When Disney Infinity was first released two years ago, it promised a huge open world where various Disney characters – from Buzz Lightyear to Mickey – could interact in adventures together. At that point, the phrase “to infinity and beyond!” had come to life in the collective imaginations of Disney fans. But with the release of Disney Infinity 3.0, this might actually be the Disney experience geeks have been looking for.
There’s a simple reason for this – sure, Disney Infinity has the amazing, amazing figures that are worth collecting even if you’re not a gamer, but gameplay did suffer a little from the first edition. In it, the only area where you could have Mr Incredible fight alongside Elsa was in Toy Box mode, which required you to choose from levels either pre-created or made by fans (or building your own!), of which the fun level varied too much.
Previously, characters were stuck in their own Play Sets for the best story-driven action – but with Disney Infinity 3.0, that’s about to change, and fans of Disney’s multiple universes should be excited. It’s coming out Sep 1 for S$99 for the starter Play Set, which comes with the 3.0 base, the Star Wars: Twilight Of The Republic Play Set and Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker figures – and here’s why it’s going to be cool.
STAR WARS IS HERE
A galaxy far, far away has gotten a lot closer to Earth – 3.0 comes with Disney’s newest franchise, the Star Wars universe. And it looks promising, with the game traversing various periods throughout the new canon Star Wars timeline, from the Clone Wars, Rebels to The Force Awakens. Yes – Disney Infinity will be the only game that gets to tell the whole The Force Awakens story, for now, anyway.
First off, there’s Star Wars: Twilight Of The Republic, which continues the story of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Maul. Meanwhile, favourites Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca and Darth Vader feature in Star Wars: Rise Against The Empire, which even comes with X-Wing dogfights and trench runs. There’s also the guys from the very cool Star Wars: Rebels series in their own Play Set – and if you unlock them, the Star Wars characters can play in ANY other Star Wars Play Set.
Star Wars isn’t the only cool thing Disney has, of course – Play Sets for the upcoming Inside Out (opening in Singapore Aug 27) and a Marvel Play Set featuring the Hulkbuster and Ultron are among the rest that have already been announced. Disney has a huge warchest of characters and upcoming movies, so be prepared to see something from upcoming movies like Good Dinosaur and Zootopia soon.
Even if you’re collecting from 3.0 onwards, there’s lots of other new characters coming, such as Minnie Mouse (who attacks with her handbag!) and Tron‘s Sam Flynn and Quorra, who both look wicked cool. And there’s this snowman called Olaf from Frozen, if anybody’s heard of him.
The Star Wars experience will be heightened by lightsaber mechanics developed by Devil May Cry developers Ninja Theory themselves, which means there’s a certain pedigree there for the action. The extra effort shows – during some playtesting at the launch event on Monday (Aug 18), fighting was more fluid than previous editions, and this is going to be one of the better Star Wars action games in a while (I’m looking at you, Kinect Star Wars), at least until Star Wars Battlefront is released.
NEW GAMEPLAY MECHANICS
That’s not the only major new mechanic: Those who love to grow and harvest crops (rinse, repeat) will be happy to note that there’s a full farming mechanic in there for you to make your own Disney-fied version of Farmville. So, you know, if you have always wanted to watch Olaf grow carrots, this will be a dream come true for you (but we probably won’t be friends).
Another boost the game is getting is an overhaul in driving game mechanics: Experts Sumo Digital – of Forza, F1 and Outrun fame – have applied their expertise to make you feel like you’re no longer driving a shopping cart with one bum wheel. At the launch event we got to get to race each other, and with drifting and boosts, this has the promise to be the full Mario Kart experience with Disney characters. This is realised in Toy Box Speedway, a full kart-racer, which is one of two new Toy Box expansions available for 3.0.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY!
But the other expansion, Toy Box Takeover, is what the original Disney Infinity should have been. You’ll need the Toy Box Takeover expansion piece to unlock it, but once you do, you unlock a pre-built game that allows any character from the entire Infinity library to take part in the adventure. Here, there’s a story about Syndrome stealing Merlin’s magic wand, and so your heroes have to battle across multiple worlds – it all sounds very promising, and probably just a reminder of Pixar’s superhero flick ahead of the Incredibles II movie. Oh, and it also comes with two-player local co-op, or four-player online play. It’s unclear how much content it will have, but here’s hoping for constantly updating DLC fun.
The Toy Box mode also still allows you to design your own worlds for others to play in – it’s not very easy to master, but there’s a whole world of potential in there. It’s unclear if 3.0 is making it easier over 2.0 (which wasn’t that easy to get into), but the new Toy Box in 3.0 allows you to design paths for flight sims to follow, which means you can design your own version of the trench run from Star Wars.
Toy Box will also finally come with online matchmaking, so if you’re like me and have no friends, at least you’ll know get to battle someone online. It appears this mode will need PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live, of course.
OH, AND BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY
Just like 2.0, Disney Infinity 3.0 allows you to play with all the 1.0 and 2.0 characters so all that investment doesn’t go to waste. However, to play the old Play Sets you do need the old game – Disney Infinity producer Jason Moffitt says keeping all the Play Sets means that the game will soon be unable to fit on a single disc. Makes sense, but imagine if they were able as free unlockable DLC – that’ll be really cool.
Disney Infinity 3.0 will be released Sep 1 in Singapore, with the starter pack priced at S$99.