Monday, January 27, 2014

Disney Infinity

So because I like video games and Disney, I decided to get a hold of Disney Infinity back when it came out last summer. So you can call this my little review of sorts. Disney Infinity is a game for almost all platforms, it consists of individual worlds called playsets with short story-lines and a platforming/brawler type gameplay with light puzzle solving. The main hub of the game is called the "Toybox mode", where collectibles found in the playsets can be used to create custom stages to be played in by yourself or to be shared online. Personally I started out with the version for the Nintendo Wii, but quickly switched to the Wii U version once I got the machine. Why? Well yes at around $65 for the main game alone it might seem like a very poor decision economics wise however the Nintendo Wii version just does not live up to the steep price point. If I wanted any enjoyment out of the game, not to mention the additional characters I purchased, I would have to switch version. There are a bunch of notable differences between the Wii version and the other versions of the game, if you look away from the most obvious one (the lower quality of graphics and sound) you will quickly realize that the Wii version is one of the poorest ports of a game out there. Not only are certain sound effects condensed beyond recognition (The sound effect of a horse jumping in the Lone Ranger playset sounds like a bear growling), the worlds are significantly smaller, gameplay aspects have been removed from the games, the storylines are shorter and the Wii version does not support 2 player co-op outside of toybox mode. On top of that, the entire online portion of the game small as it may be has been removed as well for the sake of the port. Wii owners, unless you have children that wants the game and you just cannot afford another game system I strongly advice that you do not purchase this title. For the rest of you however, there are plenty of good times to be had. The artstyle of the game is streamlined and pleasant to look at, the voice acting is, decent, taking into account that it's impersonators and not the original actors in the roles. The story-lines are all entirely new and fits right into their respective established universes with some acceptance for plot-collision. 

The main draw of the game is of course, the characters. You play the game by purchasing plastic figures that you can place on top of a USB device. The individual figures are about $20 a piece, but also really well crafted considering the price. When not being used for playing, they make for nice decorations on the shelf. With the game comes three characters with their respective playsets. Mr. Incredible from Pixar's The Incredibles, Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean and James P. Sullivan from Monsters University. It should be noted that if you want two player co-op in the playsets you'll have to purchase matching characters. Disney has you covered with a "sidekick 3-pack" sold seperately for around $42. The pack consists of Hector Barbossa for the Pirates set, Mrs. Incredible for The Incredibles set and Mike Wazowski for the Monster set. With every character you'll also get a code you can redeem online for usage in an online game for PC and Smart devices. On top of that, you can also collect "power discs". You'll get one with your initial purchase of the game and then you can buy packs of three for about $10 each. These are like playing card value packs though, so you should expect to get doubles. The power discs either gives you character a boost during play or gives you items for use in stage customization in the toybox mode. There's really no reason to get the power discs outside of the realm of bragging rights though, do with that information as you wish.

When critics reviewed Disney Infinity back in summer, they had a habit of comparing it with the Activision Skylanders franchise - and while there's certainly noticeable similarities in the marketing and gameplay it should be noted that while Skylanders has an overarching storyarc for each game Disney infinity does not. Therefore, there's no "point" in Disney Infinity outside of casual fun. You're not saving the world or anything, and the game consistently reminds you of this by making everything resemble actions figures and toys. The in-game store for purchasing items for puzzle solving is called the "Toy store", the superhero headquarters opens up like a gigantic Mighty Max toy, the list goes on. These are "just" toys, however I still found a lot of enjoyment in the title. 

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