Dis­ney In­fin­ity 3.0

An­droid, 360, iOS, PC, PS3 PS4, Xbox One, Wii U

EDGE - - GAMES - Pub­lisher Dis­ney In­ter­ac­tive Stu­dios Devel­oper Avalanche Soft­ware For­mat 360, An­droid, iOS, PC, PS3, PS4 (ver­sion tested), Xbox One, Wii U Re­lease Out now

Don’t judge Dis­ney In­fin­ity 3.0 by its open­ing. While ex­citable nar­ra­tion won­ders at the bound­less imag­i­na­tion that will fol­low, you ham­mer a but­ton to kill droids as Anakin Sky­walker, be­fore be­com­ing In­side Out’s Joy to do some light plat­form­ing. It all paints a pic­ture of a very bounded imag­i­na­tion in­deed, hemmed in by prom­ises it won’t keep; you don’t, for in­stance, get any In­side Out con­tent un­less you buy its Play Set sep­a­rately. Bet­ter not to judge In­fin­ity 3.0 by the Play Set that does come with the new Starter Pack, ei­ther. Twi­light Of The Re­pub­lic is a brief med­ley of se­quences from Star Wars Episodes I and II that’s light on depth, and fea­tures Jar Jar Binks.

A bet­ter mea­sure of the In­fin­ity plat­form is the in­cred­i­ble wealth and flex­i­bil­ity of its Toy Box. This open sand­box has grown into a set of as­sets and tools that sup­port a stag­ger­ing breadth of play, from sim­ply spawn­ing mobs of en­e­mies and then killing them all to build­ing in­tri­cate games of your very own, sup­ported with scoreboards and sto­ries and any­thing else you can think up. That you can do it all alone or with oth­ers, in splitscreen or online, is the soul be­hind it all.

So it’s a shame the Star Wars el­e­ment lacks much game­play iden­tity of its own, de­spite look­ing good and cov­er­ing plenty of ground. There’s a duel with Gen­eral Griev­ous, pod rac­ing, Star Fox- style space dog­fight­ing, and Ta­tooine and Cor­us­cant to ex­plore. The story patches these out-of-se­quence scenes to­gether as best it can, aware that while you’re prob­a­bly play­ing with the Starter Pack’s char­ac­ters, Anakin Sky­walker and Ah­soka Tano, you could equally be play­ing as Yoda, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Chewie or any of the other Star Wars fig­ures. The re­sult is a breezy rush of the great­est hits of things you’ve played be­fore, par­tic­u­larly in Lego Star Wars.

Com­bat is much im­proved on pre­vi­ous In­fin­ity out­ings, how­ever. Anakin and Ah­soka en­joy rea­son­ably rich movesets, cour­tesy of Ninja The­ory – My First Devil May Cry, if you like. Hold­ing at­tack in­vokes a block-break­ing launcher, and once you’ve delved into the skill trees, Anakin can jug­gle the en­emy for longer with care­fully timed in­puts, while Ah­soka can add a flurry of ex­tra at­tacks to the dash move that she and her master share. Var­ied en­emy types pro­vide rea­son to tap into the reaches of your cho­sen char­ac­ter’s skillset. Grunts may bear shields ready to be pulled from their grasp with the Force, tanks can deal area dam­age, and some foes spe­cialise in coun­ters. Anakin and Ah­soka can also tra­verse the lev­els with ease, us­ing Force jump and their dash to leap over great gaps and build­ings.

Twi­light Of The Re­pub­lic doesn’t give them an aw­ful lot to do as they bounce across its hub plan­ets, though. Geono­sis and Na­boo are en­closed, while Cor­us­cant and Ta­tooine of­fer more open ex­plo­ration by both air- and land­speeder, even if your ac­tions are padded with fetch quests. Still, by the ad­ven­ture’s end you’ll have a well-lev­elled char­ac­ter ready for the rest of the game, which makes the starter Play Set look tiny.

The se­ries’ Toy Box was al­ways rather daunt­ing, so new in In­fin­ity 3.0 is the Toy Box Hub, an ef­fort to bet­ter in­tro­duce its com­plex­i­ties. There is a cer­tain irony in Avalanche adding another mode and menu en­try in a se­ries al­ready plagued by them, but it’s per­haps a nec­es­sary evil, since there is so much to learn.

The Hub is di­vided into themed sec­tors ra­di­at­ing out from its cen­tre. There’s one de­voted to rac­ing, and one to com­bat; some char­ac­ters of­fer short tu­to­ri­als, while oth­ers give ac­cess to op­tions also found in the menus. There’s a sec­tor de­voted to side­kicks, which were in­tro­duced in 2.0 and aid in com­bat. They can now be equipped with gear and fed food that boosts their at­tributes. You get food by hav­ing the side­kick es­tab­lish a farm, though you’ll need to de­stroy weeds and Sparkre­leas­ing plants to free space for toma­toes and corn. The Hub is con­fus­ing, then, and you can’t place ob­jects in it, so much of what it teaches you can’t im­me­di­ately put into prac­tice. But, busy with ac­tion and things of in­ter­est, and ex­pand­ing with at­trac­tions as you do more in it, it’s a fine in­tro­duc­tion to In­fin­ity’s real value, and a great source of last­ing en­ter­tain­ment in it­self, es­pe­cially when played with oth­ers.

Many tu­to­ri­als in­volve play­ing a pre­built Toy Box level – the same tools and as­sets to which you have ac­cess. As­sets are bought with Sparks, though if you played the orig­i­nal game or 2.0 on the same Dis­ney ac­count, yours will be un­locked for you. What’s here is largely the same set as avail­able in 2.0, but the sheer range is still be­wil­der­ing, de­spite be­ing grouped into cat­e­gories such as ter­rain, build­ings, dec­o­ra­tions, toys and game maker. The lat­ter ob­jects are the core of it all, of­fer­ing the chance to take fine con­trol of game logic.

The place­ment tools are much the same, too, which is to say it’s easy to lay things down and get play­ing im­me­di­ately, but fid­dly once lay­outs get com­pli­cated. And the tu­to­ri­als only go so far in ex­plain­ing the cre­ation side, which is ex­traor­di­nar­ily deep. Game tem­plates help a lot, of­fer­ing ready-built sets of as­sets as­sem­bled into a huge se­lec­tion of game­types, such as team bat­tles or pin­ball, wait­ing to be edited at will. The sys­tem is im­mensely flex­i­ble. It didn’t take long to build Rocket League, for in­stance, though our ver­sion mostly served as an il­lus­tra­tion of the im­por­tance of ball physics and car han­dling to that game’s suc­cess.

In­fin­ity 3.0 of­fers a rich play­ground, but whether it’s worth up­grad­ing to comes down to how much you value the com­ing Play Sets. Oth­er­wise this is a set of in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments, most no­tably in the com­bat and the Toy Box Hub. In­fin­ity 3.0 is the best of the se­ries yet, and has in­cred­i­ble po­ten­tial, it’s just that it’s up to you what you’ll make of it.

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