney Infinity and blending it with Star Wars… could Disney Interactive really pull it off and make the game work? It was a no-brainer that I had to buy the game and find out for myself.
As with Disney Infinity 2.0 that I reviewed on the Vita Player website, the starter pack comes complete with the software, the Infinity Base to connect to the PS3, the Twilight Of The Republic Playset piece and two figures based on the Clone Wars series – Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano. Being the “big brother” of the Vita version, the base has space for two figures as well as the Playset piece allowing for multiplayer game modes for both online and offline play, but I’ll come onto that later.
As with all of the previous versions of the game across all formats, the game is split into several elements. The Playset pieces offering the various storymode elements to the game, the Toy Box allowing you to express your creativity in all manner of original ways (or just explore the world that has already been created for you by Disney), MyINterior (your fully customisable home), interact with Sidekicks (again I’ll talk about this in a moment) or use the new optional expansions available.
The first thing that strikes you is just how much more content is available right from the start. Even if you just stick to the basic starter pack and don’t buy anything else to add to Infinity 3.0, it will take you an incredible amount of time to explore everything that it has to offer. The tutorials that the Toy Box provides covers everything from vehicles to combat, exploration to creativity, many of which lead to mini games of their own. The initial Toy Box landscape is split into distinctive areas and keeping with the Star Wars theme, the vehicle training is based on Tatooine and it won’t be too long before you’re racing Landspeeders over the desert terrain for no other reason than because you CAN!
The Toy Box has several areas set aside for missions and challenges you can take on in itself before you even pick up your Playset piece and place it on your Infinity Base. Whether you feel like taking on the creative challenges hosted by a range of Star Wars and Disney characters, or feel up to some arcade or platforming action, there’s something here to keep you entertained. While there isn’t anything too taxing or too deep, it’s certainly engaging enough for a while.
Taking the gameplay in a new direction this time is the use of Sidekicks. You may remember all of the small characters wandering around the Toy Box and your INterior (which has been heavily expanded this time around with new rooms and gadgets galore) in previous iterations of the game but this time they have a role to play in addition to handing out missions and tasks to the weary player. Now, they can join you in your adventures, assisting you in combat and play a vital part in puzzle solving and missions. There are a wide range of Sidekicks available and just as with your main characters, they can grow and develop their abilities either through the use of equipment or training. There’s one little… quirk about using Sidekicks that adds another new element to the game. When in use they get hungry so they need feeding. Not only does feeding them keep them active, but it also helps to boost their statistics making them stronger, more durable in combat and so on. But how do you get food? Simple… head off to the farm and grow some!
Yes, Disney Infinity 3.0 has its own integrated farming game. It’s no Farming Simulator, but it’s fun nevertheless. Simply put your Sidekick(s) to work in whatever plot of land you have, harvest whatever grows and keep going as long as you want. The more Sidekicks you use, the quicker your fields will be tended so the more you can reap but the more they’ll need feeding. As I said, it’s a fun diversion and really gives you a break from the action of the main game modes.
The bundled Playset this time focuses on the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series with the art style fitting Infinity 3.0 perfectly. As well as the story-driven element of the game, there are plenty of optional side quests to keep you busy meaning that the Playset will keep you entertained for hours on end both completing all of the tasks and trying to find all of the hidden objects scattered around the game world. Once you do complete the Playset, two more Star Wars sets are currently available based on The Force Awakens and the original movies as well as the Pixar movie Inside Out but unusually for Disney Infinity, they have confirmed that more sets are on the way. While the packs may seen expensive for what is in essence pre-loaded DLC with figures costing around £12 each the packs still represent great value for money.
Disney have really pulled out all the stops on this one though as the game is expanded even more with two expansion packs – The Toy Box Takeover and Speedway Challenge sets. These separately available Playset discs unlock even more content for the game.Toy Box Takeover is a brand new story mode set in the entire Disney Universe which features Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and a host of other characters all interacting in one giant storyline. Want to use Darth Vader in a duel with swashbuckling pirates? You can here! The Speedway Challenge is just as extensive bringing a whole new world of racing to Disney Infinity, again allowing characters to cross over between games.
