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Disney Infinity 2.0 made a Marvel-ous first impression with E3 attendees

Disney Infinity 2.0 made a Marvel-ous first impression with E3 attendees

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A year after the showcasing of Disney Infinity at E3 in Los Angeles, the parent company returned with a much stronger identity for the franchise. Disney Infinity 2.0 was an improvement in every sense of the word. The original Disney Infinity debuted in stores just before Black Friday 2013. It got the drop on the competition, most notably Activision's Skylander series.

Yet Infinity was not without its faults on launch. Players reported random freezes, crashes and other glitches on the Disney online forums. It got to the point that Disney had to create a FAQ of known bugs so that audiences could focus on finding new issues. Console owners, those playing on the Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo platforms had to wait for patches to be downloaded from Disney Interactive in order to help with the problems.

Over most of the holiday season in 2013 Disney worked nonstop on improving their core game engine. As the game became far more stable it also became far more enjoyable an experience.

With several years under their belt, and several hundred million dollars in production costs accounted for, Disney Interactive now had a strong sense of direction. If the original launch had a major flaw it was that Disney was too eager to introduce audiences to the world of Infinity. The game suffered because the developers had been spread thin creating content to meet the holiday push.

Having the Monsters U, The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars and Lone Ranger Playsets and Toy Box expansions before the end of the year took away the potential of each experience. The games were all good but none were exceptional. They felt lacking. If Disney had cut down on franchises and focused less on Playsets then there was no doubt Infinity would have been better received.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

At the 2014 E3 it was obvious that Disney had learned from the launch of their platform game. The company focused its efforts on a small group of Marvel heroes for the announcement of Disney Infinity 2.0. The Avengers from the film series, including Captain America, the Black Widow, Nick Fury, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk were some of the new playable characters and collectable figures. The gameplay is a bit more challenging than before. Rather than mashing the attack button and going through opponents with ease the player now has to use some strategy.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

Opponents are more difficult to fight and some are more susceptible to certain attacks. It helps that Infinity 2.0 allows players to earn points and trade them in for new attacks and combination moves. Players have to be more mindful of their health gauge and pick and choose their opponents more carefully than in any other Playset.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

With this said, the game is still tremendously fun. Disney Interactive managed to create a better Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man game than Sega did when they had the licenses. Best of all the three characters are all available to play as in one solid game rather than in three mediocre games.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

The true star of this Marvel expansion would have to be Spider-Man and his rogues gallery. The stars of the Disney XD animated Spider-Man series, including Nova and Iron Fist, are all available to help Spider-Man complete his missions against Venom, Dr. Octopus, the Green Goblin and a plethora of other villains. Disney Interactive also managed to create a Spider-Man game that was on par with the best releases from Activision.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

In some instances it was even easier to get into than the last few Spider-Man games. The web-slinging mechanics were very intuitive. Players could shoot webbing at opponents in short bursts, stick to walls and even swing up and over buildings. Audiences did not have to worry about finding the right building to latch onto, instead players could simply shoot their web in the air and Spidey would take a running leap and leave the ground very quickly. Players would undoubtedly find themselves swinging through the city and ignore the missions just to enjoy the experience.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

The Toybox has been improved upon as well. This would be the portion of the game that allows audiences to create their own environment. It is also more intuitive than the previous release and has the ability of allowing players to drop pre-made sections, puzzles and opponents into their own play space.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

The showing at the E3 was not solely about Marvel. Further Toy Box expansions will include Merida from Brave and Maleficent. The figures and character models all retain the charm of the earlier Disney releases. The people responsible for the art direction are very consistent and help keep the theme of the game very lighthearted. The violence is never too visceral and audiences are constantly reminded that these are toys after all and no actual heroes or villains are hurt in the game.


Photo by Shelly Valladolid

I got the sense that Disney Infinity 2.0 is really beginning to distinguish itself from Skylanders and moreover finally has enough meat on the bone to give the Lego series of games some serious competition. The game is scheduled to be released in September. Expect to see Jim Hill Media give it a thorough review when it comes out.

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