You can find some cool stuff if you just wander a little bit away from the San Diego Convention Center during Comic-Con. Case in point: the Disney Infinity pop-up shop on J Street, where eager gamers lined up outside on Thursday afternoon to have a chance to go hands-on with Disney Infinity 3.0 before its release next month.
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Happily, I got in on some of that action too, and was impressed at the amount of thought that has gone into this latest update. Yes, the Star Wars characters and Play Sets are a big deal. Those figures feel great to play, with the Jedi sporting even more impressive sets of combat abilities than the Marvel heroes brought to the table in Disney Infinity 2.0.
Tearing into enemies with lightsabers is a lot of fun, as is Boba Fett’s jetpack and arsenal of weaponry. All of the Star Wars characters have finishing moves as well, though using them requires some skill and timing.
I also got to play the iconic trench run scene from A New Hope, which is basically a space shooter on rails. You have to shoot at the Death Star’s defenses while avoiding incoming fire from TIE Fighters, and the game gives you some cool defensive maneuvers. You’ll find that in the Star Wars Rise Against the Empire Play Set, along with a battle on Hoth, a level set on Endor and more memorable moments from the original trilogy.
Yet, Disney Interactive and Avalanche haven’t just thrown Star Wars into the mix and called it a day. Here are a few more aspects of Disney Infinity 3.0 I either saw or was told about by one of the game’s producers that should be welcome additions.
Inclusion is In
The original Disney Infinity made characters stay in their own Play Sets (except when they came together in the Toy Box), and that was that. Version 2.0 allowed some figures to be unlocked in other Play Sets, but it was still fairly limited and took some doing.
Disney Infinity 3.0 takes that evolution to its next logical step. All Star Wars characters will be unlockable in all of the Star Wars Play Sets, and while it might not happen right at the beginning of each game for gameplay reasons, it’ll also be much easier.
The upcoming Marvel Play Set will be the same way, with all Marvel heroes and villains, old and new, able to be unlocked. And why not? The more the merrier.
New Types of Play Sets Are Coming
Not just new brands, but whole new genres instead of the usual semi-open world action RPGs we’ve seen to date. The Inside Out Play Set is a straight up 2D, side-scrolling plat former, which is definitely a new wrinkle.
None will probably be of mind-blowing complexity since the developers have to keep in mind how many young gamers enjoy Disney Infinity, but it’s nice to see some more variety.
The New Toy Box Games Are Good
I got to play Toy Box Takeover, a new Toy Box Game that comes free with Disney Infinity 3.0 pre-orders at certain retailers, and even in just five minutes, I liked it more than any of the previous Toy Box Games. It’s almost like a light version of a Play Set inside Toy Box, complete with a story that mashes the various Disney IPs together.
Not only does it support two-player local co-op and four-player online co-op, it has a number of cool features I only had a few seconds to investigate. For example, there are various sidekick characters you can collect who will help fight, heal you when called and even be kitted out with their own gear.
The other upcoming Toy Box Game has a racing theme, and based on what I’ve seen, it also seems like a lot of fun.
Toy Box Hasn’t Been Forgotten Either
Since Toy Box is the favorite mode for a lot of players, it shouldn’t come as a big shock that it’s been spruced up too. A new farming mechanic allows you to grow and harvest things in your Toy Box world, a good thing since we’ve never exhausted people’s inexplicable love for video game farming.
A producer also told me about new kinds of motions that could be set as behaviors, like building a roller coaster track and having a train run its entire length. They can also be triggered the way previous behaviors could, as he explained by telling me about devs that had TIE Fighter fly-bys surprise people.
There wer already a ton more tools in Toy Box than I could ever wrap my head around, so I’m preparing myself to be even more dazzled by what others can create.
Disney Infinity 3.0 will see its initial set of products release on August 30, with more Star Wars and Marvel figures to follow later this fall.