Disney Infinity 2.0 Review
Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox OneAlso available on Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii-U, Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony PlayStation 4
Building on the success of the first entry, competing admirably against its Activision rival, Skylanders, Disney Infinity now introduces the hugely popular Marvel universe into its roster. Included inside the starter pack you will find the Marvel playset, along with an adorable Iron Man, Thor and the always leather-clad Black Widow. Available as paid extras are the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spiderman playsets, both complete with an additional two characters and the playset piece to unlock the relevant game content. More on the add-ons later, for now let us concentrate on the starter pack content.
There are two core parts to the Disney Infinity experience, the playset and the toy box. Both have their own unique attractions and provide completely different gameplay experiences. The playset can be considered as the fairly standard campaign mode, providing missions, side missions and random activities, all set within a distinct open world environment. The playset that comes with the starter pack, Marvel, is a fairly bland recreation of the Avengers movie locale, Manhattan. Loki has a metric ton of frost giants in tow and is hell bent on freezing the city and all its inhabitants. Naturally the playset campaign (split screen co-op available) is a series of main missions and side missions, all focused on defeating the frost giants and in some cases, turning the heating on!
The playset is really quite bland, offering nothing in the way of detail for the city itself and populating it with next to nothing. As you traverse the city,either by land or air, it’s really disappointing to find that nothing is going on...at all. Amazingly, on the Xbox One, there are some performance issues on top of the bland lifeless graphical work. Animations stutter when streaming in, pop in is too frequent, draw distance isn’t up to much and the load times for all modes are ridiculously long considering what you get once it’s actually loaded. Admittedly the game is out on every platform imaginable so it’s not something that was designed for the newer consoles but it’s almost too obvious that it’s a quick port when playing it.
Both main and side missions settle into the same distinctively uninspired, downright boring horde mode formula pretty much straight away. The formula is stunningly simple and rarely deviates in any way shape or form from its path. Get missions from one of three to four random superheroes found in the city (or Nick Fury), drive or fly (depending on character) to the icon on the map, proceed to punch everything in that area in the face. Often you are activating a heater and defending it for waves of enemies, or even more rarely rescuing frozen city inhabitants. It’s tough to be too harsh on this point as Destiny does exactly the same and has sold crazy numbers but Destiny at least has tight gun play going for it, Disney Infinity’s combat is pretty terrible.
As with previous games of this nature it is possible to rank up your characters (all data saved on the figure itself) using some very light touch RPG mechanics. Through play and collectible orbs/stars you can unlock skills, special moves and general stat boots like health - you can even unlock some characters to play in the game through a series of collectibles enabling you to play as them without buying figures (Rocket Raccoon for one).
Sadly the campaign has further flaws which are relatively inexcusable. The minute to minute gameplay is sloppy at best - hand to hand combat is clunky and suffers from what feels like input lag. Bashing frost giants and performing special moves really doesn’t flow as it should, making the whole combat system just feel like it was rushed out the door. Add to this that the main campaign and the side missions can be completed in around four hours, you start to curse the fact that the best thing about the starter pack are the inanimate figures you get with it.
Other playsets are available such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spiderman, each come with their own worlds, missions, side missions, collectibles and two new figures (which can be used on any playset). Each though is around the £30 mark and annoyingly unlock content already on the disc. Guardians is a solid playset but again the campaign is short, the setting weak and the combat uninspiring.
The final piece in the package and pretty much the only solid reason to pick up Disney Infinity is the toy box mode. Difficult to use and baffling to a six year old first time around, this feature has been improved and streamlined extensively. The toybox is a dream for any Disney fan who also likes a bit of Minecraft; it’s essentially world building but with everything Disney. Items to use in the toybox unlock through play and now the controls have been improved it’s fairly straightforward for a kid to design new race courses, a new town, decorate their house and more - there is so much to do in toybox mode it effortlessly prolongs the time you will spend with the game in your drive.
Disney Infinity 2.0 is lacking in content, even after you have paid out in excess of £120 for all the available playsets, and sadly what content there is is bland, repetitive and generally uninspiring. The toy box is the package’s saving grace, offering a Minecraft like experience chock full of your Disney favourites. Kids will nag their parents to buy it and the figures themselves are really well made collectibles, it’s just a shame that if dad grabs the pad for some split screen co-op he’s going to be highly annoyed at the value for money the package represents. Fun, but far too brief and as a result damn expensive.