E3: Disney Infinity First Impressions

Source:   Spencer Perry
June 12, 2013

Disney has built one of the largest entertainment empires in the history of the world. They control the most popular characters and franchises that are still beloved today as they were decades ago. Which makes us wonder why a game like this hasn't been done already. Disney Infinity offers players a unique experience wherein they can mix and match all of their favorite characters, items, and abilities from various Disney properties.

The game is set up in a fashion similar to the very popular “Skylanders” series. In addition to the controller that the player uses, they also have an “Infinity base” at their disposal. Using this base, players can take the miniature figures of Disney characters, place them on the illuminated circle and take control of them as they appear on the screen in front of them. 17 different character figures will be available for the game at launch, including The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Captain Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, Captain Barbossa, Mr. Incredible, Dash, Syndrome, Mike Wazowski, Sully, Randall, and Cars 2's Lightning McQueen, Mater, Holley Shiftwell and Francesco Bernoulli.

Disney Infinity's gameplay is divided into two very unique modes. The first is titled “play sets” which were described to me as being “true” to the continuity of the various films. Five play sets will launch with the game, three of which are included when you purchase it. These play sets include: Monsters University, Cars, The Lone Ranger, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Incredibles. The only downside to each of these playsets is that only characters that appeared in those films can be playable during those campaigns, which is what makes the next gameplay mode all the more exciting.

The second primary mode in Disney Infinity is simply called “Toy Box.” Using Toy Box, up to four players can simultaneously customize and build their own worlds, levels, and games using all of the materials within Disney Infinity. Furthermore, the game allows complete player control over the characters they play as, who and what objects they interact with, and what the rules of the games are (should they decide to have rules).

Disney Infinity also offers you the chance to upgrade the character you're playing by giving them the abilities and items from various other Disney characters. A few examples of potential modifications are Stitch's blaster from Lilo & Stitch, Mickey's Jalopy, and increased power from "Fix Felix Jr." These modifications will be round tokens and up to two can be used on any one character at a time. They can even be combined in a way to offer an additional power-up to characters.

Players will also get the chance to change their surroundings based on other Disney properties, and they can even be mixed and matched. You might want a sky pattern from Wreck-It Ralph's “Sugar Rush” and a floor pattern from Finding Nemo, or maybe a sky from Tangled and a terrain from Alice in Wonderland. These cosmetic “Power discs” will be hexagonal, with only one available per Infinity Base. Power Discs will be sold in random grab bags of two (one circular and one hexagonal) for $4.99.

The only sort of amalgamation we can think of for Disney Infinity is that it's one part Skylanders, one part Minecraft, another part Little Big Planet and just a pinch of the LEGO games. It remains to be seen how much replay value the game will maintain throughout its initial launch, but it certainly appears that the majority of the fun players will have with it is in the Toy Box with their friends. Also, we know what you're thinking, about THOSE characters appearing in the game. When I spoke with one of the developers of Disney Infinity, he didn't outright confirm plans to include Marvel and Star Wars expansions in the future but did say the development teams were dying to get their hands on them. So, yes, there's hope that you'll be able to play as Mickey with Iron Man repulsors and a lightsaber.

Disney Infinity will be available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and PC on August 18. You can check out the E3 gameplay trailer below.

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