It’s been a few years now since Activision decided to take a new idea to the market with the Skylanders series. Now, Disney has followed the success of Activision by bringing us all of the great characters from Disney and Pixar into one package with Disney Infinity. Will this package gain a similar amount of success or is this one set you should stay away from?
I don’t know what it is about video games these days but, more and more companies seem to be trying to cash in on plastic peripherals and toys that have no other use than to the game they’re being sold with. The latest game to follow this model is Disney Infinity developed by Avalanche Software.
The first thing you’ll see when you start-up Disney Infinity is a five minute or so tutorial showing you how control your character and perform different tasks like jumping and other general moves. What I found funny is that while going through this, the player is shown all the different characters that are available to play with…well available if you pay extra money. You see Woody from Toy Story, Jack Skellington from a Nightmare Before Christmas, and many more. None of those are available off the bat and it’s like the player is bombarded with them right away. Maybe that wasn’t the intention but, it sure seemed that way and for a game that’s already 75 dollars just for the starter pack, it’s a bit crazy.
Infinity itself is a great idea and great concept, everybody seems to love Disney and has fond memories of their favourite characters and this game aims to bring some of those memories back while creating new ones as well. Infinity gives you all kinds of different objects to work with and allows you to do whatever you want with them. At heart, it is a game for the younger crows but, the attention to detail is very much apparent to the older crowds.
Infinity is divided into two easy to understand categories: Play Sets and Toy Box. The Play Sets are campaigns that can be played by up to two players and give players unique quests to perform to obtain new objects to use in Toy Box mode. Each Play Set can only be played by characters that are involved in each world (for example, Jack Sparrow can’t run around Monsters University). While the Play Sets are somewhat bland and don’t have a whole lot of variety, the Toy Box is where you can create anything you can think of.
The real premise behind Disney Infinity is to think of everything as toys a instead of specific characters because that’s where everything really starts to come together. The Infinity Base comes with space for two characters. The characters are plastic statues, they don’t pose and have a little bit of a different artistic style than what you’d see in the movies. The Infinity Base also has room for Power Discs which are placed underneath the character on the same spot and a spot for a Play Set as well. The Starter Pack comes with three different Play Sets, one for The Incredibles, one for Pirates of the Carribean, and one for Monsters University. The reality is that this game is not geared towards the older Disney crowd, there’s a lot of contemporary stuff in here that the older crowd probably wouldn’t even know about.
Each Play Set is much different than the next in a very welcome surprise. In the Monsters University set, you’re trying to get revenge on Fear Tech for playing pranks on Monsters University. It’s a stealth action scenario where the player is running around trying to sneak up behind Fear Tech monsters and scare them, put up Monsters University flags, toilet paper trees and various other tasks. Pirates of the Caribbean is an adventure game with hack n’ slash combat, puzzles, and naval warfare. The Incredibles is an open-world super-hero game with a variety of different activities
The Toy Box comes across as a blank canvas to throw anything you can imagine together to create whatever you want. You can create games and worlds that you’ve always wanted to see and mix characters that would never otherwise be seen together. Objects range from smaller items to huge pre-built items. The building system is a bit finicky and things don’t always place exactly how you want them to but, there are seemingly limitless possibilities so this is definitely the bread and butter of Infinity.
The huge annoyance is the amount of money that you’re expected to pay to play with a second player (because play sets need two characters from the same world) and for any extra characters that you may want. Each character is $12.99 while 3 packs are $29.99 when I last checked on the weekend. To me, $30 is much better spent on another game or anything other than a few characters. If these characters were only $2.99 each, I could see it being more realistic but, these game can cost you nearly $200 if you buy all the Play Sets and characters. That hardly seems reasonable to me.
While the game is a decent attempt at bringing Disney characters to their target audience, the game itself is average at best and it won’t be long before players are looking to shell out another $12.99 + to add to their experience and that is a rather large investment with the game itself being $75. This one will definitely keep kids busy but, at what cost is the true question. Avalanche built a very simple and solid game with a bunch of variety but, the cost will always pull down what is otherwise a quality Disney experience.