Since Disney and Marvel merged, it was a no brainer to see everyone’s favourite heroes and villains of the Marvel world in physical form and taking over the wondrous possibilities brought on with the fantastic Disney Infinity which was released last year. Not quite a sequel, Disney infinity 2.0 is more of an expansion of the original release with its sole focus on the Marvel universe. Disney Infinity is better known for its collectable statues and its well-known Toy Box mode which let children create anything their hearts desired using any item or environment piece they unlocked by playing through the story mode. Developed by Avalanche Software, Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes capitalizes on its predecessor by promising bigger worlds, a better campaign to play through and more figures to collect.
The Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes starter pack contains the game itself and the backwards compatible portal which isn’t the case with old gen to new gen consoles. The starter pack also contains the Avengers play set piece which is the Avengers tower which Marvel fans will know used to be Tony Starks abode. Three figures are also included in the forms of Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow which are more than enough to play through the Avengers story. The figures themselves are beautifully crafted, each hero with their own pose which reflects their personalities perfectly. Other figures are available at an extra cost and at present only two other play sets are available, Amazing Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. The Avengers play set puts you in control of the Avengers (or Iron Man, Thor or Black Widow) to try and put a stop to Loki and M.O.D.O.K. who plan to rebuild the Casket of Ancient Winters with the aid of the Frost Giants. The Frost Giants are menacing foes who can freeze anything and as the story progresses; more of New York City is frozen. This original story is nicely written but not very well executed in the playable missions on offer. Even though the cut scenes, which feature all of the Avengers whether you own them or not, are nicely animated and brilliantly voice, acted, once it gets back to game-play, its mission variety takes away the importance of the task at hand.
The basis of the game-play is open world exploration albeit a few missions which take place indoors and in the air. A fully recreated Disney-fied version of New York City is fully explorable from the start and as Iron Man or Thor; you’re free to fly around it at your leisure. Exploring is encouraged by finding collectables in the form of Crossover coins which, once collected them all, allow that particular hero to play in the Avengers play set whereas you wouldn’t normally be allowed to use, say, Rocket Racoon in the Avengers play set. As the story progresses and more missions are completed, side tasks such as races and obstacle courses are unlocked to take part in. Completing these as well as story missions gains your character experience. Experience levels up your character which in turn allows you to earn skill points which is used to unlock more powers via the new Skill tree. Special moves, better mobility, health, and more attacks can be obtained this way. My complaints start at the mission variety in the story which spans all of the play sets. Quest giving NPC’s in the form of other heroes often task you with “Go there, fight them” and escort missions. There’s no real interesting mechanics involved with the missions. There are some interesting ones included like a rail shooting flight mission but they are far and few between and don’t do a great deal in livening up the action. At the beginning, you’re heroes won’t have a great deal of attacks therefore battles can be quite challenging however once levelled up, the Frost Giants will be no match for you. Each character has a standard attack which can be button mashed to form a combo. They can also block, dodge and once unlocked, unleash a special manoeuvre which look quite spectacular and are utterly satisfying when surrounded.
Once the play set story has been completed or even if you fancy a break, the famed Toy Box mode is on offer to release that creativity you have locked in your brain. You choose a black canvas which is your environment, after which you’re free to build anything you want whether it be a race track, castle, forest or even your own New York City, the possibilities really are endless. If you’re feeling lazy, you can employ auto creators to build to their hearts content allowing you to either get on with your own project or try out anything that they build. More items can be unlocked using the Store and templates can be chosen if required. Templates range from side view battle arenas (a la Super Smash Bros) to race tracks, to obstacle courses; they are an excellent starting point. It’s easy to compare Toy Box mode to Minecraft due to the endless possibilities but no crafting is needed here. Everything you need is available from the start, you can even go online to share your creations or experience other players’. Also included in the starter pack are two Toy Box game discs which are like the collectable Power Discs but hold customisable Toy Box games. One is a Tower Defence game requiring you to take out waves of enemies whilst defending your tower and one is a dungeon crawler. It’s easy to see that there’s a lot of bang here for your buck.
Visuals are Disney through and through; the heroes have a cartoon like appearance but portray their personalities to the tee. The game world however, is bland and lifeless. New York seems like a lonely sparse world and even though you’re free to roam, there’s not a lot of reason to do so as there’s nothing exciting to see apart from the Avengers tower itself. Flying into buildings takes some of the building away but it magically grows back. It’s an impressive sized world but with very little to do in it, it ruins any reason to stay immersed. Enemies are stereotyped, grunts, swarming types and the larger tough types dominate each mission which climaxes with a huge boss each of which are brilliantly menacing and formidable for a Disney game.
Disney Infinity 2.0 is larger and better but also emptier. The Play set mode is dominated by mundane repetitive missions but the Toy Box mode more than makes up for it. The figures are beautifully crafted and their onscreen counterparts can be levelled up to unlock better abilities. Offline split screen is available too which is great fun but outside of missions, it’s just wandering without a cause.
Story - 3/5
Graphics - 5/5
Game-play - 3/5
Overall - 3/5
Version reviewed - PS4