I’ve always much preferred Disney Infinity’s brand of toy to life game than competitors like Skylanders – from the original and into 2.0 the game was much more creative, allowing you to take iconic characters on new adventures never seen outside the realms of imagination. From my time with Infinity 3.0 the latest in the franchise seems to deliver this creativity on a new level, introducing some major franchises like Star Wars and Tron to the already quite successful mix.
It’s fair to say that I really loved what I played of Disney Infinity 3.0. I was shown four main sections by Producer Mathew Solie; Geonosis in Star Wars: Twilight of the Republic, the Death Star trench run in Star Wars:Rise Against the Empire, platforming in Inside Out and the new hub mode that holds the more creative and construction based aspects of the title. It seemed that every time I was shown something new I was told about countless other side content that spun off of it – like side planets in Star Wars, able to be landed on and explored for minigames – or challenges and modes that expand way beyond previous realms, such as horde modes and race worlds.
Very quickly it became apparent just how much is being packed in to this new iteration, but before we go in to that I want to take a moment to speak about one of the game’s defining aspects. Before you even open the game’s box you’re greeted by the beautifully stylised Disney Infinity figures themselves. While in the past they’ve been quite high quality, the new Star Wars lines from Clone Wars, Rebels and the original trilogy are seriously next level. They really capture the personality of the character and look really good as a set – it’s going to be hard to resist nabbing the whole collection to use in game and display.My favourites from the set were definitely Han and Chewbacca, who’s fur somehow looks so good despite being hard plastic. Special mention has to go to some other new additions such as the Inside Out range, each adorned with memory spheres, and the whopping Hulkbuster Iron Man figure that towers over the rest.
While at first glance Disney Infinity 3.0 may seem like a game designed for kids alone, a short amount of time playing the title quickly rectifies that mindset. It’s designed to appeal to a wide audience by offering the accessibility for young children to get into it, with deeper systems in combat and play that will keep older players engaged. When Ninja Theory (who worked on the lightsaber combat for Star Wars Twilight of the Republic – yes, you read that right) got involved in the project they wanted to ensure that they would have something fun to play with their kids, fans of the game already. Mathew Solie said that this was one of the core reasons they jumped at the opportunity to collaborate on Infinity 3.0, a collaboration that so far is very welcome.Geonosis was by far the most time I spent in a single location during my time with Infinity, the starting world for Twilight of the Republic. Playing as Anakin, Ahsoka Tano and even Darth Maul was a blast – something I credit to the genuine feel of the mission and Ninja Theory’s lightsaber combat. The way you fight in game depends on how you approach the controls; simply mashing the attack button dispatches enemies well, but for those a bit more patient combos are the way to go. After tapping the attack button and waiting your lightsaber will pulse, prompting you to attack again launching you in to combos. From throwing enemies in to the air for a juggle to slicing battle droids in half or closing out a fight with each character’s signature finisher, it all felt really great to play, and even quite challenging when more advanced enemies begin to engage.
You can really see that the Star Wars content is made by people with a real love for the saga. The story over the first mission was more functional than engaging, but the world design, voice work and general art direction were spot on. The same holds true for the flight segments in space, featured in Star Wars: Rise Against the Empire – a play set revolving around the original film trilogy.
I only got my hands on one small section of Rise Against the Empire, putting me in the cockpit of an X-Wing attempting to assault the first Death Star. While there are free flight sections this mission is more akin to the ‘on rails’ style of Star Fox 64. As you pilot your X-Wing the game takes you through different stages, such as dodging enemy fire, protecting fellow pilots and eventually lining up your shot for the iconic trench run. The flying was pretty smooth after getting used to it (which took a few more crashes than I care to admit), delivering short bursts of action. It was a cool section to play through, but I’m much more excited to see how the free flight works outside of missions to explore the galaxy.The Inside Out play set really surprised me from the get go. Taking a 2D platformer perspective the new set instantly reminded me of LittleBigPlanet’s kooky brand of physics platforming, putting you in the shoes of the feelings, playable both solo and co-op. The level I played was split horizontally across the screen, with gravity and momentum puzzles that really made me think. The world and checkpoints also react differently to each of the feelings that interact with it, adding quite an interesting dynamic to the look and feel of your adventure. While it all seems pretty relaxed, the competitive player might just enjoy attempting to speedrun the levels, racing against the in game timer and global leaderboards for best times with each character.
The new perspective and style of Inside Out was really exciting, a move respectful of the source material. By slowing down the game and creating something a bit different Disney have opened the game up to some new audiences and showed the variety they can accomplish in a single package. It’s definitely the sort of mode you could sit down with family and play, even with people who don’t typically play games.Last but far from least, we took a look at the hub of Infinity 3.0 – the creative heart at the core of the game. Outside of the stories, this serves as your main way of interacting with user created content, the race and horde modes, and online matchmaking. The hub is like a giant wheel, with each spoke guiding the player to a specific area for games, tutorials and community content.
Main Street is a particularly notable spoke, housing a replica of Disney’s premiere theatre the El Capitan, where you can view the weekly video content Disney produces for the title. In other spokes you’ll gain access to tools which easily let you create your own objects, environments and even games thanks to the new pathing and camera tools.There’s a tonne more I didn’t get to see, from a minion farm that lets you grow your own companions to race tracks on Tatooine, from what you’ve read already I assume you get the picture – there’s a lot of stuff already in Infinity 3.0, with plenty more to come in future play sets. I had a great time playing the little I did, very grateful to Mathew Solie for guiding me through some of the games early highlights.
While the toys to life genre might not be something that everyone enjoys, Infinity 3.0 seems to be reaching the pinnacle of what these games should look like. Even the base pack which includes Twilight of the Republic is looking to be worth the pick up, performing well as quite a big world for buyers to play in. My time with Infinity 3.0 proved one thing, that the major release season this year has another game worthy of your time. That leaves only one question; do you have enough shelves at home to fit all the fantastic Star Wars figures?
Disney Infinity launches September 3rd for Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and PC.