Despite all the hoopla around Star Wars episodes I to III coming to life in Disney Infinity 3.0, we all knew the real Jedi payload would be episodes IV to VI. And now we've had some hands-on with the Rise of the Empire playset, to see if does justice to those iconic movies.
Unlike Twilight of the Republic, which comes in the Starter Pack, Rise of the Empire is purchased separately as an additional playset (£30) that comes with Luke and Leia. More classic characters can be purchased to unlock and play as in-game: Han Solo, Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
Going hands-on with the game, it's evident that it builds on the enhanced combat mechanics implemented for Twilight of the Republic by developer Ninja Theory. This part of the game is developed by Studio Gobo, which delivered Guardians of the Galaxy for Disney Infinity 2.0.
Recreating classic moments
Although the setting is darker, there's a greater emphasis on fun and toys here. The recreation of so many classic locations will bring a smile to many a child (and big child). Whether you're charging over the surface of the Death Star about to initiate a trench run, piloting the Millennium Falcon into space, or battling AT-ATs on Hoth, it’s iconic stuff.
Anyone who remembers the AT-AT toys of the late 80s will immediately be drawn to the plodding monsters in Disney Infinity. Because in the game everything is a toy, the AT-ATs look very much like those plastic recreations adorning pages of the Argos catalogue.
In one set piece we played, you could pilot a Snow Speeder to tie up the walkers' legs and watch them tumble to the ground. Or you could climb up to the top of them and pop out a toy remote control. This then enables you to steer them into each other. Hilarity (and twisty metal) ensue.
It’s the kind of attention to detail that Studio Gobo brought to their Pirates of the Caribbean play-set for Disney Infinity 1.0 and Guardians of the Galaxy in 2.0.
Seeing more of the beautifully crafted figurines, it’s clear that many players will feel the need to collect them all. It’s a good thing then that you can bring in any Star Wars character you own into episodes IV to VI, even if they wouldn’t have historically been there. This adds extra value for each of the additional characters you purchase.
Another nice money saver is being able to download the game on its own and then buy just the playsets you want. If you don’t have have an Infinity Base you can pick one up on eBay for around £5 — just be sure you get the right one for your console.
It all adds up to a lot of Star Wars fun being packed into Disney Infinity this year. With that, and the new developers like Ninja Theory and Studio Gobo taking the helm, it feels like something too good to leave to the kids.
There’s plenty of competition in the "toys to life" space, Skylanders SuperChargers and Lego Dimensions to name a couple, but with these two Star Wars play-sets and details expected for a Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens expansion Disney Infinity 3.0 is still looking strong.