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First Impressions: Disney Infinity

Posted by Ron DelVillano

To Infinity and beyond

To be completely fair and totally honest, these are not our first impressions of Disney Infinity for the Wii U. Our first impressions came to mind long before we had a chance to play the game, and they were assuredly similar, if not identical, to most people’s thoughts. Our first impressions of Disney Infinity were something along the lines of “this is a brazen Skylanders clone,” and while it would be a lie to say that our initial assessment was completely off, now we’ve actually been able to see what this game can do.

To say that Disney Infinity is a big game would be a phenomenal understatement. Saying that it is one of the most expansive and far-reaching games that we have ever had the pleasure of experiencing still doesn’t quite capture the feeling, but it’s getting close.

At a glance, and then even after experiencing the core gameplay, it’s obvious that this title draws influence from the Skylanders series, but that’s akin to saying that any modern turn-based RPG draws influence from the Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior series. For those readers unfamiliar with what the hoopla is all about, Skylanders is a third-person adventure game that uses a peripheral “portal” device on which players can place physical character figures and then use those characters in the game. Disney Infinity follows the same formula, but all of its playable characters are from the expanded Disney universe, ranging from Monsters, Inc.’s Sulley to Tonto from Disney’s recent live-action venture The Lone Ranger. Sure, Skylanders may have come first, but Disney Infinity has taken the groundwork that it laid out and is building upon it in huge ways.

The core gameplay is a by-the-numbers action adventure that puts you in control of Disney characters in a variety of situations modeled after the company’s iconic properties. The game controls simply and smoothly, just as one might expect from this type of 3D platformer. Switching between characters is seamless and can be done easily by swapping out character figures on the Infinity Base while still in game. The character figures can be used with any version of the game regardless of console, so there’s no need to repurchase characters that you want to play on different consoles. There is also co-op play available for the campaign missions, assuming you have two character figures from the corresponding universe.

Beyond the campaign is Toy Box mode. This is where the game is really, truly something special. Those of you who played Toy Story 3 may remember the fantastic Toy Box mode in which players had creative control on who and what appeared around your customizable space. Disney Infinity builds off of that same model, expanding it in mammoth directions. Players now have full customization over their Toy Box, taking a page from the book of Minecraft. Not only are there more customization options in this new version, but you are now able to build upward and outward to great distances. Co-op is also available in this mode, allowing up to four online players to work with – or against – each other to build or destroy your personal universe.

Once you’ve crafted something in your Toy Box that you’d like to share, you can then upload it online and give the world access to your creation. But it doesn’t end there. Using a sprinkle of Disney magic, it has been made possible to share your creations cross-platform. In case you missed that, not only are you able to bring your figures with you and play as your favourite characters on a different console, but you can actually play in what is essentially your own sandbox on a PS3, Xbox 360, or PC hardware instead, assuming you’ve uploaded it online. Due to gameplay differences, this option is unfortunately missing from the 3DS version, but no matter what way you look at it, cross-platform user created DLC is still an incredible accomplishment.

Disney Infinity is a good looking game, but its cartoony art style doesn’t exactly lend itself to impressive visuals. The characters are all smoothly animated and look as thought they fit naturally in their environments – even when they’re out of their own universe – and the settings are vibrant and full of life. We did experience some dull environmental textures that looked far less than perfect, so we’re definitely hoping that these get smoothed out in time for the final release.

From our limited time with the game, it’s easy to tell that Disney Infinity is so much more than a Skylanders clone. There are obvious similarities between the two games, but this one goes off in a direction entirely its own, creating a clear difference between the two franchises that is absolutely worth exploring.

As a closing thought, it’s worth keeping in mind that Disney also owns Star Wars, Marvel, and ESPN. And while these franchises are not represented in Disney Infinity at this time, the hint of their future inclusion is always lingering.

