Strong with the force it is

It seems common that a franchise can hit its stride with great strength in its first installment, then with a follow up fall flat on its face with a less then super sequel. This is exactly the case with Disney Infinity, yes the original game was not perfect but it also showed a lot of promise for a greater future. Where I will admit 2.0 fixed up a selection of things such as the awful level up to unlock a random toy feature, but in many other ways it was a letdown. Thankfully Disney Interactive have redeemed themselves with their visit to a galaxy far, far away.

After seeing what Disney Interactive did with our beloved lineup of Marvel heroes it was concerning how exactly they would go in delivering on the Star Wars brand. As the game begun this concern was still present but as soon as the game begun something just felt right, I didn’t receive the nervous to continue feeling I felt with 2.0, I was truly excited.

What was more exciting was the characters and world the basic game comes with, where from a popularity standpoint in appealing to older fans the developers could have chosen to go down the original trilogy path I was glad from the start they didn’t. As a game that appeals most to children the choice to focus on the Clone Wars cartoon series was one of genius. For many younger people the Clone Wars series is the one that they would primarily know so they can appeal to the appropriate audience. From a personal standpoint as well I first found a liking for the Star Wars brand with the Clone Wars series, while finding the original series to just be dull and unwatchable.

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Disney Infinity 3.0’s Clone Wars inspired Twilight of the Republic fixes a lot of the issues that made last year’s Avengers playset almost unplayable. Star Wars learns from the mistakes of the Avengers truly uninspired and unappealing New York, Twilight of the Republic sets us up across multiple planets and features many varied and often interesting missions across its six hour campaign. The environments feature regular change and even a greater variety of different enemy types help keep things interesting.

Combat has seen a satisfying overhaul in 3.0, in previous games I thought combat felt forced and quite dull particularly when put with the grand scale of superheroes but here combat actually was exciting. On a certain level combat is still near enough the same to past entries but the added benefits of the Star Wars characters made combat feel more fluent then before. It was satisfying having the ability as Anakin to force pull an enemy in for a quick and lethal combination strike, or push enemies away with the force to give myself breathing room or dispatch an enemy by pushing them off the side of a cliff. Dodging and blocking also felt quite fluent allowing for quick movement and the ability to stop an enemy from causing greater damage.

The new addition of a health bar for enemies is by far one of my favorite inclusions I discovered while dealing with combat situations. Where before I would foolishly run in blind and attack a random enemy I was glad of the ability to now strategically pick who I should go for based on their health, and how I learned there health fell according to my strikes.

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2.0’s skill tree system returns for this game, but is now a whole lot more focused featuring separate skill trees depending on where you wish to focus your character. On the whole characters upgrades are quite similar across the board with the common health upgrade, damage upgrade and aerial recovery, none of which I personally minded. Though each character does feature some various changes in possible attack options gained from levelling up which do help make characters feel unique from one another. I played through this with the base packs Ahsoka Tano, Anakin Skywalker and Yoda and each felt unique and enjoyable with their own specific skillsets, this made the purchase of additional characters seem more warranted and something I wanted to do.

I was even gladder to discover that Twilight of the Republic did not hide anything behind a pay to play type paywall unlike previous games. Yes, the games does feature optional objectives as part of missions which do often ask for you to complete the mission with a specific character such as Han Solo or Ezra Bridger but unless you are a true completionist these side objectives can just be ignored.

Of course, where there are positives there are also negatives and some of which feature some really big missed opportunities. I was thrilled by the inclusion of podracing as part of the campaign and excitedly completed the mission, but the game missed a real big opportunity. Firstly, there is only one opponent to race while podracing, while I didn’t find this to ruin the fun it would have been good if they had included additional racers to up the challenge. Secondly there was a single course, I liked the Tatooine course the first couple of times I raced, but it grew tired and stale rather quickly dampening my enjoyment.

Another problem I found was the lack of any decent puzzle solving, for the most part you are generally shown how to solve a puzzle by way of there is a button nearby. There was certainly room for use of Jedi abilities and the environment when it came to dealing with puzzles, and it would have made things that little bit more fun and added an additional hour at least to the gameplay.

Thankfully, these problems are quickly forgotten in light of some of the more exciting moments that the game offers. While dealing with quite an exhilarating sort of car chase sequence, or dogfighting in space among the space junk and starcruisers, or even grabbing random people and throwing them into the sarlacc pit to watch it be sick. There is much to love here and find a lot of enjoyment in and in the end I can safely say this is one of the best Star Wars games I have ever played.

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The playset is a pretty good and reasonably big part of the core experience, but like previous games the Toybox is still where the raw meat of the games offerings are situated. Disney Infinity 3.0 brings a more refined and much more improved Toy Box experience, there are many more toys on offer for use and a series of new items that can help you to build the ultimate Toy Box adventure.

It is now also a whole lot easier to get into this mode with the introduction of the Toy Box Hub, this little area is essentially a giant tutorial offering access to lessons and practical experiences to learn all we need to know about the Toy Box. In itself the Toy Box Hub offers many hours of fun even before you jump into the main game and start even considering what you are going to do with your own creations. You can enjoy learning the basics of racing and then race around the Hub, you can work on levelling up your favourite characters and improving their skills, you can work on collecting sparks to afford more toys. Or as I enjoyed arming Olaf with a lightsaber and running around laughing at the sheer insanity, or alternatively arming Yoda with an Identity Disc just to enjoy the sight of something that would be impossible anywhere else.

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The Toy Box Hub essentially gives you the tools and ability to learn and know what most things do which for myself was much needed, even after the previous two games I still felt lost and thanks to this feature things managed to become a little bit clearer. I will admit that I do still lack the key ability to build a fully functional adventure, besides the general messing around with toys to create silly little platformers. Even still the tutorial system offered by the Hub gave me more knowledge to be free to do what I like. Even for my lack of skills, there is still plenty of options with the excellent Toy Box games that other players are creating. The improved variety of tools and options have made things better than previous instalments and have on the whole made things a lot more fun, I enjoyed playing with the options given and there is enough to keep any fan with an idea happy.

Disney Infinity 3.0 also introduces a sidekick system, miniature versions of Disney, Marvel and Star Wars characters can now be chosen to help you out in a variety of ways. One of the big points is having a partner who will assist you in a fight, you can arm your little assistant with a variety of weapons and they can help fight back enemies, they are not always that effective but I was welcome nonetheless. Sidekicks are also useful for acting as farmers where they have the ability to grow crops and get food to help them and their skills grow up. But the better use I found with these sidekicks was the ability to place them in my Toy Box, while armed with a certain item and headwear they help add structures to my world. It is a small but very welcome feature that allows for more options in what can be done.

If there is anything that does bother me about is the Toy Box it is the fact that some items are hidden behind a figure shaped pay wall. While it is not a thing that really matters to the greater game as you can still enjoy the Toy Box, it just annoys me that not all items can be unlocked without owning a specific piece whether it is a figure from a past game or a Playset you have to play through first. These paywalls are pointlessly frustrating as do at times put a creative hold on the potential enjoyment that can be offered.

Disney Infinity 3.0 has without a doubt redeemed the mistakes made by the previous game, I may have originally been hesitant with the idea of Star Wars but I have to admit that I was quite satisfied by what I got with this. 3.0 steps up and has created the best Disney Infinity game in the series history, there are many great options and if you’re not careful you can be absorbed in and lose many hours to this wonderful game.