Disney Infinity 3.0 was one of 2015’s biggest surprises, offering the most fun representation of Star Wars since Traveller’s Tales’ first two LEGO games. Battlefront gets all the credit, but with its three Star Wars playsets, including Rise Against the Empire’s retelling of the original movies, Disney Infinity 3.0 appeals to fans’ nostalgia and a more family friendly audience – an audience often forgotten in today’s market.
With The Force Awakens expected to be the biggest movie release in cinema history, it made perfect sense to release a playset for Disney’s “Toys to Life” franchise. This new playset offers two figures from the new movie, Rey and Finn, and a whole new series of story missions that explore their adventure.
The new figures are of the same high quality we’ve come to expect from the Infinity franchise, from the detail on Finn’s jacket to the folds in the billowing fabric of Rey’s outfit, both starter figures are gorgeous. Rey’s gameplay style focuses more on the melee side of combat, her staff giving her great reach especially once certain moves are unlocked. Finn, being an ex-Stormtrooper, unsurprisingly focuses on ranged combat, with his blaster rifle offering an increased rate of fire over Rey’s one-handed blaster. Swapping characters on the Disney Infinity Base however, often still results in a lengthy wait before they materialise in the game world. This is especially frustrating when you reach optional doors that can only be opened by certain figure types.
Let’s get this out-of-the-way now: there are some minor movie spoilers within the playset’s story. That being said, it’s intelligent enough that it bypasses the major moments without distracting from the general story arc. Perhaps expectedly, given that The Force Awakens only covers one movie rather than three as with Rise Against the Empire, this playset is fairly short. The story can be completed in just a few hours, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on content. There are two new planets to explore, each with a huge number of missions and collectibles within them, including tokens that unlock the ability to use all the existing Star Wars figures in The Force Awakens. Above each planet is an open space section, highlighting the excellent flight system of Disney Infinity 3.0. These also offer their own optional missions and even a moon in each system that you can land on, offering yet more missions and collectibles.
Other collectibles hidden throughout the playset are the new minigame tokens that unlock holo-console games. These are all top-down shooters in which you control an X-Wing or TIE Fighter and have to survive against waves of enemy fighters, with the aim of beating scores for bronze, silver and gold medals that earn extra XP for your chosen character. It’s a nice extra and is a genuinely fun distraction in a game already filled with them. Many of the extra distractions in the story mode do come in the form of fetch quests however, but some require heading off-world to take out a squadron of TIE Fighters or battle Stormtroopers on a nearby moon.
Outside of the main story, The Force Awakens unlocks many new items for the Toy Box game mode. These range from wall adornments such as Rey and Finn posters, to new characters and critters to populate your created worlds or even your INterior. It’s only a matter of time before new user-created levels appear, exploring fan theories and creating an unofficial expanded universe of stories branching from Rey and Finn’s adventures. Downloading levels can still be a buggy and unstable process, and The Force Awakens’ playset brings its own set of problems to the table. Early in the Jakku stage, a main quest-giver disappeared and even rebooting the game didn’t make him reappear. It was blind luck that caused the quest’s cut-scene to suddenly begin. Don’t be surprised if the playset crashes a few times, at least in the Xbox One build, or if sound cuts out from time to time (usually at the beginning of cut-scenes or once a level loads), though those are mercifully minor issues. It’s a bit of a shame considering the quality of the rest of the game as a whole.
New players are catered for in this playset, with tutorials explaining all the base game’s mechanics as and when they’re introduced in The Force Awakens. These appear to be unskippable for returning players, which can be a bit frustrating, but as the game is fairly simple as it is, these tutorials don’t appear too often.
Disney Infinity 3.0 is itself the definition of ‘third time’s the charm’, easily being the best in the series, and although this third Star Wars playset isn’t the best (that award goes to Rise Against the Empire) it does a wonderful job of recreating scenes from the new film. It tells the basic story without revealing major spoilers, wisely omitting some of the major characters entirely, and although the final boss is a bit of a damp squib, it doesn’t detract from how well the licence is used. Battlefront may well be the darling of the new Star Wars gaming universe, but Disney Infinity 3.0 and its new playset are putting the fun back into it.
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