Ever since the Vita version of Disney Infinity 2.0 was stealthily announced back at E3 last June, I have avoided the other iterations of the game as much as I can. With a seven year old Marvel-crazy son, you can probably imagine that this has proved quite difficult – compounded further because he has the game on another system and many different Infinity figurines – but avoided it I have. This has been quite a mission in itself, especially given that it arrived on all major gaming systems last September… but not ours.

The original Disney Infinity released on other systems to a positive reception, so I suppose it was inevitable that Disney would ensure that this became a regular release. A large stable of characters and such a diverse range of properties have allowed the studio to refresh the game with a new look and direction – and for the cynical amongst you, even sell a large amount of figurines to those that simply have to catch them all. It’s worked to great effect for Activision with the Skylanders series, and even Nintendo have got in on the act. It’s a nice little earner and particularly effective for them, but less so for unsuspecting parents and gamers.

Disney Infinity 2.0

Disney Infinity 2.0 is the first release for the Vita though, and whilst intended primarily to be a children’s title it is very much a game of two halves. One part Marvel branded with a maximum of three stories to play through, but only one included, unlike the console versions of the game your story begins in New York with the Spider-Man Play Set thanks to the included character packaged and exclusive to the PS Vita; the symbiote-infused black suit Spider-Man.

The game opens with a cut scene which serves to explain the basics of the plot, including the fact that the Green Goblin is planning world domination by invading and conquering via an army of cloned venom symbiotes. After the introduction, you are then thrown into a mission which explains the basics of the game – jumping, swinging and combat mechanics coming into play whilst you chase after Mysterio.

You’ll learn that the X button controls jumping (with a second tap launching you higher), and holding X down will activate a super jump or flight if your character has that ability. You’ll also learn that square controls interactions and picking things up, while circle is your drop/block/dodge and even roll if used with the left stick; attacks are executed with triangle, and the triggers are used for aiming/prolonged flight (L) or shooting/throwing (R).

Disney Infinity 2.0

After that first mission you will find yourself deep in New York City, which acts as a central hub to your Playset. Seeking out some of the supporting cast from Spider-Man’s Ultimate adventures – such as White Tiger and Power Man – you will obtain new missions towards the campaign and a final face-off with the Goblin, as well as minor missions to help level up your character. These are typically “go there” and “do that” style missions which are really just there to bulk up the play time, but you are still looking at around 4-5 hours in the story, and that’s without completing many of the 200+ challenges, or “feats”.

Disney Infinity 2.0As you progress through the campaign however, you will accumulate skill points to apply to your character – allowing for a degree of customisation with their abilities. With a maximum level cap of 20 per character, you can tailor how the character plays somewhat more to your liking, adding additional health, strength or boosting up your characters special move. This is activated via the touch screen, with some being far more effective than others.

Spider-Man’s Play Set is quite an enjoyable romp and really gives you the feeling of being in the adventure, even with the filler missions. As it’s the only Play Set included package it’s also all I will cover here, but we may be reviewing the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy Sets separately. As we are just focusing on the included set though, I have to mention that the only figures that are compatible are those marked as Spider-Man characters; Spider-Man, Nick Fury, Iron Fist, Nova, Venom and the Green Goblin. Cross-over tokens hidden within the hub will allow for Iron Man and the Hulk to feature too, but that’s only eight of the over twenty figurines that can actually be used with this Play Set.

Disney Infinity 2.0The other half of the game is where the “Infinity” mechanic comes into play: The Toy Box. Once you have got the introductions and simplistic tutorials out of the way, what you are left with is essentially a blank canvas upon which to let your imagination flow. With a impressive variety of objects at your disposal you can create almost anything you can fathom, and fill it with a whole host of Disney related paraphernalia. I’m terrible at this sort of thing, but, I can tell you that some of the community created content that you can download already is very impressive. This mode is where you can use every character that you can collect, and where you may spend a large portion of your time.

If you have got this far into the review and you are looking at the screens, you’ll probably have noticed that it has taken a bit of a hit visually. With some very washed out textures and character models the game certainly isn’t going to win any awards for visuals, but it is worth noting that these compromises have enabled the full console game to be present. The hub between missions is open world and the approximation of New York looks fantastic – even at this resolution. There are significant frame rate implications when there are a large amount of enemies on the screen however, and the final mission in the Play Set noticeably struggles – but for the most part it’s functional. Despite the limitations that the visuals bring to the table, it still manages to pack a lot of atmosphere and you can really get a feel for the Marvel universe.

The game features the same voice-over and cast that was present in the console version and is just as effective, including many voices from the current crop of Disney’ Marvel TV shows as well as one Samuel L. Jackson as well. All in all the presentation is very impressive, and I spent a large amount of time just flying through the city with Iron Man, taking it all in. If you get the chance, try it.

Disney Infinity 2.0

Included in the box you will find a specially designed Bluetooth base unit and two extra Toy Box discs which include additional modes for use in the Toy Box. It’s hard not to appreciate the level of detail that has been put into the package. The game even has a manual in the case!

If you are looking for reasons not to buy the game, the additional Play Sets and figures are a good starting point. There are two additional stories to play through, which are unlocked through either the Avengers set or the Guardians of the Galaxy set, but these scenarios are essentially already on the cartridge; you have to buy the sets to access them. The additional characters will also cost you a bit, with more than 20 Marvel branded characters to obtain and many “Disney Originals” on top of those that were available for the first title. If you are a collector, or have an obsessive child, be prepared to shell out way more than the base cost of the game.

It’s also essential to point out that despite coming with an exclusive, Black-suited Spider-Man figure, it is the only character you get; whereas the consoles all received Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow in the box. As already mentioned, not all of the characters work across all of the sets, so caution is advised when buying your favourites as they may be locked out of the main game.