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User Comments (47)

Beta

#1

Beta said:

I'm still a bit on the fence about this due to the price... BUT, if they do add Scrooge McDuck, Timon, Pumbaa, Mickey, Donald or Goofy, I'll throw money at the nearest retailer's doorstep! 8D

NintyMan

#3

NintyMan said:

I'm truly interested in this game. I can easily see myself spending hours on this. It looks like loads of fun, and seeing Wreck-It Ralph going through a created 2D level inspired by Mario just makes me like it more. The only thing holding me back is the large price tag for getting the starter pack and then the other pricy stuff to get when there's other games I want, but this has a good chance at being on my Christmas list anyway.

It's annoying how people keep harping about it being a rip-off of Skylanders on the Miiverse community. All it copies from that is the toy portals. Otherwise, it's more like Minecraft and Little Big Planet done Disney-style.

Right now, the only playset that interests me is the Monsters University one, and the Toy Box is where I would spend the bulk of the time. I'm only going to get my favorite characters. Overall, this game seems to be shaping up nicely.

Varia01

#5

Varia01 said:

Where are the Tron characters?!? The Lone Ranger is even coming, but there are complete absences of Tron characters...

Fun looking game btw, though it's not really anything I am looking forward to right now.

Captain_Gonru

#7

Captain_Gonru said:

@efaulk84 @Beta Given the target audience, it makes sense to lead with more recent characters. Mickey may be the lead mascot, but what movie has he been in lately? The show doesn't lend itself to a self-contained story mode in the same way that Cars or Toy Story does. As to other older movies, there may not be as many options as one would initially think. Sure, Peter Pan works, but does Cinderella or Snow White? How do you make a game about 101 Dalmatians? Robin Hood may have some sort of licensing issues. Now, Lion King and Alladin do seem like a given, and I would suspect we'll see them down the road. As to anything not available at launch, I guess owners will have to be neck-deep in DLC. Have fun with that.

DualWielding

#8

DualWielding said:

I love Disney but I don't really like the idea of having to buy toys in order to play a game.... can't believe people complain about selling on disc content as DLC but are willing to accept a game where all on disc content is locked unless you buy toys

ricklongo

#10

ricklongo said:

This looks like it had potential to attract me with a healthy dose of Disney nostalgia. The main probems are 1) the characters are on the newer side of the scale, so there goes nostalgia, and 2) I'd rather really not have to buy separate figures in order to unlock characters.

I believe it still has potential to be a huge success, of course, but I'm just not in the target demographic.

rjejr

#12

rjejr said:

"but all of its playable characters are from the expanded Disney universe,"

To continue on w/ what Captain Gonro (any relation to Ginyu?) started above - here's what I envision as very playable concepts (based on playing Lego licensed games mostly -

Dumbo - he can fly off the tops of buildings that have a black feather conveniently located on top (can also get drunk for psychedelic levels)
Thumper - he can jump higher than any other character
Jiminiy Cricket - small enough to crawl thru the cracks
Tinkerbell - she can fly
7 dwarves - work as a team like Pikmin
Baloo - he can sing and dance, who doesn't love dancing bears?

That's just off the top of my head. And I am waiting for next year when they release the sequel - Disney Infinity: The Classics. Though my kids really want to know why Mickey isn't in a game w/ Disney in the title. Kids.

And for the girls edition:
Teapot from Beatuy and the Beast, Crab from Little Mermaid, elephant from Tarzan, the parrot from Alladin and the dragon from Mulan.

I'm ok if they skip the Apple Dumpling Game and World's greatest Athlete but I woul dlike to play as a ball of flubber and drive Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

As for the game itself - I'm not interested in spending a lot more money on character toys now on offer (where's Maximillian from Black Hole?), but the Toy Box mode in Toy Story 3 was really fun (on the PS3, I think Wii had it cut) and the create mode in here looks great, so it might actually hurt them due to the resemblance w/ Skylanders b/c this does look like so much more.

Should have just made this "Pixar Infinity" though and called the sequel Disney.

Funbunz

#13

Funbunz said:

Pass. I don't care if it has more to do than Skylanders, I'm not buying any game that requires buying stupid plastic crap that my kids will misplace. I already spend the first 5 minutes of a gaming session looking for remotes, controllers, and the game I want. Not adding a plastic toy to the mix. Also, Disney sucks. I'm pretty tired of them and all their repackaging of old characters and movies.

