|System: Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC|
|Dev: Avalanche, Ninja Theory, Sumo Digital, United Front Games, Studio Gobo|
|Pub: Disney Interactive, LucasArts|
|Release: August 28, 2015|
|Players: 1-2 local, 1-4 online|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Content is generally suitable for all ages.|
by Becky Cunningham
What better company to get into the “toys to life” genre than Disney? Not only does Disney have its own, much-beloved characters and settings to draw from, now it has its various subsidiaries like Marvel, Pixar, and LucasArts. The last Disney Infinity game brought Marvel superheroes into the mix, and now Disney Infinity 3.0 has Star Wars. That gives us a huge number of little plastic figures to buy and place on our magic platforms in order to play them on the screen. But does this kid-friendly action-platformer do justice to the Star Wars franchise, and does Disney Infinity 3.0 offer enough new goodies to justify the high cost of entry?
Let's start with the prefab Star Wars campaign that comes with the 3.0 starter set. I played the edition that comes with the Clone Wars-themed “Twilight of the Republic” play set. At the start, you can play as Anakin and his padawan Ahsoka (I played Ahsoka because, let's face it, Anakin is a yutz) in a story that often feels like it's straight out of the cartoon. That feeling and the new lightsaber and force-enhanced combat are the high points of the play set. Force-knocking bad guys off a cliff is great fun, as is deflecting blaster fire and tossing foes in the air in order to lightsaber the heck out of them. The new Star Wars characters have more defensive and strategic combat options than the other Disney Infinity characters I tried out, making this campaign suitable for older kids and teens.
There's only so much that Ninja Theory could do with the base Disney Infinity engine, though, which means that platforming is slippery and vehicle races (such as a mandatory pod race during the campaign) can be frustrating. In addition, despite there being a lot of activities and collectibles scattered throughout the adventure, it feels disappointingly brief. The fun parts are nearly all packed into the 3-4 hour main adventure, while many of the rest of the activities are silly but simple fetch quests and platforming challenges.
If you want to get the most out of Disney Infinity 3.0, you'll definitely want to be interested in the Toy Box, where you can create and play small adventures using any characters and game pieces you've unlocked. It has a new 3D hub which is basically a collection of mini-worlds sprinkled with Disney magic. You can do tricks in a sand-speeder, explore an Ewok village, and enter tutorial-style missions that make it fun to learn the ins and outs of the game.
Creating new levels in the Toy Box can be a bit overwhelming if you're new to Disney Infinity. Thanks to this being the third version of the game, there are a ton of possibilities for game-building, from world themes to “Creativi-Toys” that are used to make your miniature world into an actual game. It's easy to get started and build a nice-looking area, but bringing your game to life is more complicated. There aren't any good in-game tutorials in 3.0 for setting up the logic connections that are necessary to do everything from spawning enemies to giving quests or starting a car race.
In addition, it's necessary to spawn in a Creativi-Toy to set every parameter in your world, from the default camera angle to the sky theme and background music. The whole thing could use some serious streamlining, since many basic game parameters would be far easier to set using a menu system. Still, there's a ton of flexibility in the Toy Box, and once you get a handle on things, you can make everything from a rail-grinding extravaganza to a marble puzzle game.
Unfortunately, Toy Box fun is easily interrupted by glitches and bugs. While even the official campaign had occasional frame-skips, Toy Box adventures seem particularly easy to glitch out, even the official ones created by Disney staff. In one afternoon with the Disney staff adventures, I managed to freeze up Gravity Falls by performing a task out of order and work myself into a no-win scenario in a spy mission by accidentally skipping a quest prompt when I went into the pause menu at just the wrong time.
One new feature of 3.0, Toy Box Expansions, offers up both the best and worst of what Infinity has to offer. I got to play with one called Toy Box Takeover, which has its own mini-story and focuses on exploration and combat. I found it satisfyingly more challenging than the Star Wars play set, except for when it glitched out or frustrated me when I fell victim to problematic platforming segments. Of course, Toy Box Expansions must be purchased separately, but they do unlock some cool Toy Box pieces like a pirate ship and a bridge guarded by a giant kraken.