Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes Impressions

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disney-infinity-2-0-collectors-edition-boxart-01 Disney Infinity is one of those gaming sensations that seems to just keep getting bigger and bigger. Its wide-appeal means that it is a great target for kids, adults (kids at heart), as well as hard core gamers and collectors. With the impending release of Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes, I was lucky enough to step into the Disney Offices and get a guided tour of the new game with developer John Day, where he showed me a whole bunch of its features, some Play Sets, the new and improved Toy Box and of course the figures themselves. I learned a lot and I thought “Well hey, better share this great news with the world!” So without further adieu, lets talk about Disney Infinity!


 THE FIGURES

The first thing I wanted to talk about was how great the figures all look. The guys over at Avalanche have done an incredible job to take the look of these world renowned comic and film characters and make them fit the aesthetic of the Disney Infinity franchise without losing any of their charm or uniqueness.

Every character has their signature look, be it Iron Man’s armor, Hulk’s bulging muscles, Nick Fury’s bald/eyepatch look or Rocket Raccoon’s jump suit and blasters, but they all fit in well with one another both on your display stand and in-game.

One thing I did notice was that with the fact that most of the currently announced characters are human this time around, the figures all look a lot more uniform. While they are all in different poses, and have different body shapes and sizes, standing them next to one another makes them all feel like they are part of one big team. While everything still keeps the standard Disney Infinity art style of the original, you can really tell the difference between the DI1 humans (like Jack Sparrow, or The Lone Ranger) and the DI2 humans like Star-Lord and Captain America. This is only true for the Marvel heroes however, and the figures for the Disney Originals all seemed to look more like the characters from the first game.

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The way that the figures are built has changed a bit too. The first figures often had thin legs (or other appendages) that just barely connected them to their base. While this was fine for some older players, young’uns who handle their figures a lot could often find them breaking off of their base. Well now there are more connection points. Not only that but the figures and their bases are now made from a softer plastic which means they shouldn’t snap.

Disney Infinity 2.0 also brings a change to how the characters act in-game. If you have been following along with the Disney Infinity news then you will know that the game now has skill trees for each character. Each figure can be leveled up to Level 20 and you can pick and choose from a wide selection of skills and abilities to really customise your character the way you want. I was informed that skill selection is semi-permanent, with only a few options available for you to respect your character (the most readily available of which is to reset your character back to level 0 and start again). So there is a sense of importance to how you choose to outfit your characters. Just from looking at the wide array of skills available to characters, it almost feels like the skill trees in Disney Infinity are bigger than some MMOs, which is a feat unto itself.

Old characters will also have access to a skill tree, although it isn’t as robust as the new figures. It is a tad disappointing to see the older characters not getting the same amount of love, but the fact that they are getting skill trees at all is incredible.

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THE POWER DISCS

Disney Infinity 2.0 currently has 80 Power Discs announced (40 Marvel-themed discs, and a further 40 Disney discs). The team have listened to the comments and criticisms of the players and revamped the Power Disc system. While you will still have Power Discs similar to the original game (ones that change the look of your environment, give a small skill buff or make an in-game weapon or vehicle appear) there are new types of discs. The new discs allow for costume changes, team-ups, pre-built games and even a S.H.I.E.L.D. Air Strike.

Costume Changes do exactly what you think they would; change the costume your character wears. Some characters have alternate costumes available to them in-game. Spider-Man is a great example of this as his costume allows him to don the famous black suit (it is up to you to pretend if it is the Symbiote itself or just the black suit he wore in the Back in Black story arc) as well as a small skill buff.

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Team-Ups are some of the most powerful discs created and they allow you to summon an NPC fighter that basically acts as a second player. The cooldown time for activating this disc is massive because when you have another NPC in the game (like White Tiger) you are basically indestructible.

The last in the newest set of Discs actually have games pre-built onto them. They are a new blue colour and when placed on the Infinity Base will allow you to play through a game at your own leisure. These contain game-types like Tower Defence or Dungeon Crawler (that can be set to unlimited, randomly generated stages).