Disney Infinity 2.0

For those of you that are particular about visuals and frame rates, you may be disappointed. Like I mentioned above, it is noticeable and can be an issue but it is still playable. I should also mention is that this version is single-player only. The custom Infinity base has only two slots, one for Play Sets and Discs, with the other for a single character, with no local or online multiplayer.

So, should you pick this up? The problem with releasing this version so much later than the others is that like my son, most people that actually wanted it will already have it. The game has dropped in price for other systems and has already had a successor announced – the news Star Wars branded 3.0- before this version had hit the stores, which kind of negates the impact for this title further. Disney/Sony are relying – or hoping – that people will have waited for this version, or that the prospect of the title on the Vita may well tempt a few parents and die-hard fans to get a system just for this.

If you have waited, or you are looking for a Marvel adventure to get into then you won’t be disappointed, but it’s certainly not “Best on Vita” nor is it without its issues. It is, however, a tremendous amount of fun and if that’s what you are after – either for your child or the child in you – then you should be entertained.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Presentation
Gameplay
Lasting Appeal
Execution
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Paul founded The Vita Lounge and is the Executive Editor, but still likes to get involved with the odd piece of news or a review. 35 years young and gaming since 1990, he has a preference for Action/RPG games, Shooters, Racing Games (despite ironically not being able to drive!) and quite partial to a game of FIFA.
  • Lester Paredes

    Yeah, the frame rate sucks, and it’s crashed on me 4 times (had to uninstall and reinstall, redownload the update, and download my cloud save and it now seems to be working fine), but it’s still fun.
    My daughter is big into it on Wii U, but every time she wants to play, it’s always toy box mode, and while that’s fun, I want to play the playsets too. So, I bought it even though I said I wouldn’t in previous posts (getting the Avengers playset with Iron Man and Black Widow for free sealed the deal for me.), because I ended up enjoying the game more and more as I played it with her.
    I honestly wish they toned down the special effects for the game, as the dynamic shadows and smoke effects and more (while cool) really cause the game to chug. They probably also should have limited how many enemies appear at once to fight you. Sure, it’s cool to fight 6 or 7 or more guys at a time, but when it makes the game turn into a slide show… Well, hopefully, there’ll be a future patch that could possibly improve the frame rate, but I’m pretty sure this game was a ‘fire and forget’ type deal…

    • Panic Button have done a fantastic job with the game, but like you say by cramming as close to the console version as they could has impacted the overall performance – but then had they removed the shadows they’d have had complaints from that quarter. Hopefully a patch will come along that will improve the performance but there were only a couple of sequences that were really impacted for me.
      There hasn’t been a mention of a Vita version of 3.0 and I’m hopeful that we will get it, but I imagine any hope rests with the performance of this, and retail exclusivity in North America (Gamestop and EB) and some regions not getting it (Australia) will impact that, as well as people slating it without even playing it. Which is a shame, because it is great.

      • Lester Paredes

        Yeah, if they didn’t put in all those effects, people would complain. I sure hope they do 3.0, as it looks cool from the footage I’ve seen.

    • vongruetz .

      The crashing is to keep it in line with the PS4 version. Although it has gotten a lot better, DI 2.0 was a mess for a number of months following its launch. Even at Christmas time there were still issues with it randomly crashing or trophies not popping. Oddly, I haven’t had any issues with the Vita version so far. I’ve been playing it a lot on the PSTV with base plugged in and my console set to never turn off. It seems like the crashes happen whenever it loses contact with PSN.

      As for the game, I’m really loving it but like Lester, wished they had toned it down some. I think it probably would have been a better game is they cut out the play sets entirely and just had this as a toy box game. I think Infinity on the Vita only makes sense in a few cases and playing the play sets is not one of them. They should have taken their cues from the iOS and Android version and made this strictly a toy box game. Also, remove the base altogether and just use digital characters. When you bring a base into the mix, suddenly the game isn’t portable any more. So what’s the point?

      All in all, a lot of fun though. It really was a great effort by Panic Button to build the entire/full game on the Vita.

      • Lester Paredes

        Yeah, I agree about the base and the figures. It’s not exactly portable, not without it’s own dedicated tote bag. It’d have been cool if they did make the characters DLC like on PC, and you could buy the story packs if you wanted too. Or, if you bought the figures, you could use the code on their character card to redeem online. That’d have been really cool, and perfect, since I love the look of the figures and would just buy some because they look cool.

  • Oliver

    So is there any Disney content such as characters/worlds in this game at all?

    • The “main” game is Marvel, three Play Sets, focused around Spider-Man/Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy. The Disney element is contained within the Toy Box where you can create your own levels and play other people’s, but there are no playable worlds from Disney, and the Disney Infinity 1 Play Sets do not work on this, but characters do, albeit Toy Box only.

  • Buckybuckster

    Excellent review Murphy thanx! It’s a shame to hear about the performance issues, but it’s great that it’s playable and a enjoyable game to boot. I can’t see why Sony just doesn’t use a higher meg cart in clear cut cases like this to avoid developers having to shoehorn so much data into a tiny little space. Hopefully a patch is forthcoming… along with a 3.0 announcement!

  • Chris Boers

    Steange, that with all the limitations and di 3.0 is sight, this is still valued as a 4/5.

    • Because I felt it was fun, despite the issues. Besides, 3.0 might not arrive on the Vita. 😉

  • KeeseToast

    The game looks pretty cool, but is the only way to play it with the base? Or can you buy characters digitally?

  • Hazey

    I think this review is spot on, it is what it is, the full game in your hands! Yes the resolution has taken a hit but once you have played for 10 mins you get used to it