In 2013 Disney gave us their answer to the ever popular (and money-consuming) Skylanders - Disney Infinity. Boasting a huge array of instantly recognisable characters from Disney past and present, it was a hit with not just children, but adults too.
Once you’ve finished staring at the characters in awe, and making them act out scenes from the films, you're obviously going to want to jump straight in, and this is where the starter pack is a little lacking in comparison to that of Infinity 1.0. It isn’t long before the lack of choice begins to grate - where 1.0 gave us three worlds to explore and a character for each, 2.0 is just one world - Manhattan. The upside of that is, of course, that all three characters work in one world, so those who like to play the levels co-op can do so without the need to buy extra figures first.
Manhattan itself is a city expansive enough to make for an interesting and diverse game world - or at least, it should be, but Infinity doesn't quite seem to pull it off. The fun gameplay and half-decent storyline are stuck in a mire of repetitive quests and scenery, and the enemies along the way are all the same, bar a few upgraded, more powerful versions with different weapons and shields.
There's fun to be had, sure, especially if you're playing with a friend, but it feels like something is missing. At first you can't quite put your finger on what it is, and then it hits you - there isn't enough to do. There's no laying traps à la Monsters University, or shooting toilet paper guns, and there's just not enough incentive to keep exploring, apart from the tokens you can collect to allow other characters into the world - you can collect 10 to play as Rocket Raccoon, for example.
Infinity isn't mindblowing or perfect... But sometimes it's good to just game for the sake of gaming
Worry not however, because it isn't all bad news. With the addition of more playset pieces - at a price, naturally - you can extend your gameplay into much more interesting worlds and environments. The combat feels a marked improvement, with different characters displaying a variety of new abilities, complete with skill trees. The perks in each tree aren't massively different, however they are tailored to the hero in question, making use of their own powers and strengths. For the record, Rocket's quantum cannon is amazing.
As the game’s name suggests, the possibilities are endless thanks to the inclusion of another mode - Toy Box. This is where Infinity really comes alive, taking Skylanders and Hulk Smashing it into the ground with glee. Here you can build your own worlds, your own levels and let your imagination take over. With hundreds of props and options to extend and expand your creations and your own house to customise - called an INterior (see what they did there?) - and the ability to link all of your different worlds via doors, you can play for hours and still be finding new things to do. The mode has been made far easier this time around with more aids and a better sense of being taught rather than just handed a load of tools and left to it.
So, Infinity isn't mind-blowing or perfect. It doesn't give you amazing, lifelike graphics and there aren't any in-depth stories, but that's kind of the point - It gives you the tools to make those for yourself. The game is decent, solid entertainment and the replay value is fantastic. You can really indulge your inner child with Infinity, (playing with my seven-year-old son opened my eyes as to how limited we let our imaginations get as we get older - Ed) and honestly, sometimes it's good to just game for the sake of gaming.
And just in case you're not quite convinced yet, there's also something immensely amusing about seeing The Hulk run around with a magic wand.