Dpullam

#15

Dpullam said:

This game looks like it has some serious potential. I'll certainly be keeping my eyes on this one.

SkywardCrowbar

#16

SkywardCrowbar said:

Looks very interesting, but after the Epic Mickey games, I don't trust Disney titles. I'll wait until I see the reviews.

fortius54

#17

fortius54 said:

I have been back and forth on this title. When it first came out, I was all in. Then, I heard that the gameplay portion of the adventures ranged from 8 to ten hours, and that seemed a little short to me with the price tag attached. I mean the extra play sets are $40 a piece. Then, I watched Toy Box Mode, and it put me back on the train.

If Toy Box Mode does what it says it can do, this will be a great game. I can just see people spending hours upon hours on this. Now that you can upload you content to the cloud and download other peoples, the adventure piece seems like an aside.

As for the playsets, I, too, would like to see more nostalgic characters, but I understand who the game is aimed for. It makes sense for them to start with the newer groups. However, as much as I really do not care for the Cars playset, you have to have it to get the Toy Box pieces. Curse them for being so dang smart.

MrWalkieTalkie

#18

MrWalkieTalkie said:

I really wan to get this game but it's price is the biggest issue. And btw there will be a Mickey figurine later like in November supposedly.

MadAdam81

#19

MadAdam81 said:

@efaulk84 Nightmare before Christmas and Toy Story. Pirates of the Caribbean & The Lone Ranger are based on stuff from before 2000 as well, but that's just being pedantic.

Got this preordered, and I really like the cross-platform community content, which means the Wii U is the best platform for it.
As far as the costs of the sets, shopping around & sharing with friends can really bring down the costs. I've already saved quite a bit by getting a good deal on the preorder, but I have no idea if anyone I know is also getting it.

hydeks

#20

hydeks said:

I'm actually more excited for this than Skylanders Swap Force, it just looks like it has so much more than Skylanders offers. I'll wait for a review, because I have Skylander figurines I would like to still use for the new game, if possible :P

$74.99 isn't that bad for this game, considering Swap Force is $79.99. But once you start buying figures, it really starts adding up :P If you live in NA and have GameStop, if you pre-order Infinity, you get a free figure of your choice and a power disc pack, so you save $18 or so.

Kirk

#21

Kirk said:

It's so frustrating that I had this idea using Nintendo's franchises and characters before even the Wii launched. Before it was even fully revealed actually. I also suggested it be built directly into the system on day one so that every single Wii owner could use it to make a variety of different content that could be shared across the community with other Wii users. In fact I suggested an entire creation suite* where users could make art, animations, music, games and more and share it with the world.

Additionally, when it didn't happen on the Wii I suggested the Wii U would be perfect for it with it's touch screen controller, for creating art and textures for example, and the integrated Miiverse etc.

I even had an idea for a game with a little Island where all this content could exist on, where you could have franchise crossover and for example you could have F-Zero racers racing around on it or Pokemon characters catching Pokemon on it etc. You would also be able to import different characters and models from current and future games to keep expanding what was possible in the game. It would additional be massive multi-player, where each player had their own island, and people could create their own game types and travel to other people's Island to play on them or take stuff with them etc.

However, I am a nobody, so why would anyone listen to me...despite me being around ten years ahead of the curve...

*I actually came up with the beginning of this idea somewhere around the time of the N64-GC. Which ironically came from the idea of Nintendo's own creation suite concept on N64 DD that had showed so much potential but never quite delivered on it. Somehow however Nintendo didn't actually think of this idea for either the Wii or Wii U which I just find bewildering. Despite having the whole Mii idea which is basically an offshoot of this original concept.

XFsWorld

#22

XFsWorld said:

I will get this because it has the Incredibles in it :D, but not day one, eventually

ACK

#24

ACK said:

No interest in these Disney franchises. Give us the Walt Disney classics, though, and I'll be in trouble. Also, the figures are generic and unappealing.

Capt_N

#25

Capt_N said:

This looks, & sounds good, up until the figurines. But, I may actually get this. I will be following this, though. The cross-plat(or platform if you prefer) play is awesome, though, & more games need to do this.

