Reviews
Disney Infinity 2.0 – Marvel Superheroes

By Jorge Figueiredo - October 2nd, 2014

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When Avalanche Software’s Disney Infinity was announced, some people questioned if there was any point in the empire of the Mouse trying to horn in on what appeared to be a niche market with a clear monopoly. Of course, it didn’t take long to see that the magic of the Magic Kingdom was a power to be reckoned with. Last year, when I reviewed Disney Infinity (you should read that review), I mentioned that it was within the realm of possibility that Disney could include Marvel in an upcoming release of Infinity. Lo and behold, the inclusion of the Marvel universe has come to pass in Avalanche’s latest release, Disney Infinity 2.0; but is this version merely just an expansion involving characters only? No – this is much, much more.

For those not in the know, Disney Infinity 2.0 (like Disney Infinity) uses physical toys (each containing a Near Field Communications chip) to activate digitized counterparts on your favourite platform (or PC). The game is comprised of good-looking, well-constructed figures (who you take the role of), Play Sets (which contain adventures for the characters), boosters (which modify characters, supply in-game objects, or change the levels in some way) and Toy Box game discs (more complex Toy Box levels – new to the Infinity franchise). Even though the first Disney Infinity was a fully realized game, it became apparent after a few months that much more could be done with the already entertaining concept. Play Sets were good and had plenty of legs for those that enjoyed playing scripted adventures; Toy Boxes had a decent amount of flexibility; but in the face of games like Minecraft, it seemed that there could be so much more that could be done with Disney Infinity. Now, with the release of 2.0, we can see how busy the developers have been over the past little while.

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Great build quality. These are some great-looking figures.

To play Infinity 2.0, one needs to have at least the base and one character. The starter kit takes all of the guesswork out of component choices; it comes with a base (which is backwards compatible with the Disney Infinity 1.0 figures and power discs), three figures (Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor), the Avengers Play Set piece (which contains the Avengers campaign as well as all of the Avengers assets), two Toy Box game discs, and the game disc. I know for a fact that the base from the first game can be used with 2.0 – and vice versa (at least, it can on the Playstation 3 and Playstation 41); of course, this just means that you’ll have to buy a standalone copy of the game (available digitally on November 4th). Really, odd as it is, purchasing the starter kit is actually a really great deal.

Unlike the original Infinity, which contained a Play Set that contained three worlds, the 2.0 Play Set includes only a single one – but given how many missions there are (some of which can only be completed by specific character types), and how large the city is, there is a decent amount of playtime with this set. Some characters not specific to that world (like, say, Rocket Raccoon in regards to the Avengers Play Set) can actually be used once you have found enough character tokens in the Play Set – a definite improvement over 2.0’s predecessor (though, it’s too bad that you can’t play some of the old characters from the first Infinity in the Avengers missions). As if that’s not enough, the two included Toy Box game discs contain lengthy themed mission sets (one “campaign” per disc) that will keep you busy for a while. Sadly, while the figures and power discs can be used with 2.0, the Play Sets can’t (at least, not right now).

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Don’t mess with Iron Man.

In Infinity, you would have to spin for toys in the Toy Box (basically it was just a randomizer) and collect sparks to gain levels. Now, in 2.0, there are four kinds of sparks to collect. Experience is gained by collecting fiery red/orange sparks; health can be restored by collecting green sparks; special abilities are charged by collecting purple sparks; and the old blue sparks are now used to purchase toys in the Toy Box. Infinity 2.0 also introduces skill trees that help you round out each of your characters. Each character has a relatively unique skill tree that holds different upgrades that you can “purchase” using skill points that you gain when you gain experience levels (even the old Infinity characters have their own skill trees). Of course, establishing ownership of your characters also places them in either the Hall of Heroes (which has been expanded from the first game to include more figures) or the Hall of Superheroes (new to 2.0), depending on which character or power disc you have claimed.

