Not so super sequel
Disney has such an amazing backlog of creative ideas and fantastic properties that have built up over the years, ranging from old favorites like Pinocchio, to new things like Frozen and Big Hero Six. With the first Disney Infinity game Disney looked into a small selection of its backlog to build a fun and creative game that made use of our favorite characters in a way that is akin to Activision’s Skylander’s franchise.
I would go so far as to say it was better than all of the first three Skylanders games featuring more fun and creative ideas. With the newest entry in the Disney Infinity brand Disney has tapped into its newer acquisitions to charm players into picking up their latest game.
Let’s face it superhero games in the past have been pretty poor, so mixing the magic of Disney Infinity with the wonderful world of Marvel seems like pure brilliance, well at least on paper that is. The basic concept is okay, but it doesn’t ever relive the same magic as the first game, I originally criticized the playsets of the first game for lacking two player functionality for them unless you spent extra money. I also said that not all the playsets were really worth it, unfortunately with Marvel Super Heroes we have gone from one extreme to another.
With the basic game set you get the game and a single playset to go along with it featuring a mismatch of our favorite heroes the Avengers. Again it does sound cool and is initially a great feeling to be able to jump into such an iconic world and instantly be able to play with a friend or family member, the ideas just have not been fully thought through. After a brief tutorial stage making you run through Stark Tower after it has been frozen by frost giants you end up in New York or at least a Marvel version of the city, and this is unfortunately where the playset shows its ugly side.
Sure the city may be frozen and being attacked by frost giants but there is still so few people around, and instead of being able to explore a nice New York City you are left with a pretty small piece of the place. This is all still without even going into combat where the game begins to feel most dull, you are a superhero so shouldn’t you have a wide array of attacks and moves to use. The combat system in general is reduced down a simple mashing of a single button, which is often dull and extremely simplistic, besides that you do have a small range of other attacks but these I often found to be weak in combat situations. Combat may be dull but at least it is tolerable and as long you have a friend you can probably find the bright side.
It is mostly unfortunate that the playsets missions are extremely repetitive and simplistic, I return to my earlier point that you are a hero capable of amazing things but still mission types will annoy even the calmest player. A good portion of missions simply revolve around fighting a series of frost giants either to a timer while you protect something, or just stopping an army of them in general. Other missions are nothing more than simple rescue the civilians which were often boring to complete, or occasionally you had to go and place an item in a specific location.
At least with last year’s entry we had a good time with at least one or two of the playsets, but often I felt like I was playing an even more dumbed down version of the Incredibles playset from the first game. There was one thing though that was actually quite nice as an inclusion, a clever skill tree has been included with each character to help them grow in their skills and help in a variety of situations.
It is also unfortunate that the Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy playsets that are sold separately are nothing more exciting either and are often just as dull as the Avengers.
The first game seemed like one that worked almost everywhere at every point but the bundled in playset is just not as good as it could have been, thankfully, this game does have its saving grace in the Toy Box mode which still continues to impress.
The Toy Box was definitely the shining star of the original game featuring hours of gameplay options and opportunities for fun, with 2.0 developer Avalanche have continued this trend offering us so much more. The developers have taken the Marvel properties and allowed us the opportunity to place such iconic places such as Stark Tower within our own world along with other Marvel locations. Meanwhile they also carried in a wide variety of Disney based tools to build your world with that continue to offer wonderful homage to popular franchises and also fun tools to build into the world.
Better still is some of the refinements that Avalanche has brought to the game, for veterans who played the first game an added bonus has been made in the form of helpers who help to build specific things into your Toy Box. Along with this there is also other tools been added which helps to build better games and environments such as cities and racetracks. These simple refinements allow more opportunities for fun with the game and allow us to build bigger and better playgrounds then what was possible in the first game.
The only real dark side to the toy box is a similar issue that the original Disney Infinity provided, this issue involved having to play in playsets to be able to unlock specific items. The big difference with the first game is that playsets were often satisfying so we were willing to lay them and unlock toys from playing them. Here this is not the case and the playsets are unsatisfying to play so it becomes harder to be willing to spend the time to unlock everything we can for the toybox.
However I was glad to see more toys available from the start then in the first game, new additions and better assortments of materials to play with made this game easier to get into and start playing with so many more options available. I was glad to see things like spinners as well as moving blocks available from the start which meant I could build a good variety of challenges and better games than before. I was glad to see older toys such as the maze pieces receiving new pieces which allowed for a bit of change then my last foray into the world.
Disney Infinity Marvel Super Heroes is really a story of two different games, one struggles to find footing and grab attention, while the other builds itself into a literal world of pure imagination created by you how you want to play. The idea of Marvel crossed with Disney Infinity seemed like pure genius but unfortunately it just does quite deliver on the potential that was there. However there is still fun to be had and if you can look past the playsets the toybox is a shining beacon of hope that is sure to keep you and your friends playing for hours to come.