It has to be said that I never tired of playing this, even to a greater extent that the PS Vita version because of the far greater variety of what the game had to offer. Granted, being a massive Star Wars fan helped (although my love of all things Marvel certainly endeared me to Disney Infinity 2.0) but I never found myself getting bored. Even as I completed the main stories in each of the Playsets and explored most of what each had to offer, there was still more to be found. Whether it was additional story content from Disney available to download or even the impressive post-purchase support offered to the game by Disney themselves, I was truly overwhelmed. As well as plenty of community created content available to download in-game, there are regular events and challenges organised by Disney and their Youtube Channel is updated continually with updates, news, download recommendations and creation tutorials.
Aesthetically, the game is very stylised and has an almost cartoon feel to it with the visuals matching the toys remarkably well. Sound features a rip-roaring soundtrack filled with Disney themes, the wonderful John Williams Star Wars score and plenty of suitably loud and bright sound effects. Voice acting is top-notch throughout as well with the game boasting an impressive cast, pretty much a who’s who in the video games voice acting world with plenty of familar names behind the voices. On the Star Wars front alone the game boasts the voices of Anthony Daniels reprising his role of C-3PO, Daisy Ridley continuing her movie as Rey, John Boyega returning as Finn, and Tom Kane continuing his ongoing voice work as Yoda.
Visually the game looks good, with some great character animation and visual effects but because of the sheer amount going on screen – characters, variety of building and object types and background animations, the game is prone to slowdown. I don’t know if the same happens on the PS4, but I don’t know – I guess I expected better on the PS3. Just like its PS Vita predecessor it didn’t (and doesn’t) stop me from enjoying all aspects of the game but in more frantic moments the pauses in the action are frustrating.
When playing the PS Vita version, the performance was one thing that I was disappointed by with the game. It’s an ambitious title and to fit it into the PS Vita some compromises had to be made. It didn’t make use of the Vita’s native screen resolution and even then there were times when it was subject to slowdown. It didn’t stop the game from being playable and a fun experience but it did explain why there was no release of 2.0 for the Nintendo 3DS. At the time I did think that it was just a handheld issue or maybe down to the porting side of things, and I really did expect better from the PS3 and Disney Infinity 3.0 to be honest and I expected the game to be running at quite a healthy rate.
If I am honest, with the amount going on and the sheer power under the hood with the game, I guess some compromises had to be made to make the Infinity engine capable of doing so much and I think that it’s only a matter of time before Disney Infinity drops the PS3 / XBox 360 support in favour of PS4 / XBox One only but hopefully that won’t be for a while yet…
Technical issues aside, one big improvement that Disney have made over 2.0 is with the Power Discs. Not so much in terms of the game itself but in the way that they are sold. For previous versions, additional discs were sold blind-bagged so it was pot luck as to what discs you boughts. That’s all well and good if you only bought the occasional disc but if you wanted to obtain all of them you could end up with a lot of duplicates. Even worse, with 2.0 the discs were sold in two types of packs – separate ones for Marvel and Disney and with 40 discs available for the Marvel side of things alone, it was set to be an expensive way of getting all of them.
This time around, Disney Interactive have chosen to release the discs pre-packed into bundles of four. Each identical pack is themed and there are a total of 6 packs available making a total of 24 discs for the entire game. It’s more affordable for completists and certainly easier to find everything that you want.
Saying that, Infinity 3.0 still has the potential to be a very expensive game for the collector… The game is compatible with not only the figures and Power Discs for Infinity 3.0 but all of those released for 1.0 and 2.0 as well giving to access to a massive range of toys for the game. The only thing that you can’t use are Playsets from previous games. The pieces can be used in the Toy Box mode, but all they do is unlock the decorations from those sets for use in your INterior but apart from that, everything else is at your fingertips. Great for those of you moving on from previous versions of the game.
There’s only one real downside that I found with this game… collecting the figures is very compulsive! I thought it was bad before when I started playing 2.0 on the Vita but now I’ve been able to add Star Wars figures to the collect that impulse to keep buying more has grown exponentially. A great deal of care and attention has gone into the crafting of each of the figures and as well as putting them into play during the game itself, they also look great in their own right as display pieces so it gives them added appeal to Star Wars collectors like myself.
As with the Vita version, I really can’t recommend this enough. Great collectible figures, a fun more casual game for Star Wars fans, and an incredible creative sandbox for you to let your imagination run wild in so there truly is something for everyone. Forget the image that this gives off as being a game for younger players – this is something that truly offers something for gamers of all ages and is a game you’ll come back to over and over again.