“Infinite” Possibilities – Disney Infinity Review

Alright, alright, alright, to be fair I’m fairly certain I’m not the target audience for this game. That being said I do love all things Disney related and I was under the impression they could do no wrong and I guess maybe they haven’t, it depends on how you look at it.

DI1

Infinity is Disney’s plan to cash in on the “figures equal characters in game” trend that Activision so excellently created in the Skylanders series. As soon as I got a taste of Skylanders I knew that this would be an excellent way for two companies to make all the money, namely Nintendo and Disney (although an argument could be made for SquareEnix as well but their cross-over universe games tend to fall flat). So when Disney jumped into the ring I was interested and cautiously optimistic. If they could deliver even half the title that Activision hit us with in Skylanders then the power of their brand alone would keep me playing for four or five times as long as Activision held me for, which is to say… eight to ten days. Get it… because Skylanders was a short game… never mind, moving on.

So you buy figures of popular Disney characters and get to play as them in game. Sounds awesome, take my money, sirs. The finished product, however, doesn’t really deliver what you would expect. Yes, they let you play as your favorite Disney characters and yes, a combination of excellent voice actors and animation captures the feeling of moving between Disney universes fairly well but it comes with limitations. Limitations which, I think, we should have moved past in this medium.

DI6

Let me explain. There are several modes of play in Infinity. First you have Adventure Modes. These are small 1 to 2 minute challenges where you try to achieve some goal. Hit villians with paintballs, collect orbs while surfing on vines, collect orbs while gliding, collect orbs while climbing walls, a lot of collecting orbs actually. Which is fine, these are fun, trust me. The camera angles can get annoying but they are a nice, little bit of fun. Next you have the ToyBox. Depending on how much time you have to spend this can be very fun or very dull. You can create something as complex as a self-contained arcade game or as simple as a set of stairs up the side of the money bin. Two things to remember about the toy box. First, unless you sink at least ten more dollars into this already 75 dollar purchase then this is the only place you’re going to play two player. You can play the Adventures on two player but most of them seem to be designed for full screen play and the scores are set up to be attainable by a single player. Second, this is the only place you can play a large percentage of the characters.

DI5

What, you ask, incredulously, but Skylanders had a story mode in which you could play every character. That’s true and, even if you haven’t played Skylanders, buying Rapunzel and getting three characters with the game would suggest to the lay person that they could pair Rapunzel with Jack Sparrow and whip some pirates with super-scary long hair. Sadly for fan-fiction writers and people that like having fun with their now 85 dollar purchase, this is not included in the design of Disney Infinity.

The third section of the game, and the largest, is the Playset Mode. This is your “main story line” as it were. Three come with the game by default (Pirates, Incredibles and Monsters) and more are available for purchase. They are fairly long and detailed and very fun to play. I want that to be clear at the outset. If you sit down as a single person and play the Pirates Playset you are going to have fun. Between the destructible environment and the dropping toys and the unlocking things throughout, not to mention the voice acting that I mentioned earlier… so, totally ‘to mention’ that, I guess… where was I? Oh yes, the playsets are a very solid experience and, honestly, worth 75 bucks. Sadly, the Playsets are entirely too limited. Only linked characters can play in a given Playset. Which means no Ralph smashing up Metro City and no Mr. Incredible punching Monsters. It also means that without at least two Pirates/Heroes/Monsters you can’t even play two players in the bulk of the game. Which is a heck-darn-butt shame because two player in the playsets¬† is super fun. The split screen beats Skylanders Contra-Style single screen and the addition of friendly fire makes the entire experience both challenging and rewarding.

DI3

Final word, Infinity can be fun, should be fun but, unless you spend the right amount of money and know what to spend it on, probably won’t be fun for anyone that isn’t under ten. If you are under ten, or your mind is under ten, then you will have a blast building junk in the toy box and shooting Pirates and just generally playing with virtual toys on your TV screen. Unless you were expecting to use Rapunzel’s hair as a weapon they… um… gave her a Frying Pan instead… I wish I was joking.

 

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