Please note this article is my own opinion about Disney’s Infinity franchise.
I have just completed my collection of the first set of Disney Infinity characters, Phineas and Agent P were the last figures I needed. When Disney Infinity was announced I knew I was going to be hooked, a game that took my love of Disney and combined it with my collector’s nature was a match made in heaven. When the game finally launched in the Summer of 2013, I immediately went out and purchased all of the first wave of characters and playsets; and I bought each new character as they became available. Disney Infinity allows players to place a real figure of a character onto a usb ‘infinity base’ connected to your console of choice and then watch as that character is brought to life within the game – a joy to watch. Now while many have been quick to point out, Disney Infinity was quite obviously influenced by Activision’s Skylanders property – a great set of games in it’s own right, that doesn’t bother me though. While I never really connected with any of the characters in Skylanders – apart from Spyro – Disney Infinity allows me to play as Wreck it Ralph and Jack Skellington! characters I know and love.
The gameplay of Disney Infinity doesn’t offer much variety. While there are a lot of ‘Playsets’ – story based level kits set in a particular franchise – they often follow the same formula. Players start off in a barren open world and by completing various quests, they are able to populate the world with characters, buildings, vehicles and toys. While there are a lot of interesting quests – the train based missions in the Lone Ranger set are a personal highlight – most of them do revolve around an almost MMO template, fetch item ‘x’ to character ‘y’ or chase down this villain and lock them in jail, rinse and repeat. While the play sets offer at least 5 hours worth of content without counting optional quests and races, it would have been nice to see a bit more variety of quest. Also while I know that this might be a silly complaint to level at what is ultimately a children’s game, but a bit more challenge wouldn’t have gone a miss – sometimes the playsets were just too easy to complete. So while there were a few bumps in the road, Infinity got itself off to a decent start – the figures are brilliantly made and the game is fun and offers a lot to do not just in the sets but also in the creative ‘toy box’ mode. So what could possibly be next for this franchise? Enter Disney Infinity 2.0.
Disney recently held an event to officially unveil what it had been teasing for a few weeks, Marvel – or more specifically The Avengers – are being added to the game in the form of a sequel/ expansion. The game will release on all major platforms including the PS4 and Xbox One, the exciting thing about this is that all of the original content, figures, characters and power discs will be usable in this new 2.0 version. So for me all I have to do is buy the new PS4 version of the game, plug my usb Infinity base into the console and away I go – I’m hoping that the extra horsepower of the next-gen systems will alleviate some of the performance issues present in vanilla Disney Infinity. One thing that hasn’t been fully explained is how existing users will upgrade – they have announced a 2.0 starter pack which includes the base, three figures (Thor, Iron Man and Black Widow) and the Marvel themed playset, however they have insinuated that next-gen owners will be able to download 2.0 while hinting a disc based version as well. I would like Disney to just clear up how I’m going to get my hands on the starter pack characters as well as the playset and game – In my mind I assume they will release the ‘starter pack’ but without the Infinity Base.
So what else is new in 2.0? well for starters they are adding new combat and travel methods that make each character feel completely separate – Hulk will feel different to Thor etc. This is great news as one major complaint about the original was that most of the characters felt like carbon copies of each other, it’s nice to know that each character will feel unique now. Each character will also be made unique by character specific skill trees which unlock new abilities as you level up – and the best news? all of the existing characters will be updated to incorporate the changes to some extent.
The core level structures are being updated to include new scenarios and variety of gameplay, and new power discs will allow toy box aficionados to create dungeon crawler and tower defense levels. these new level possibilities are really exciting, hopefully we’ll be able to share our creations with other players now which would add a whole new dynamic to the game. Keep it locked to The Strand as we follow the progression of this exciting new chapter of Disney Infinity.