Disney Infinity was always destined for greatness. With a rich trove of existing characters to play as and worlds to explore, it provided the perfect remedy to years of hit-and-miss Disney movie tie-ins. Perhaps what was most surprising was its appeal to older, more experienced gamers. Although profoundly basic in terms of gameplay, its charming aesthetic and clever creation tools made it a perfect game for the whole family.
Disney Infinity 2.0 offers more or less the same experience, albeit with a distinct focus on the Marvel universe. Though still present throughout, Disney icons such as Aladdin and Donald Duck are relegated to the back seat as Spider-Man and The Avengers take the wheel. Keeping in line with the recent string of Marvel blockbusters, The Guardians of the Galaxy also make an appearance though, like Spidey, their specific content is lock away within a purchasable expansion.
So, what do you actually get with the game itself? Well, unless you happened to pre-order the PlayStation exclusive collector’s edition you’ll end up with a copy of the game disc as well as The Avengers playset and three preset characters. On top of that you’ll will also receive two power discs as well as the same “Disney Infinity Base” used in the original game. From just looking at the box and its contents, Disney Infinity 2.0 may seem as though it’s worth the slightly inflated asking price. However, when you start to break things down bit by bit, the value of the starter kit is somewhat diminished.
First off we have The Avengers playset itself. Set in a New York City overrun by Loki and his Frost Giants, the campaign missions weigh in at roughly four to five hours. As far as Disney Infinity playsets go, this sounds about right, especially given the amount of additional side content each one has to offer. The problem here is that the original Disney Infinity included three of these playsets and not just one. Furthermore, those who played the original may also feel bummed that they’ve had to pay for another baseplate.
This void in content is somewhat filled by the quality of that which is still offered to players. Again, it’s all very basic mechanics aimed at the younger, more casual demographic yet still has its appeal. When playing 2.0 you’ll traverse New York City using a variety of vehicles while also engaging in combat, platforming, and puzzle-solving. The string of campaign missions are also quite straightforward, often tasking players with defeating waves of enemies or escorting targets to a safe location. Though perfectly serviceable, repetition is apparent, as is the lack of variety when it comes to enemy NPCs with only a few iterations on show.
Still, as a game that is primarily targeted at children, it holds up well and even manages to work in a few refinements such as special attacks. Another one of these improvements is the presence of skill trees. In the original Disney Infinity, levelling up had no impact on gameplay whatsoever but now, in 2.0, the experience gained can be used to purchase new abilities and stat boosts. Rocket Racoon, for instance, can buy a charged shot for his hand cannons as well as a lethal bomb-throwing attack. Something which really surprised us about this progression system is that it works retroactively with 1.0 figures. This meant that when I loaded Sully into the Toy Box, I was immediately given shower of points to spend on stat bonuses.
Speaking of the Toy Box, it’s back and even bigger than before. Although we previously complained about the brevity of 2.0’s core playset, those who choose to explore its glut of creation tools will find this easy to overlook.
Toy Box works in a similar fashion to games such as LittleBigPlanet. On one hand you can simply mess about, creating worlds to explore and play as you would with a real toy box. On the other hand, there is a raft of advanced options which can be used to create playable games that can then be shared with the Disney Infinity community. Building these takes both time and patience with a series of tutorials to get through. However, once the stabilisers are well and truly off, you’ll be able to sculpt huge multi-tier levels similar to those found in the developer-made playsets.
One thing that consistent throughout 2.0 is its beautifully chunky character designs and vibrant locales. Even when side by side, characters from both the Marvel and Disney rosters look great together on-screen. With that said, it’s certainly not one of the best games we’ve seen on new hardware, at least not visually. Those who pick up the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions will be treated with a few nuances though the generation gap isn’t profoundly noticeable throughout.
Whether looking to expand the original Disney Infinity experience or joining the series for the first time, 2.0 is a sound follow-up. Though mature gamers will find it hard to warm towards its basic mechanics and lack of stock content, younger audiences will relish the freedom and creativity it instills. Avalanche Studios and its cohort of developers have gone a long way to capture the essence of its super hero line-up while still ensuring plenty of heart-warming Disney magic throughout. Overall, 2.0 may not have the impact of the original but it’s still one of the best “toys to life” gaming experiences on the market.