Disney Infinity 2.0 hands-on: Marvel Super Heroes is super improved... and here's why...
Back in January, I wrote an article that detailed 35 things I would love to see come to Disney Infinity. While some of those 35 things have already been incorporated into the game, even more are on the way. My E3 appointment with Disney Interactive was highly informative, and I learned a lot about what's coming to Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes.
First of all, the visuals I saw in my hands-on were not the final product. I played on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and both were a nice upgrade over the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U versions. Thank goodness this wasn't the final product, because there was a blur on some of the characters when doing actions. The devs described it as characters turning into "the Flash." It only happened once in a while, but it was jarring to see.
I was able to play a little bit of the two play sets they had at E3 -- The Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man. Both play sets are very vertical due to new movement abilities. Iron Man flies, The Hulk can climb buildings, and Spider-Man can web sling and climb -- and to make it easier to get around, Spidey's webs don't have to attach to actual buildings. The heroes are also accessible by many, but have depth to them. Depth comes in the forms of skill trees and abilities earned from Power Discs. Every hero has a skill tree that adds new attacks, powers and makes them stronger -- and there's a lot to it. I didn't get to go in depth with them, but just glancing over them was quite revealing. Disney Infinity needed a way to level up characters -- like in Skylanders -- and this system might have even more depth. Power Discs also give you abilities via other heroes coming to your aid. For instance, there is a Nick Fury Power Disc that gives you an attack (on a short cooldown) that targets an area with a missile strike. Also, when a building gets damaged, you'll be able to see into it or see through it; I thought that was a pretty cool detail.
What you're expecting from these superhero play sets is what you're going to get. You're coming to the aid of citizens and you're saving the day. That's what superheroes do. But Disney went above and beyond in Toy Box -- that's where all the really big changes are. It's mainly ease-of-life changes coming to Toy Box. In the original Disney Infinity, making your own Toy Boxes, creations and games required a lot of time. Simply put, it wasn't easy, and I know for a fact that it turned some of my friends off. My son Colton, who's five, could place things, but building something was a whole different matter.
Like I said, everything is going to be easier, and that's mostly thanks to procedurally generated environments. You want buildings? Just choose the building tool and the game will procedurally generate random buildings of different heights, colors, features and platforms. The same goes for treehouses, decorations, environment. Plop the littler person associated with those things into your Toy Box and they'll quickly start creating a procedurally generated world for you to play in.
Another thing that was incredibly hard to make was different types of games. If you wanted to make a race, or let's say a Smash Bros.-type side-scroller game for you to play in, you had to learn how to building it, set scoring, manipulate camera angles -- not any more. Now there are templates for those types of games that you could just drop into your Toy Box. The Smash Bros.-type game comes ready with scoring, time limits and has the right camera angle associated with it... as well as power-ups and weapons. Even more, when you're ready to experiment, you can add on to the template. Even though you can quickly play in this type of game, it also serves as a way of teaching the player how to create and setup these types of games... how to work with cameras and scoring.
In addition to a ton of new decorations and Toy Box items and characters -- such as Darkwing Duck's Ratcatcher, and the Swinetrek from the Muppets Pigs in Space... as well as characters like Donald, Tinkerbell, Merida and Maleficent -- full-fledged interiors will be coming to the game. This combined with the game templates makes Toy Box freaking amazing. I wasn't able to see gameplay of the interiors, but I was assured it will be ready when the game launches. Essentially, when you walk through a door, you'll be taken into a room with doors linking to other rooms. There will be plenty of items and furniture to place in these rooms, so don't worry.
I can't wait for this game. I play it a ton with my son, be it in the Play Sets or just messing around in Toy Box. Seriously, he could just run around in a Toy Box and have me chase him for hours. Now with templates and procedurally generated environments and interiors, it's allowing us to do so much more with minimal effort. Disney Interactive really listened to the complaints from the first game and have made the necessary changes, and I couldn't be more excited.