Friday, 23 August 2013

Disney Infinity - Final Round Review

Throughout my childhood, I spent months learning songs to all the Disney classics such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and of course, the Lion King.  What makes Disney truly amazing is with the advancement in technology they continue to lift the bar and create new stories, which not only the current generation enjoy but also the older generations.

As we all know, Disney has conquered the movie and television world, but they have also released an abundance of video games and every now and then they release something so wonderfully magical that it makes the movies seem like cave drawings from the Stone Age.

Disney Infinity is the latest and most ambitious release to date, with all your favourite “New” Disney hero’s, including character’s from the Incredible’s, Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as some old favourites.  Some might say that Disney Infinity is somewhat reminiscent and derivative of a certain other franchise, but what they have done is much more than a mere clone, they took a genre/style of gaming that was in infancy and develop an inviting and overall fun game that has the potential to become a massive new franchise.

Disney Infinity has very basic, yet incredibly fun platforming system, with more and more games coming out without the ability to jump, Disney Infinity decided to go old school and give the ability to DOUBLE JUMP.  Infinity is full of cool climbing areas and hard to reach platforms, but you are not always limited to one specific way to get there.  There are many instances in the game where you have multiple ways of getting around and reaching goals.  Anything from plain old jumping, to rope climbing, fan floating, heck, you can even launch yourself with a canon.

Graphically it's very pleasing to the eye.  There are no dull areas and everything looking vibrant and new, yet familiar at the same time.  The opening sequence was so beautiful and excitingly colourful that I could not help sitting there smiling like an idiot at the TV.  The characters have their own look and feel, each fully recreated with their own recognisable mannerisms (i.e. running, jumping, etc.).  You feel as if you are inside the Disney universe, and it’s just so beautiful there.

There is nothing special in terms of creativity, nevertheless it is solid and it feels fantastic.  Each character you play as gives you a different feel.  As Mr Incredible you feel capable of beating a 2 tonne robot into a small ball of tin foil, where as Captain Jack lets you feel somewhat unstable while running; once his sword and pistol are drawn you feel deadly.  There are many more characters with unique styles and abilities, but there isn’t enough time in the day to describe them all.

The one let down for Infinity is the Story Mode.  At times you can feel confused during quests and an unhelpful explanation of what you’re meant to be doing will lead to frustration.  I can’t help but think, if I am struggling to figure some objectives out as a grown man, what hope does a child have?  Unless they’re a genius the Story Mode has some seriously confusing bits that just don’t seem to make any sense, but then again, maybe it just needs a child’s mind.  Overall, the story is not too involving.  However, the mission/challenge modes in Disney Infinity are out-of-the-world fun!  A race against the clock to complete a certain task to either win a bronze, silver, or the critically acclaimed Gold medal is just wonderfully fun.

Finally I want to mention the HUB world, or the “Toy Box” mode.  Set at the centre of the Disney universe, this area lets you run around and cause havoc outside Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  You can do a lot from here; go for a leisurely drive, build stuff, break stuff, or even go to the Create-a-Level section which can be confusing at first but pretty awesome.

In the scheme of things, Infinity has taken a seedling of an idea and has taken steps to expand the possibilities of the franchise.  Although it does fall short in a few areas, such as an average story mode and a slightly confusing level creator feature, Disney Infinity is still an incredibly solid, fun game rich with new and nostalgic thrills.


 - Frank van der Merwe

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