The Force Awakens has been smashing box office records and many moviegoer expectations since it premiered last month. But can Disney Infinity’s newest Star Wars playset live up to the hype surrounding its critically acclaimed source material?
The Star Wars universe has been the focal point of the most current Disney Infinity, dubbed 3.0, and it’s no surprise that the Mouse House had a playset locked and loaded for the newest adventure in a galaxy far far away. Let’s dive into what makes Force Awakens another solid entry in the Infinity lineup.
Very minor Star Wars spoilers ahead
Disney Infinity is first and foremost a series based around toys. I mean, just look at the hard plastic figures that are sold with the game. They’re literally toys. The game treats characters and environments in a very playful manner, with blocky art design and enemies bursting apart at the seams when defeated. It’s important to keep this in mind.
The vast majority of what happens in a Disney Infinity playset has never happened in the sometimes canonical universe it portrays. And while you may not care that Lightening McQueen never really won a race against a tractor, there are plenty of folks who take their Star Wars story material very seriously. This game, on the other hand, does not.
If you’ve seen The Force Awakens movie (and you should have by now) then you’ll be painfully aware of some weirdly omitted and tweaked story elements throughout the game’s main campaign. But if you think of it more as a retelling through the eyes of child (or manchild) then it works much better. I’m not going to spoil any of the major plot points of the game or the film, but let’s just say things don’t go down quite as you’d expect.
The character figures look stunning as usual in their subtle, yet effective, poses. Kylo Ren is the stand out, as his menacing battle stance is much more pronounced than Ray, Finn and Poe’s relaxed-but-ready-for-battle demieners. Poe holds a wonderfully crafted pilot’s helmet that is barely attached to his left hand and I’m half tempted to break from his grip to see if it actually fits on his wittle head. Anyone who expected any less from the Disney Infinity crew, must not know the time and effort they put into their figures. Forget amiibo and Skylanders, these are the best figures in the toys-to-life business.
The actual gameplay involved in Force Awakens is reminiscent of previous Star Wars playsets, with one main storyline and dozens of offshooting side missions for players to explore. You jump, you fight, you race, you collect lots of little items that you can use to purchase upgrades and move the story forward. There isn’t much we haven’t seen before.
While players are technically on completely different planets, you’ll be hard pressed to see much of a difference between the sandy landscapes of Rise Against the Empire’s Tatooine and Force Awakens’ Jakku aside from some building choices and sparse population. Not that there is much of a difference in the movies... but once again it’s just a bit more of the same in regards to overall presentation.
The best part is certainly the in-game characters players are tasked with controlling, each of which is actually voiced by their movie counterpoint. The lines are well acted and each character has a nice combination of abilities and attacks that differ just enough to give them a unique feel. Rey being my favorite, with her junk rummaging skills and staff wielding combos on point. She also has blaster, so she’s a very well rounded fighter.
There are plenty of other little surprises to discover throughout the game’s short campaign, the best being a few retro-inspired arcade games that play much like shoot’em up space epics of gaming yore. They’re wonderfully addictive, especially for a high score junkie such as myself.
Overall, Force Awakens is another worthwhile entry in the Disney Infinity playset library. It doesn’t align with the movie as much as some hardcore players might prefer, but it has enough charm and adventure for any Star Wars fan to get lost for a few hours hopping, bopping and blasting their way across another handful of far out environments.
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You can follow Ben Bertoli on Twitter@SuperBentendo. The force is strong with him (usually).