The characters in 2.0 have similar controls when compared to those in the previous versions. That being said, I have to say that the newer heroes really have great control schemes. The best way to highlight this is by comparing Buzz Lightyear with Iron Man. Buzz requires his Space Ranger jet pack to fly horizontally and his jump jet to take large vertical leaps (using the triangle button on the PS3/PS4). It is possible to shift between the two (using the D-Pad) – but it’s clumsy and a poorly-timed transition can be disastrous. Iron Man, on the other hand, doesn’t need to switch between anything, and can fly along the horizontal and the vertical with a lot more finesse. All you need to do is hold X when you want to take off, and use the L2 button to fly horizontally (navigating with the left and right sticks). It’s a lot more natural.

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New Toy Box game pieces add extra goodness.

Of course, while these different pieces of content will engage you, the real meat of the game is in the Toy Box, which has been given a major upgrade for this sequel. First of all, there is a new Toy Box Hub with various characters that will help you out with commands and assign you tasks – fulfill a set number of tasks and you will unlock new toys – and trust me when I say that there are a lot of new toys. Taking a look at all of the options available (old and new) to muck around with will leave players impressed, especially some of the new logic toys. Even more impressive is how well all of the tools and objects are organized (sorted by various categories with search filters) – and how easy they are to implement. Whether you want a little assistance, or want the game to take the lead in world construction: Disney Infinity 2.0 has your back. Sets of objects can be purchased using sparks, giving you lots of pieces to play with. I mentioned earlier that Infinity Play Sets are currently not compatible with 2.0. What is nice, though, is that placing an old Play Set on the base unlocks all of the toys contained by that specific Play Set and places them in the Toy Box.

In the past, playing in the Infinity Toy Box with Smallest Thumbs was always a blast – but if it was a Toy Box scenario of our own making, a fair amount of time would be spent constructing a world (or adding to our existing Toy Box) before playing in our the creation. I’m sure that you’re wondering how it could possible be better now with more options and more sets of toys? One word: Automation. Some of the available sets of toys come with building templates (allowing you to build a large structures quickly simply by highlighting an area); some sets also come with “Auto Creators” that build things automatically based on their own programmed template. Want to build a castle quickly? Grab the Dunbroch template and make a big castle in less than twenty seconds! Want to have an interesting and organic world? Grab a City Auto Creator and a Castle Auto Creator and let them run around in your world, building things willy-nilly. It’s awesome, especially considering that these structures can serve to inspire one’s own need to be creative (it’s fun to build your own stuff while the bots are busy working in the background).

One other addition that’s neat is a place called “My INterior”. This is essentially a house in the Toy Box that is your very own to decorate on the inside. As you complete more missions, more decorations become available. Eventually, after using a specific item to decorate your house, guests will arrive. These guests will have missions for you to fulfill. It’s a nice addition that adds a lot of value to the game – but it is not necessary to play in the INterior if you don’t want to.

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A number of different Play Sets are already available.

I have played this game on various platforms at various events over the last month or two, so I can safely say that the graphics on the older-gen platforms seems to be improved – but man, playing this game on a Playstation 4 is pretty sweet. Visuals are sharp, animations are smooth, and tons of things can be moving on the screen at once – an issue for the older gen platforms, considering that 2.0 can have a lot more happening on the screen at the same time compared to the old game. Audio, including sound effects, music, and voice acting are all done exceptionally well – not a surprise there. Rarely, there are issues with the game world – usually in Play Set mode. Sometimes objects don’t behave quite the way they should, or something weird happens in an adventure that forces you to restart the current mission. These events occur very infrequently, though, so they are not game-breaking in the slightest. Oddly enough, they barely happen at all in the Toy Box (which you would think would be the place that issues would arise, given it’s open-world nature).

Disney Infinity 2.0 is definitely an improvement over the first game. While some may accuse Disney of creating “more of the same”, it’s pretty clear to see that Avalanche have taken everything from Infinity and polished it up, adding a ton of features and making the game even more fun for adults and more accessible to kids. While the main adventures are more geared for a younger crowd, some of the Toy Box games will challenge even adults, and the Toy Box itself, as always, remains the main attraction to this tribute to creativity. As with Infinity, there are multiple stand-alone figures available, as well as a few Play Sets, with more characters and assets being released in the near future. So why not go grab yourself 2.0 and Marvel at the possibilities of Infinity?

1 – Be sure to check the compatibility page to ensure that you can re-use some of your old kit.

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