Count the ways to play 'Infinity' [Boston Herald]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 01--"Disney Infinity" turns more than 80 years worth of Disney family entertainment into an inter-active toy box for your video game system. All it wants is all of your money.
It follows the "Sky-landers" model. This is a video game that requires real toys to play. You place a miniature statue of a famous Disney character on a small platform that connects to your console, and then that character becomes playable within the video game. The game itself comes with three fig-urines -- Capt. Jack Sparrow, Mr. Incredible and "Monsters University's" Sulley -- and three corresponding playsets. Additional characters are sold separately or in bundles, and extra playsets, in-cluding ones based on "Cars" and "The Lone Ranger," come with two figurines and new game content. None of this is cheap. If you bought every figurine and playset available at launch, you'd spend more than $200. That's without purchasing any "power discs," which are randomly bundled two to a pack and add power-ups or bonuses to your char-acters.
Still, putting aside the price, "Infinity" is an exciting proposition for Disney fans. The introductory three-pack includes decently sized adventures based on three of the most popular franchises of the last 12 years. Collecting coins and fighting evil pirates in the early moments of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" set might remind you of the "Lego" series of movie-based, kid-friendly beat-'em-ups, especially if you're playing co-op with a friend. But then you'll unlock a pirate ship and take part in visually elaborate but mechanically simple naval battles with opposing ships. The "Monsters" set is less about brawling than pranking your rival college. The "Incredibles" has an open-world city setup that greatly resembles "Lego City Under-cover." Missions can be a little repetitive and straightforward, but these games aren't lazy cash-ins. They're well-thought-out adaptations of the source material.
There's also a toy box mode in which you can redesign your surroundings or build your own game levels. It's like "Little Big Planet" with Disney characters, with dozens of recognizable characters and concepts unlocked as you play the game. Toy box mode lets you "imagineer" your own Disney experience, with, say, Mrs. Incredible riding Aladdin's elephant off a cliff into Uncle Scrooge's money bin.
The biggest problem with "Infinity" is its lack of classic characters such as Mickey, Donald and Goofy. All the current figurines are from movies released this century. That will no doubt change, but that lack of variety and historical context is baffling from one of the world's oldest, most storied entertainment companies.
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