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THE PLAY SETS

The game currently has three announced Play Sets; The Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. Each of the three Play Sets plays very differently to one another. Each Play Set is designed to make use of the abilities of the characters that come included, and will each offer around 4 hours of play time. I got to try out the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man play sets (with more time spent on the former).

One thing that can be said about the Play Sets is that they are all HUGE. I mean… really big. In the Spider-Man Play Set, the whole of Manhatten is your play ground, while as in the Guardians you get to go all throughout Knowhere, and even onto Ronan’s ship: The Dark Aster.

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Not only that, but there are certain characters that can cross-over between the Play Sets. Throughout the Play Sets themselves are “Cross Over Tokens.” Each Cross Over Character has 10 tokens scattered through the world and once you find all 10, you can then drop down the figure for that character and have them enter the world. I was told that Iron Man can go between all three Play Sets, while Nova can join up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk can help out Spidey and his pals, and Rocket Raccoon can leap into the Avengers set.

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THE TOY BOX

This is probably where the most change has been done. There have been a lot of improvements to the Toy Box at both a technical and a user level. Firstly, optimisations and the next generation hardware mean that the game is now a whole lot smoother, with little to no frame rate issues. Not only that but the worlds you can create are now TONNES larger, and you can fill them with just an insane amount of objects and creative-toys. Not only that, but you have the ability to link multiple Toy Boxes together to create even larger maps.

One of the problems that many people had with the original Toy Box was how finicky it was to design some things. Originally if you wanted to build a castle, you had to use individual pieces and hope you put them in the correct spot. While you can still do this, it is now not the only design method available to you. There are now tools that allow you to draw a box anywhere in your world (you pick the length, width and height) and using game pieces, the world will generate your structure. I watched this happen in real time with a small castle (who’s individual pieces can then be moved and manipulated by the player), a race-track that wound its way around a pre-built city, and a grind rail.

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As cool as Toy Boxes like these are, they will come short of the Toy Boxes you can create in Disney Infinity 2.0

Structures aren’t the only things that can be generated in an instant now, as entire Toy Boxes can be created to match the theme. You can stick to the basic empty box, or you can go one step further and have a pre-built city map appear, ripe for you to customise. It is things like this that make the fame feel much more friendly and accessible to fans of all ages and skill levels.

As for the toys themselves, I was told that players will start with practically everything from the original Disney Infinity, and that the Toy Spinner has been completely eliminated. In its place, players will buy toys with experience sparks that they have collected through normal gameplay (and from what I could tell, a LOT of sparks are available very quickly in the Play Sets). So now there is no random chance standing in the way of that awesome Tron Cycle you so desperately need to complete your playset. You will now just be able to pick and choose your toys at will, presuming you have the sparks for it.

So while all of this is great, it is nothing compared to the brand new INteriors feature for the game. For the first time ever, players can place a door on any door or all in the outside world, and this door will grant access to the inside of that building. Players can build, design and decorate their interiors however they want – from simple things like a treasure room for your awards etc, or by making a map for a super awesome dungeon crawler.

There is a limit to how many rooms you have available to you in a single INterior, however I was informed that this limit is way more than 20, and not only that but you can place an additional doorway INSIDE your building which will allow you to connect multiple INteriors together which will allow players to build and design absolutely enormous houses. I am already planning how to make an old-school Resident Evil style fixed camera survival horror game using the various INterior pieces and puzzles – and that’s just the start of it all.

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 FINAL THOUGHTS

Disney Infinity 2.0 looks to take all the good that the first Disney Infinity game did and just improve on it. The most notable changes are to the Toy Box where you used to be able to build mini-games, and now you can design and create entire gaming experiences with a few button presses. With all the new updates to the Toy Box, the Play Sets, the Power Discs and the figures themselves, the possibilities are now truly endless and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game next month… Also Rocket Raccoon can ride on Groot’s back, which is just about the coolest thing ever.

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