“Disney Infinity 3.0” is the best installment yet

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Just like the Marvel Universe was a natural fit to headline last year’s edition of Disney’s “toys-to-life” video game franchise, it was a forgone conclusion that the “Star Wars” universe would play a key role in “Disney Infinity 3.0,” especially with the new film coming out later this year. But while George Lucas’ space adventure saga is undoubtedly the main draw, there’s a lot to love about the latest installment, which makes some big strides towards improving the game’s all-around experience, as well as its future potential.

1) Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars

“Star Wars” is sort of like the cinematic version of The Beatles – everyone likes it, but we all have our favorite movie/album and character/band member. Thankfully, that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the team at Disney Interactive. Though it’s a little strange that the original trilogy isn’t featured in the game’s official Starter Pack – instead, you get prequel characters Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano along with the “Twilight of the Republic” Play Set – Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia will be getting their own playable adventure (“Rise Against the Empire”) at the end of September. In addition to those four characters, you can purchase other figures individually, including fan favorites like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Darth Maul, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and most of the “Star Wars Rebels” crew, all of which are compatible with any “Star Wars”-themed Play Set.

Those with a PS4 or PS3 don’t even have to wait to play “Rise Against the Empire” thanks to an exclusive Saga Bundle that includes both Play Sets and an advanced copy of the Boba Fett figure, but if you’re in the Xbox One or Wii U camp, don’t fret, because “Twilight of the Republic” is still loads of fun. In fact, it’s a marked improvement upon the Avengers Play Set from “Disney Infinity 2.0,” with more exciting gameplay and improved combat mechanics, that basically operates like a greatest hits of locations and characters from the prequels and “Clone Wars” animated series.

2) Upgraded Toy Box features

One of the biggest complaints about previous iterations of the Toy Box was that, despite trumpeting all of the great things you can do with the software, it was incredibly confusing to use. Version 3.0 fixes most of those issues by including a central hub with specialized guides that help you along the way, as well as introduces some new tools, like farming crops that give your sidekicks abilities; a Path Creator that can be used to build theme park rides, parades and more; and a Toy Dispenser that provides instant access to toys you would otherwise have to unlock through gameplay. Additionally, there’s a new online matchmaking system located inside Flynn’s Arcade, as well as an in-game access point at the famous El Capitan Theatre for uploading and downloading customized Toy Boxes.

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3) Toy Box Takeover & Toy Box Speedway expansions

For as much content that’s available in the Toy Box and various Play Sets, it sometimes doesn’t feel like enough, which is why these new expansion games are so great. Though “Toy Box Takeover,” a top-down dungeon crawler that pits your characters against some of Disney’s biggest villains, doesn’t officially come out until October, it was included as a pre-order bonus at certain stores and makes for an excellent party game with friends. Meanwhile, there’s no official date for “Toy Box Speedway,” a “Mario Kart”-inspired racer that promises over 100 different vehicles and nine themed tracks, but it’s shaping up to be the killer app of “Disney Infinity 3.0.” The best thing about both expansions is that there’s no restriction to which figures you use, allowing players to mix and match characters from the Disney, Marvel and “Star Wars” universes for the first time in the game’s history. Of course, they probably should have been included from the start, but they’re such a blast that it’s hard to be too upset with Disney’s decision to treat it like DLC.

4) Themed Power Disc packs

Though “Disney Infinity” is still a fairly expensive hobby/addiction, at least Disney has finally done away with those silly Power Disc blind bags, instead opting to release themed four-packs that show exactly what you’re getting inside. Currently, there’s a “Star Wars” pack for each Play Set (including a Power Disc that unlocks Leia’s Boushh outfit, FTW) and one for “Tomorrowland” that boasts some cool weapons. The decision to scrap the blind packs will no doubt disappoint those who liked the thrill of the hunt, but for everyone else, it’s a frustration-free alternative that ensures you can enjoy all that “Disney Infinity” has to offer without wasting money on duplicates.

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5) There’s something for everyone

This may sound a bit cheesy, but “Disney Infinity 3.0” really is fun for the whole family, especially with the addition of “Star Wars” to the franchise, as it’ll likely encourage more parents to get involved in the game. (Yes, even more than Marvel was able to do.) And because everything from versions 1.0 and 2.0 is forward compatible, it’s never too late to go back and buy older characters to add to your collection. Though some aspects of “Disney Infinity 3.0” (namely, the kid-centric Toy Box) won’t interest many adults, the Play Sets and newly released expansion games will provide hours of fun no matter your age, and that’s something that couldn’t be said about the previous editions.

  

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