Disney Infinity 3.0 (or, what will no doubt be referred to henceforth as “the Star Wars Infinity”) is, unsurprisingly, the best yet.
I say that not only because it fully capitalizes on Disney’s Star Wars acquisition, but also the glut of Marvel gear that came out last year (Hellooooooo HulkBuster!). Add to that, it has revamped the single and multiplayer campaigns completely, so it’s not just the same “fetch and go and beat up x enemies” formula that Infinity 2.0 unfortunately relied on.
That’s not to say that there aren’t monotonous moments…they’re just interspersed well, and/or feature locations and tasks that every Star Wars nerd is probably ok with doing (“what’s that? You want me to climb through a sandcrawler and kick out Tusken Raiders? DONE!”). Sure, there are several instances of non-canonical tasks or events, but they’re presented in a fun enough way, that you won’t really realize that they’re essentially the same thing.
Combat has been given a fairly massive facelift as well, thanks to some expert input from Ninja Theory. The inclusion of lightsabers feels really organic this time around, and the utter lack of flying characters (save for vehicles) makes level navigation a LOT more uniform.
I’m sure a lot of people are going to draw parallels between Infinity and LEGO, but aside from the obvious toy connection, they feel wholly different. If this is your first foray into the Infinity world, let me explain: Infinity 3.0, like its predecessors, is a “collectible figurines come to life” title (a la Skylanders and Lego Dimensions); however, Infinity differs from the others in that the toys are never really “living”–they’re only “alive” in the playsets that you use them in. While acting out key scenes from the franchise, characters never really “die”–they just explode at their articulation points, like toys would. Enemies explode into light motes, which can be used to upgrade characters, “buy” toy box items and refill health/special attacks.
For the purposes of this review, we spent time with the Twilight of the Republic and Rise Against the Empire playsets, and as said before, even though the stories are truncated (and often re-formed), they still play out competently. What’s more, the visual style of Twilight of the Republic is strikingly similar to the style of the Clone Wars, which is fitting as it focuses predominantly on Anakin Skywalker and his padawan, Ahsoka Tano. For “trilogy purists”, you might be saddened to learn that the starter set features ONLY Episodes I through III, but it’s still relatively enjoyable (sadly, you cannot destroy Jar-Jar) and both Anakin and Ahsoka have fantastic combos and unlockable abilities that fit well together in a two-player system (Anakin has Force pull while Ahsoka has Force push).
Conversely, Rise Against the Empire has you playing through (some of) the events of Episode IV-VI, and principally has you playing as Luke (or Leia). Leia’s blaster abilities are no joke, but fans of the original Trilogy will notice that nearly ALL of the Rise content is complementary to Luke’s abilities. Sure you can play as Leia, but nearly all of the story elements that you’ll remember are geared predominantly at Luke.
Like previous editions, you can purchase several additional characters for use in each playset (and most can be “unlocked” if you find their corresponding cameo disc hidden in the level). Plus, you can also use some Twilight of the Republic characters in Rise Against the Empire and vice-versa. Like previous versions, you can interchange heroes and villains during “hero” storylines; for example, you can use Vader whilst deactivating the Death Star from the inside. As before, it doesn’t make a lick of sense. I mean, seriously: would it be that difficult to include specific maps/levels for villains? I’d sure love to play a Fett- or Vader-based minigame, instead of trying to overthrow the Empire as Vader. I mean, I guess you could replay key scenes as Vader for shits and giggles, but I just don’t see how much fun it’ll be the first time around.
No, the majority of your replay value will be found in the Toy Box 3.0. Not only can you custom-build your own creations, but you can download and play community-made (and Disney verified) levels, much like before. This time around, there’s a fairly robust “Toy Box Hub” which will give you the basics of creation, and will lead you through each particular style of level-building, each with it’s own representative. That in and of itself is a HUGE upgrade, mostly because prior Toy Box versions were pretty much trial-by-fire.
Another big upgrade is the discontinuation of the “Blind bag” power discs/toy box theme packs. Before, each bag was $4.99 and would feature a mix of either power discs (for use with each character) or vehicles/customization tiles, which could be used in the Toy Box. Now, they come in a 4-pack with clearly-visible contents, and are geared towards specific playsets. It’s a welcome upgrade, since many people spent countless dollars on duplicate (thus, unusable) tiles.
Infinity 3.0 also has two DLC sets on the horizon: Toy Box Takeover and Toy Box Speedway, both with an MSRP of $19.99. Toy Box Takeover is a multi-character campaign which pits Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters against the Incredibles’ Syndrome (and his ilk). Toy Box Speedway will feature several preconstructed race tracks, for use with the vehicles you’ve unlocked in the Toy Box. Both sets come out later this week.
All in all, Disney Infinity 3.0 is a remarkable upgrade from prior versions: combat, upgrades and vehicle controls have all been overhauled; the worlds you’ll visit are just as fun as you’d imagine, and there’s enough minor missions and goofy (albeit, repetitive) side missions to boost playset replay value. They’ve also listened to the community, and provided the ability to purchase the power discs and sets that you’ll want, as well as additional DLC sets for those who are a little hungrier. Still, the real draw of Infinity 3.0 is the Toy Box which has been given a significant facelift, thanks to a glut of FREE to download community levels, and a solid Hub to draw inspiration from. Lastly, the price point has dropped a little (currently $64.99), however you’ll be able to use prior Infinity versions and purchase the core disc ($34.99) and whichever of the playsets you’re interested in ($34.99 each).