Disney Infinity 3.0 could have been a cheap and simple Star Wars tie-in, and it still probably would have sold in ridiculous quantities to the overhyped Star Wars loving masses. It’s to Disney’s credit that they didn’t go down that route, delivering instead the most refined Disney Infinity game yet.
I rather liked the original Disney Infinity, despite some early worries about how they’d handle the whole “Toys-As-DLC” thing, and Disney Infinity 2.0 played directly into my wheelhouse, what with its focus on the Marvel Universe.
I’m a fairly hardcore geek who loves some Star Wars, but I’ve got to admit that I was worried when this year’s iteration of Disney Infinity was announced as being Star Wars centric. There’s such a long history of shoddy Star Wars games to rest on, after all. Add that to the fact that just about anything Star Wars related is likely to sell well, and Disney could well have rested on its laurels with a simple bit of reskinning to suit the motif of a galaxy far, far away and still watched the sweet, sweet credits roll in.
In short, it didn’t, although the base Disney Infinity 3.0 play set is definitely a game of two halves. The initial guided play half of Disney Infinity 3.0 is represented by the “Twilight Of The Republic” play set, which uses a mixture of land-based combat and some genuinely fun space shooting sections to represent the Star Wars universe. It’s a little more refined than in previous years with some serious combo upgrades to play around with, as well as a learning curve that actually veers into difficult territory. Character upgrades have a solid effect on your overall progress, and there are areas where you’ll face fights that are actually tough, which is unusual for a “kids” game.
I’m not entirely sure that the generally-younger skew for the Disney Infinity products will immediately love that, but for the more grizzled gamer perhaps playing with their kids, it’s a neat touch. Disney provided me with a range of characters to play with as well as the two in-pack characters, and while you can experience much of what’s on offer with just the two basic characters, to enjoy everything you really will want to have more characters to hand. Plus, let’s face it, the entire motif of this style of game is to encourage kids to pester their parents for more figures. At least you can play around with the Yoda figure when the younglings have gone to bed. Awesome, he is.
The other half remains the creative Toy Box mode, which this time is supplemented with a genuinely massive tutorial hub. I’ve spent a number of hours in there, and I’m not certain I’ve seen everything that’s possible. What is clear is that while previous entries in the Disney Infinity line have offered the ToyBox and let you just go at it, Disney Infinity 3.0 does a far more comprehensive job of showing you how those tools all work together in order to create your own play experiences. That’s quite special, and equally a little overwhelming. You’re still not quite going to create something to rival the sold Play Set experiences, but there’s a lot of solid game and play tools on offer, and the entire range of Disney IPs already within Disney Infinity are also available to play with, as long as you’ve got the requisite figures.
It’s not just Star Wars that gets some figure love, with new entries including a new version of Mickey (along with Minnie), figures from Tron and an Olaf figure from Frozen.
Dammit. Now I have “Let It Go” stuck my head again, just because I wrote that. You may well do too. Sorry about that.
The Toy Box has always encouraged creative play in a slightly-more-formed-than-Minecraft way, so in order to assess its appeal, I handed it over to my kids and let them have at it. They’re old hands with Disney Infinity and were quickly entertaining themselves with features both new and old, building impressive jumping platform worlds and racetracks with ease.
There’s a lot of depth in Toy Box mode, but again it’s best played if you’ve got the cash to splash on additional figures. Thankfully, any original or Disney Infinity 2.0 figures will work nicely within Disney Infinity 3.0. It’s also a nice touch that while the game is available in digital download form, if you go down that route you’re cut a discount for already bringing the Disney Infinity base with you. Although if you did want to play the Star Wars content you’d have to buy a few more figures. Which is yet another reason to buy Yoda, of course.
Is Disney Infinity 3.0 worth your money? As with any Toys-as-content style game, there’s no doubt that these games sit on the pricey side of the gaming equation if you want to see everything that can be done. The standalone starter pack is $99.95 in Australia for PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One or Wii U, individual figures run to around $17.95 each, and new playsets will cost around $39.95 each when they’re released. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, and the kids can play with the toys without power of course, but it’s still a significant investment.
I can’t see too many households being multi-Disney+Skylanders+Lego Dimensions houses this year, unless you’ve got a lot of hidden mining wealth you suddenly feel you have to spend up on your kids.
What about the big kids? There can’t be too many Star Wars fans who’ll be happy with simply the Rebels/Clone Wars content in the base set, so you can easily expect to be spending another $60-$100 on the additional figures to make Episodes IV-VI come to life when they’re released shortly.
Still, while there’s fierce competition this year from both Skylanders: Superchargers and Lego Dimensions, Disney’s simple insistence on play-based fun means that Disney Infinity 3.0 still delivers where it counts. If you can reconcile the whole expensive-plastic-DRM thing — and let’s face it, by now it’s a well established thing — the possibilities for Disney Infinity 3.0, with its Star Wars trappings and greatly improved Toy Box mode make for a compelling and family-friendly gaming experience.
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