The much anticipated Marvel sequel to Disney Infinity is here and if you are a superhero fan such as myself, getting your hands on these animated style figures of your much loved Marvel characters has been quite the wait. Ever since Disney acquired Marvel, people speculated as to whether we would see Marvel figures bleed in to the original Disney Infinity. It would later be revealed that they would indeed get their own title, referred to as simply Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes or the more commonly used Disney Infinity 2.0.
Now, the 2.0 part of the title would give the buyer reason to think that this is an upgrade to the original and not simply a sequel but I could quite easily say that this is not how I felt when playing Disney Infinity 2.0. Upon the game’s opening you are led through various classic Disney environments such as London in Peter Pan and Agrabah from Aladdin, playing as some of the newly added Disney Original characters such as Aladdin, Donald Duck and Merida, but something that I noticed instantly which have not been upgraded are the visuals.
The original Disney Infinity was not intended to be the most visually impressive game to ever grace our screens but the surroundings where your adventures take place would fit the aesthetic detail and style of the plastic versions of your characters and were at least finished to a high standard. This is something that is sadly not the case in this latest outing for Disney Infinity.
Playing the game on XBOX 360, I found myself not only during the opening, but during cutscenes and the game itself, looking at some very unfinished looking visuals and often thinking that I was waiting for that age old issue of delayed textures to load, but the games appearance was simply as it was on screen, with a lack of detailed, unfinished and unlike it’s predecessor, unremarkable. I have been unable to fathom how a game has been able to take a step back in its visual appearance, especially when the game’s predecessor was never graphically demanding in the first place.
As the game proceeds past it’s opening you are taken to the hub of the game which will let you choose what you want to do, whether to load a play-set, play in the toy box or you visit the Hall of Heroes to view all of the figures you have collected.
This area has seen a bit of an overhaul and is much easier to access and navigate your way around than in the previous incarnation with each option having its own area to walk over to and select with an introduction in to each area. The Toy Box area has never been something I have spent a great amount of time with and have never really seen the attraction with it but for the purposes of the review I did have a little dabble with this new version of the Toy Box.
I can honestly say that improvements have been made to this area with a much easier and more manageable approach for younger audiences and newcomers to this particular mode which would usually attract gamers who spend hours in Minecraft and it is these players that enjoy crafting their own worlds who will find a much easier and sleeker system to use. You won’t find anything too complex that would disrupt their ability of turning their imagination in to reality.
We are going to turn our focus to the play-set of this title which is the Avengers. The story revolves around the Avengers who are trying to thwart a plot by Loki who is invading New York with his army of Frost Giants. The plot develops as the game progresses with the likes of MODOK making an appearance. The game’s story is relatively straight forward and nothing too deep and complex so as not to confuse or overwhelm the younger audience.
The story of Disney Infinity play-sets is never really the focus of the game however, with plenty of activities and items to collect and unlock for use within the toybox – all of which will keep you busy for hours, but those that enjoyed these activities may be a little disappointed by this latest outing. As in the previous Disney Infinity a range of chellenges can be found for you to complete such as collecting bubbles or destroying targets within a certain time frame, but in Disney Infinity 2.0 these activities have become very frustrating.
Some challenges simply can not be completed unless you have a particular character or said character has been levelled up to a point where a skill can be unlocked that will make the challenge attainable. To add to the frustration, the game does not offer any hints as to which character should be used during these challenges, nor does it wait to make the challenges available once you have the means to complete them. They are simply there for you to just give it a punt, leaving it for you to discover whether or not it can be accomplished, meaning you can waste a good amount of time before you realise that it simply can not be done.
Those that played the original Disney Infinity will find this not only very unusual but also very off setting. As challenges were originally only playable once you had the means to complete them, such as the jump pack in the Toy Story Play-set.
The world of the Avengers, in this case – New York, has other tasks for you to work on such as items for you to seek out and collect. These include crossover coins which will allow a couple of characters from other play-sets to be used (both Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova from Spider-man can be played in this play-set) and a series of collectables which require a character of a certain attribute to collect them. These attribute collectables are new to Disney Infinity and require a character with tech, wall-crawling, super strength and more to collect them. Although this is a new twist on the collectables of Disney Infinity, I can’t help but feel that this is a huge ploy by Disney to push for owners of the game to collect more figures so that they are able to collect all of the collectables within each play-set.
