Infinity Plus One
Weíre back for more with Disney Infinity 2.0
Published: September 30, 2014
New for this series is a skill tree system that goes along with leveling. All characters (including series 1 stuff) can now level up to level 20, and with that leveling up comes a new way to customize your characters. Each character now has a grid of 24 skills that can be unlocked with skill points that you earn as you level up. There are 24 skills (some of which cost multiple skill points) and only 20 levels, so some decisions will have to be made. They also operate in a ďtreeĒ style where you can only unlock skills that are next to ones that you have already unlocked, so you do have to plan ahead. There are some skills that copy between characters, but there are also ones that are totally unique to a certain character and obviously reflect their ďreal lifeĒ abilities. Spiderman can gain web powers, Captain America can add shield powers, the list goes on. This isnít a hard game (even for my kids) and careful distribution of powers can make it even easier, but they also serve to spice thing up and keep them from getting dull.
Vehicles also make a return in a big way this time around, and much like last time they are a mixed bag. Iím not sure that there is ANY physics simulation in the driving model and more often than not I tried to avoid vehicles as much as possible. Sure, itís cool to see Capt. Americaís motorcycle, but it isnít very much fun to drive. Flying vehicles are even more difficult to control, and in the end you are better served with a character who flies (or web swings) as a way to get around. Itís a bit of a minor nitpick and one you can mostly avoid as there arenít many forced vehicle sequences.
Veterans of the series know that the playsets are only have the game with Disney Infinity and at least as much fun should be had in the Toy Box mode. Thatís where things can get really wild and you drop the constraints of keeping characters in their own universe. The Toy Box is the one place you can still use your Series 1 characters in Infinity 2.0, and who doesnít want to see Lightning McQueen teaming up with Groot to stop Recognizers from Tron? You can do that! The Lone Ranger and Venom can get together to finally put an end to Phineas and Ferbís twisted plot to sink The Black Pearl. If you can imagine it, you can probably do it.
One of my biggest gripes (and definitely my kids biggest gripes) with the old Toy Box was the zany roulette system for unlocking new Toy Box content. Youíd have to earn coins (which were limited) and then take them to a slot machine to win one of 16 random items the game selected. Not only could you not choose an item, you couldnít really even choose which SET of items you would have to select from. I canít tell you how long I spent trying to get a light cycle. That system has been completely scrapped this time around in favor of a combination of an unlocking system via playsets and a purchasing system (also via credits earned in the playset). Itís still not perfect and I sort of dislike having content locked away after I paid good money for the set, but it definitely provides more freedom than before.
Speaking of freedom, you can definitely get a little more creative in the Toy Box this time around. Itís a lot closer to something like LittleBigPlanet and if you put the time in you can do stuff far more interesting than just a platformer. Disney has made it a little easier to find the good stuff this time around, as there is already a good selection in the Developerís Favorite section and plenty of ways to sort by ratings to make sure the wheat is separated from the chaff. And if you are into building, they have kept the system very close to the last time around with a few new tweaks to give you more control. There is a rather robust tutorial system that can walk you through most of the concepts if you need a refresher. It turned out to be a little complex for my kids to create solid games, but the system alone was fun for them as a sort of Minecraft sandbox to build neat things and take their favorite characters and mess around.