Platform: PlayStation 4
Review Date: 8/25/16
"Disney Infinity" is Disney's attempt to cash in on the "toys to life" model that made "Skylanders" so popular. Unfortunately, it proved too costly in the end, and all support for the series was cancelled after only a couple of years. This is a hard pill to swallow because apart from the XBox and PlayStation versions, the game is rendered unplayable without server support. Version 3.0 focuses on Disney's acquisition of the "Star Wars" franchise and comes with the "Twilight Of The Republic" playset, which features figures for Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker. The main "lobby" of the game is the Toy Box Hub, which offers doorways to various different play modes. The hub grows the more you play and is a delightful mash-up of "Star Wars", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", and various other Disney properties. You enter the game world by placing a figure on the specialized gamepad, and they appear on the screen as your player character. The figures themselves are superbly crafted and look absolutely stunning. Admittedly, the only reason I picked up the game was because the Princess Leia figure is so gorgeous. Overall, the game is a frustrating mix of elation and disappointment, and the open-ended aspect of the toy box is suffocating and cumbersome.
Toy Box Hub
My initial response to the Toy Box Hub was sheer awe, because the sky and music were from "Tron: Legacy." Shortly thereafter, the sky and music turned into "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and an Ewok village appeared in a corner of the world. This was extremely magical. Unfortunately, after a sky selector showed up in the hub, those skies disappeared forever, which was extremely disappointing. Both of them can be purchased as add-on power discs, but they can't actually be applied to the hub, which is even more annoying (and ended up being a useless $30 purchase). I kept hoping they would show up in the toy store after continued play, but so far it hasn't happened. Outside of that, the most magical moment was when a Star Destroyer attacked the hub and I had to jump in an X-Wing fighter (as Princess Jasmine, no less) to take out a group of TIE fighters. Another fun "Star Wars" moment happened when Jabba's palace showed up in the hub, but you can't actually interact with it (or at least, I haven't figured out how, and there are no hints online). You can throw a sidekick into a side door and press a button on the main door, but you can't actually enter the building, which is frustrating. The biggest frustration in the hub is that you can't summon or use any of the toys that you purchase at the toy store. They can only be used in the toy box, which is a sandbox construction area that's extremely tedious, frustrating, and time consuming. The other big annoyance about the hub is that you're constantly under attack by enemies and the game frequently crashes (especially when using v2.0 figures).
"Twilight Of The Republic"
Taking advantage of "The Clone Wars" setting, the Jedi Council investigates new droid activity on Geonosis, which leads to confrontations with General Grievous and Darth Maul. Coruscant is delightful, but it's really easy to get lost and the map isn't particularly helpful. Bounce platforms are really cool and allow you to traverse long distances with ease. Vehicles are fun to drive, but aerial combat is often difficult. Unfortunately, the game is way too chatty, and you're constantly being told what to do. This is supremely annoying when you reach Naboo at the end of the game and Jar Jar Binks is your host. I somehow managed to forget how incredibly offensive he is. Overall, it's a fun experience and there are lots of side missions to tackle if you're so inclined. Hunting mynocks proved to be the most satisfying thing for me, and they're scattered throughout the game.
"Rise Of The Empire"
This playset re-imagines the events in the original "Star Wars" trilogy and comes with Luke and Leia figures. Leia was the obvious choice for me, and she has the added ability of having mynock radar, which makes hunting mynocks even more satisfying. Unfortunately, the re-imagined story is unspeakably horrible and the dialog is cringe-worthy. Leia's self-righteous quips are awful and annoying, and the voice actors for Luke and Lando are simply deplorable. The Tatooine and Hoth environments are a lot of fun and flying a Snowspeeder is a blast. The most amusing thing I encountered was when I saw Jar Jar frozen in carbonite and hung on a wall in Jabba's palace. The Endor and Death Star II missions are surprisingly difficult, and caused a lot of frustration because the objectives weren't always clear. And the pronunciation of "AT-AT" as "ay-tee-ay-tee" REALLY annoyed me.
"The Force Awakens"
This playset includes figures for Rey and Finn, and is an alternate telling of the movie that radically diverges from the source material. Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Adam Driver provide new dialog for the game, which lends it a sense of authenticity. Unfortunately, Rey's audio levels aren't balanced very well, and the volume is inconsistent. Another annoyance is that Rey is constantly talking to BB-8, who is nowhere to be found. It's extremely unsettling, and makes you wonder if Rey has lost her mind, or if she just likes talking to herself and pretending that there's a droid following her. This is a huge flaw in the game design. They should have either gotten rid of the dialog, or included BB-8 as a companion. Planetoid missions are brutally difficult and not worth wasting effort on, and the final showdown with Kylo Ren proved to be overly frustrating.