This is a real shame as part of the fun of the original Disney Infinity was the ability to simply explore and have fun in the fantastic worlds of the game but there is a real sense of lack of collectables and side activities which take a huge amount of fun and playability out of the play-sets. The missions and quests of Disney Infinity 2.0 are also disappointing, each mission I was given revolved around me making my way through New York to beat up Frost Giants or escorting vehicles… and beating up Frost Giants.
Not a great deal of variation ever comes from the missions of the play-set and although playing as your favourite Avenger smashing Frost Giants in to ice cubes is great fun, it’s ability to keep you truly entertained is short lived when every mission involves this same concept. With so many fun and quirky missions in the original Disney Infinity, I couldn’t help but wonder where these had gone and if the developers had run out of ideas for this Marvel interpretation of their game.
The combat however is much improved from the previous game with combos being easier to string together and moves being much easier to pull off. Another improvement is the skill tree which allows you to level up your hero as you see fit. Certain characters can learn new abilities such as an increased jump or wall crawling. New moves which are unique to each character can be unlocked and you can also increase your health and movement speed but each character can also unlock a special move which will decimate enemies around you such as Hawkeye’s rain of arrows. Special Moves can be levelled up further to do more damage and have a greater range of attack making it much easier to take care of hordes of enemies.
Another huge problem with the Avengers play-set is it’s setting. During The Avengers movie when we see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fighting the alien armies of Loki, you are given a sense of what they are really fighting for by seeing the bustling city for what it is: a sprawling Metropolis with innocent people caught in the middle who need your help and need to be saved. This is something that really needs to be addressed in Disney Infinity 2.0 as there are no people to be seen making New York completely lifeless, leaving you wondering who are you actually fighting to save except for an endless supply of cars on the road.
Moving away from the game’s software, the physical elements of Disney Infinity 2.0 are also something that has left me scratching my head with. The original Disney Infinity had some amazing characters immortalised in plastic with each character being beautifully painted and great care being taken to ensure that the figurine is a perfect representation of the character. Disney Infinity 2.0 characters should have shown the same level of care and detail with these great comic book heroes but some characters don’t seem to have been given the love that they truly deserve.
In the starter pack you will find Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow, of which only Black Widow appears to have been given some real time to ensure that the essence of the character has been captured. Iron Man is simply painted red and yellow with no paint job used to define any of the suits detail leaving the character looking rather unspectacular. Thor is also rather bland and boring with the same grey paint job being used for his boots, pants and torso and yet again no paint job used to define the difference between these items of clothing.
Even if for arguments sake that Thor’s clothes were all the same colour, it seems slightly unimaginative that nothing would be done to make this figure more interesting rather than relying on the moulding of the figurine to define the differences in his clothing. The figurines do appear too inconsistent however, with Captain America looking as you would expect and Hawkeye also being a well finished figurine.
Although this review is mainly covering the Starter Pack, I would also like to say that the Guardians of the Galaxy figurines are all very well painted. Nova from the Spider-man set is quite well detailed, Spider-man is rather boring with no effort made to have the webbing effect on his suit painted on as it appears to have been printed in to the red paint of the figure rather than painted.
My time playing Disney Infinity has left me disappointed and very disheartened in a franchise that I felt would go from strength to strength. The original Disney Infinity had created a fun place for people to play exciting and varied missions, with challenges for you to invest a huge amount of time in. But at a steep price which only gets you one play-set rather than three, like the original Infinity. 2.0 is a lot to ask of a customer for one repetitive play-set. The impression it is unfinished and those that play will undoubtedly feel cheated out of a supposed upgrade from their original game.
Although some improvements have been made, it seems that the developers realised that the characters of Marvel would undoubtedly need to be combat orientated and spent more time looking of ways to improve character levelling up and the combat system of the game, rather than implementing the great things that made the original Disney Infinity so amazing and putting a Marvel twist on these elements.
The only conclusion that I can pull from my experience with Disney Infinity 2.0 is that although playing as Marvel characters and seeing them brought to life in this way is refreshing and fun, Marvel fans will find more enjoyment playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes and should stick to the original Disney Infinity for the light hearted and easy access fun that this great franchise introduced last year.
Here is hoping that we get to see a true sequel with some improvements all round that will take this franchise to infinity and beyond.