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 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).
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”.
As 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.
The 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.
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.
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.