TheXboxHero

#26

TheXboxHero said:

Not getting it. It'll be a money grabber like Skylanders and I have better things to do with my moolah. :3

IxnayontheCK

#27

IxnayontheCK said:

I'm just not digging the characters i've seen so far. Wheres my 90's disney? Wheres the classics?

Davidiam007

#30

Davidiam007 said:

I'm a grown man and I collect action figures. So I'm down with it.

...

THEY'RE NOT DOLLS!!!!

Tobias95

#34

Tobias95 said:

I will get it if they use more known characters.
They used Phineas and Ferb?
They should use characters like
Scrooge
Pete
Launchpad
Mickey
Goofy
Darkwing Duck
Gizmoduck/fenton
Donald Duck
Miss Beakly
Ducksworth
Max
Baloo
Don kanarzh
Louie

And some Gummiebears
Maybe characters from Winnie the Phoo?
Christopher Robin and his imagination could be realy powerfull

Or characters from movies like Song of the south, Bedknobs and broomsticks, Marry poppins even condorman would be cool

unrandomsam

#36

unrandomsam said:

Saying that cartoony stuff will never look visual impressive seems a strange thing to say especially when it comes to Disney. Even the very first multiplane camera films are still impressive to this day.

That sense of depth is one of the few graphical effects I am interested in. (I really like stuff like parallax with loads of layers - still think stuff like Astal looks impressive today.)

fluggy

#37

fluggy said:

This looks like bollock awful trash. Aimed at kids and easily duped parents who don't read reviews this is a cynical, sinister example of Disney at their worst. . . Adult gamers have no need for this crap. I buy a game, I complete a game and I'm satisfied. I stopped collecting figures when I was 10 ... I certainly have no need to start again ... especially for crazy amounts of cash. Predicting 60-70% reviews... But people will probably shell out anyway.

Tobias95

#38

Tobias95 said:

What about famous movies like The shaggy dog or Pollyanna?
Well I do live in Norway so i migth not know about more movies then an average American.
Lilo and Stitch would be nice too, what about Yzma or Kuzco?
A smal reference to the original Mickey Mous club would be cool

HeatBombastic

#39

HeatBombastic said:

@Yeah, buddy sure. And I came up with a Nintendo fighting game, a game where Mario and Sonic compete in sports, a Link to the Past sequel, yadda yadda yadda.

Having an idea before someone else, and even if you keep shouting it out to other people hardly matters unless you execute that idea first. If you can't execute it fast or good enough, then patent it, if possible. If you can't do that, and if someone else comes up with the same idea, so what? It's not like anything frustrating comes out of that.

Captain_Gonru

#40

Captain_Gonru said:

@Jukilum I was thinking in terms of the fact that there was a movie made by not Disney just a few years ago. I'm sure Disney has the legal standing (or, failing that, the cash) to make it work. And, in general, I was brainstorming ideas for why older franchises wouldn't work as well.

unrandomsam

#41

unrandomsam said:

@fluggy Reading reviews is not a great help. The average is 70% across metacritic. If the average was 40% it might be easier to find the good stuff. As it stands the stuff some people find too difficult ends up mixed in with the total junk. Famitsu scores seem to be quite good but unfortunately they don't have an international edition.

NintyMan

#42

NintyMan said:

According to Disney Infinity Wiki, nearly all the sports items in the game are ESPN branded, and there are items from the Muppets. I wouldn't rule out Star Wars and Marvel to get some representation later on.

TheXboxHero

#43

TheXboxHero said:

@Rumbler I don't need a makeover. Just because I have a Disney character as my profile picture, doesn't mean Im a hardcore fan that must like everything. I don't need to be interested.

unrandomsam

#44

unrandomsam said:

I think I will try the Castle of Illusion remake. (Quite liked it as a kid if it is £15 or less). I quite liked Quackshot and World of Illusion as well. (Less bothered for the lucky dime caper).

KAHN

#46

KAHN said:

yeah, no. not getting this. 'tis a money grabber. imagine if nintendo did this with pokemon "gotta BUY 'em all!" no. this feels like the exact same thing. skylanders wasn't worth my time, neither is this.

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