Return of the Classics
The original Star Wars trilogy is still one of the most iconic film trilogies in history. Millions of people worldwide know and love the movies, and Disney has brought the central characters and moments to the world of Disney Infinity, ready to be discovered and rediscovered by players young and old.
The Rise Against the Empire set consists of Luke and Leia figures, alongside the Death Star shaped playset token. Han Solo, Chewbacca, Boba Fett and Darth Vader are all available as separate figures, rounding out the classic line up. As always, these figures are quite stunningly designed in the stylised Disney Infinity style. It’s pretty cool to see fewer lightsabers and more star wars guns on these figures – the bowcaster, Han’s DL-44 and Boba’s EE-3 carbine all look great, as does Leia, with her figure brandishing her own pistol in quite a badass manner.Once you’ve unpacked the figures and got them ready on the Infinity base the real game begins. The pack is a standalone adventure, playable with the core characters and all other Star Wars figures once you’ve collected their tokens in game. The core four are showcased in every step of the adventure – while it was a little jarring at first to see Leia alongside a lightsaber wielding Luke, Han and Chewie from the get go, but it quickly made sense from an accessibility standpoint and was quite a cool take on the narrative.
The story itself is a very basic run through of A New Hope, Empire Strikes back and Return of the Jedi. Think of the big setpieces from those films – the trench run, the battle of Hoth and the final assault on the second death star – these make up the big story moments throughout the game’s six to eight hour runtime. These setpieces are fun and quite spectacular, even with the game’s toy based aesthetic. You even get a few different ways to approach battles and iconic moments; on Hoth when facing off against advancing AT-AT’s you can hop in a Snowspeeder to trip them with the tow cable, or you can scale the leg of the walker, destroying the batteries hidden inside in a very Infinity twist.Dotted between these setpieces are a wealth of side missions & activities in the three hub worlds – Tatooine, Hoth and Endor. Not only are these worlds a lot more interesting than the hubs found in the previous playset, Twilight of the Republic, the missions feel like they have a lot more personality. Highlights range from scouring Tatooine to re-assemble the members of the Cantina band to disguising ewoks in stormtrooper helmets, catapulting them into the Imperial base as spies. The game as a whole has a very tongue in cheek tone to it – it’s quite funny and I really enjoyed moving through the saga in a new way.
A new addition to this playset is base building – you can buy a range of structures from a K-3PO unit on each hub, placing them in the world to spawn vehicles and enemies or allow you to change the inhabitants and droids of the world. This was a nice addition but it really wasn’t explored as deeply as I’d like, once you’ve placed buildings down to fulfil one of the side mission requirements there isn’t a lot of need to re-engage with them, and it could have been a much cooler aspect of the title to increase it’s longevity.The core gameplay itself is identical to previous Disney Infinity 3.0 playsets, thankfully retaining the great lightsaber combat from the Twilight of the Republic set. This second playset is a lot more blaster heavy, tweaking that side of things up nicely after the heavy lightsaber focus initially.
Similarly, the flying mechanics are quite good, even in the on rails style sections. Occasionally I had a few issues with responsiveness and the speed in which I could move out of the way of obstacles, making getting that three star rating troublesome, but it didn’t impact too much on the whole experience.
Rise Against the Empire is a great addition to the Disney Infinity 3.0 line up, a nice improvement upon the previous playset boding very well for the upcoming The Force Awakens playset. Despite a few minor issues with controls and some missed opportunities to expand things like base building, it’s great to see Star Wars handled in a respectful, authentic and engaging new way. Older fans are sure to find a lot to like here, as are young ones making their first foray into the force.
Developers: Avalanche Software, Ninja Theory, Sumo Digital, United Front Games, Studio Gobo
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios, Lucasarts
Platform: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Wii U, PlaysStation 3 & Xbox 360