Disney was never going to let Activision control the NFC figurine market, and so last year it delivered Disney Infinity – a family friendly title featuring themed Playsets and a LittleBigPlanet-esque Toy Box mode. Disney Infinity 2.0 improves upon many aspects of the original, as well as bringing the franchise to the PlayStation 4. Oh, and it also adds the company’s newly acquired cast of Marvel characters.
Unfortunately, you won’t find all of the Avengers in the box; instead, you’ll have to assemble the full roster by purchasing characters and Playsets separately – unsurprisingly to the tune of a small fortune. In fact, the Starter Set for this latest entry is smaller than its predecessor, which is something of a surprise.
Disappointingly, you’ll only get access to one Playset out of the box, where the original came with three. The included mini-campaign – based, of course, on the Avengers – doesn’t exactly make a great first impression either.
The story kicks off in the Avengers Tower as Frost Giants sent by Loki and Mordok invade New York City. With your Starter Kit characters – Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor – you’ll beat up the icy foes as you work your way through the interior of the tower to the Arc Reactor. Bland corridors, rooms with copy-and-pasted objects, and samey enemy encounters make up this tutorial introduction, and will immediately dull your enthusiasm. You’ll eventually make it outside, where the open world city promises adventure – but will ultimately leave you wanting.
Indeed, New York’s exterior is no more visually appealing than the Avengers Tower’s interior, with bland textures and the same few buildings scattered around to represent different streets. Furthermore, the Frost Giants’ presence has caused it to snow, so what little detail the world does have is washed out with the flurry and settling of white stuff.
The characters are fortunately more striking, sporting a unique cartoon aesthetic in line with their figurine counterparts. What’s more, despite its blandness, at least the urban environment’s semi-destructible scenery adds some great effects while you batter your enemies into a bloody pulp. Sadly, the missions themselves are repetitive, and, unless you’re obsessed with collectibles, you’re not going to find much reason to explore.
Additionally, the controls are loose and inaccurate. The combat, which shows some potential, is marred by a clumsy camera and sense of direction when you’re stringing attacks together. The moves themselves look great, though, showing off the unique and varied skills of each character. In fact, the heroes in general are terrific, with great dialogue and personalities delivered brilliantly by a strong voice cast.
The sense of individuality is further enhanced by the new skill tree. As your characters level up, you can purchase skills and upgrades for them. This also goes for the stars from the original title, alongside a new level cap of 20. Flying has also been introduced for certain heroes, and you no longer have infinite lives; instead, the title takes a page from Skylanders’ book, and requires you to place a fresh character down when your current one is incapacitated, otherwise it’s back to a checkpoint.
You do have new Power Discs to help: place one of these on the NFC peripheral and it’ll grant you a new costume, ability, or even the aid of a team-mate, who’ll jump into the fray temporarily. Additionally, a second player can help out, and with friends to share the adventure, the repetition does get a little less pronounced.
Still, the bundled Playset is disappointing overall, which puts a little extra pressure on the Toy Box to deliver. As with the previous version, this allows you to create your own playgrounds and adventures from a set of unlockable toys – and it’s truly massive. 76 game templates are ready for you to use right away – or you can watch the artificial intelligence get to work by spawning townspeople and watching them start to build structures. You can now build interiors as well as exteriors, and link them together through doorways, allowing you to get really imaginitive. You can even add text boxes to townspeople.
It may sound overwhelming, but to abate that feeling, an introductory Toy Box is available to ease you in and earn you special toys to place in your own creations. Additionally, you’re no longer awarded random toys as your characters level up, but instead earn currency so that you can buy what you want – even if some parts are stacked, meaning that you’ll have to purchase the basic bits before gaining access to the more advanced stuff.
Outside of the Playset and Toy Box are two included mini-games: Escape the Kiln and Assault on Asgard. The former stars Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy in a top-down dungeon crawler where you’re trying to escape from prison, while the latter is a tower defence type title in which you must place turrets to protect yourself against waves of enemies.
Disney Infinity 2.0 is very light on pre-made content – its bundled Playset being far from impressive – but it’s the enhancements to the other areas of the package that make the sequel worthwhile. Indeed, the Toy Box is a fantastic tool, and it’s brimming with potential for those with a strong imagination. As with its competitor Skylanders, it’ll cost you a fortune to get the most out of the game – but if you’ve already invested in this franchise, there’s no reason to hesitate over assembling those Avengers.