Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Review: Disney Infinity (PS3)

It's difficult to begin a review of Disney Infinity without providing an ample warning to parents about the real-world action figure economy that Disney has created in some respects (and takes a few cues from the popular Skylanders series).

Besides a video game, there are real-world figures to collect that can be plunked down on the "Infinity Base" which interact with each other, along with optional/additional "Power Discs." Setting these items on the base makes them "live" in the game. The base set comes packed with Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles), Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean), and Sulley (Monsters U) and one Power Disc. In practicality, this means three fair sized campaigns ("Play Sets") and plenty of options when it comes to Toy Box mode.

Watching my nephews muck around in Toy Box mode, they continually made reference to Minecraft. The menu layout to interact with the environment is certainly reminiscent of Minecraft.

Toy Box mode is just that: a big space to drop items into, re-arrange, set up your own challenges, and generally try to break the game in some way. There always seems to be some new prop or item to fool around with and that's all included in the game.

Be warned though, one trip to the "Hall of Heroes" tips Disney's hand to show just how many figures and Power Discs they expect completionists and collectors to buy. The Hall is dotted with places for statues (i.e. figures you've bought and ranked-up) along with spots for collected Power Discs.

A three-pack of figures can cost upwards of $30 (or more); single figures come in at $13; blind-packed Power Discs run about $5 per pack. Doing some quick math, it's possible to spend another $100 over and above the starter kit extremely quickly. And Disney will be taking it's time releasing more and more of these figures over the coming months.

Disney is a powerhouse when it comes to licensing their products but even these prices seem a little overboard. If it weren't for the fact the campaigns are fun and suitable for the pre-teen crowd and the Toy Box modes offers a lot options, I'd probably be steering parents

I will steer older gamers away for the simple fact there's almost no Disney property included in the game from before 1995. There are cute little references to iconic Disney properties like Mary Poppins and Robin Hood, but where are the figures from the Song of the South, DuckTales, The Jungle Book, Three Men and Baby, and Gargoyles? Where are they Disney? You might gain some ground with the grown-ups forced to play this game with their kids, nieces, nephews, etc., if they could play as Ted Danson or Cruella De Vil! You dropped that ball and there's no telling if you'll pick it up come the next generation of consoles.

...and what the hell, man, no Roger Rabbit?

- D.D. Nunavut

The Good:
- Even without buying any other figures and Power Discs, there's plenty to keep an kid entertained
- Great style, sounds and looks great
- Toy Box mode riffs on Minecraft and it does a good job of it

The Bad:
- Very narrow scope of characters
- The goading to buy, buy, buy additional figures, etc. might be grating for parents
- Making your own fun in the Toy Box is limited for adults

Score: 8.0 / 10