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  1. Developer: Avalanche Software Publisher: Disney Interactive Platforms: Wii U Release Date: September 23, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone “And lo, there did God say unto Abraham, “Verily all your existing figures and power discs are compatible with yon Disney Infinity 2.0.” And the angels did sing, "Glory glory hallelujah.” - some Bible passage, probably. Ok, I“m probably going to hell for that, but in a lot of ways Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes already is heaven. Fans of Disney“s newly acquired Marvel Universe comes alive in the latest installment of what appears to be an annualized franchise in the “toys to life” category from Disney Interactive and Avalanche Software. And while you may or may not have played the first game, there are certainly plenty of reasons to look beyond the ”gospel“ and see if Disney Infinity 2.0 is the Garden of Eden, or a sinner“s paradise. Outrageous intro aside, the focus is clearly more on Toy Box this time around. Whereas Disney Infinity (1.0) has one play set piece with three story modes, Marvel Superheroes comes with only one story mode. And while it is true that Avenger“s New York is more than twice the size of The Incredibles's Metroville, it only has about half the playability of 1.0“s three-in-one set piece. What you get is a 4-6 hour story penned by famed comic writer Brian Michael Bendis. There“s no argument that the comic veteran certainly knows his way around a comic book page but I“m not sure he“s completely comfortable writing video games. In the end, the plot of the Avenger“s story mode is a disappointing collection of the same four mission types repeated to death, only two boss fights, and some downright criminal lack of resolution. The best things about the story are Samuel L. Jackson“s voiceover work for Nick Fury, the ability to play co-op straight out of the box (seriously lacking from 1.0), and the cameos by fan favorite characters like Lady Sif, Wasp, and Captain Marvel. Unfortunately those cameos are bittersweet because each one absolutely deserves to be a playable character. Even still you“ll likely not come back to single player once you're done, with only a few bonus missions that characters from other play sets are required to unlock, challenges, and collectathon type boxes scattered around to keep you playing. Of course, other play set pieces exist, with Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-man giving you more structured action should you be willing to invest an extra $35 to $40 (depending on your retailer of choice). Of these, I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy for the great level/world design it features, making it the most competent and enjoyable play set since the Pirates of the Caribbean play set (in 1.0, which is no surprise since the two share a developer). But if you weren“t so inclined, what else could you expect? Marvel Super Heroes does come with two additional preconstructed game modes that each have their own special hexagonal power disc. Escape from the Klyn and Assault on Asgard are a Disney Infinity take on popular game genres. Assault on Asgard is a tower defense/survival game, where players must set up defences between rounds of swarming frost giants and MODOK“s assault drones. Escape from the Klyn is an isometric dungeon looter similar to old school games like Diablo or Baldur“s Gate, just minus the clicking. Both aren“t varied enough to stand out as anything more than side missions but the chief draw to these is playing them unlocks the assets from each for tox box mode where players can build their own more varied versions of these games. Which, of course, leads us to Toy Box mode. While other parts of the game see some minor streamlining or improvements, Toy Box mode sees the vast majority, taking the previous game“s template of world building and open-ended possibilities and gives players even more. The first and far best improvement is simply how Toy Box assets are unlocked. 1.0 makes you spin to unlock them randomly, with spins only unlocked by leveling up characters and completing specific challenges. Basically, tedious as hell. Now, in 2.0, you unlock them by spending points earned throughout all modes of Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes. So even if you never buy more than the three characters that are included in the starter pack you“ll still have ample opportunity to unlock more stuff for Toy Box via the much improved new toy store. Toy Box mode is friendlier in other ways too. Auto builders now exist to help fill in the gaps for some of the more tedious aspects of building a Toy Box from scratch. Add the city auto builder and the AI will start popping skyscrapers into your Toy Box fast enough to give a city zoning commission some serious heartburn. Drop them all over the Toy Box and you“ll have a thriving metropolis waiting for you to fill in with all the details you“d like. There are auto builders for other stuff too, like grinding rails, race tracks, parks, and others. In the same vein as the autobuilders, those who might want to just start playing can plop premade mini games into the Toy Box. Each one is a drop-and-play minigame ranging from who can clear out enemies faster, collect a certain number of items quicker, etc. Nothing too complicated, but having options like this really helps out the younger audience enjoy the game outside of the more structured modes. Then there are the little things. Collecting more figures and power discs unlock a passive experience bonus so your characters level up faster. There are even more kinds of power discs now. Team up attacks and special attacks compliment the improvements to character combat and progression. Costume changes for specific characters exist as well. Figures themselves now have a level cap of 20 (five levels higher than 1.0) and the added skill trees make the characters feel varied and personal. Extended combos, enhanced damage, counter moves, and character specific traits are available through the skill tree, even to characters you bring over from your 1.0 game (though to a lesser degree). Combat itself even feels improved from 1.0, with combos being generally more entertaining all around. Certain figures such as Princess Jasmine and Loki were even developed in part by Ninja Theory, adding their skill for flashy combat to Disney Infinity. Since each character has a unique set of traits including flight, tech expertise, and super-strength, it's easy to want to experiment and play as as many different characters as possible. Unfortunately, the Wii U version in particular seems to run afoul of a few more drawbacks. All versions of the game have reports of glitches and crashing, but the Wii U version seems to have higher frequency in these respects. I didn't find much personally, in fact I've only had the game freeze on me three times in the generous amount of playtime I've racked up so far, but that's certainly three more times than a game should freeze on anyone really. The Gamepad itself is certainly underutilized, displaying overall stats and quest info in play sets, and item selection and off-screen Toy Box editing in Toy Box mode. And in general the main menu design is more frustrating than losing your car keys in a corn maze. In the end, Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes is still somewhere in between The Incredible Hulk and Guardians of the Galaxy; certainly improved overall, but with a few nagging flaws that really keep it from realizing it“s full potential. Even still, the game can easily be considered a more complete starter kit than 1.0“s, making it easier to get more out of the game“s various modes without purchasing a boatload of extra figures and play sets, something parents will be very happy to hear. Pros: + Greatly improved Toy Box mode + Co-op possible without additional figures + Combat feels up to super hero standards + Skill trees make characters feel personal Cons: - Various bugs, glitches, and freezes - Short and lack luster Avengers story mode - Confusing menu design - Minimal use of the Wii U Gamepad Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Improvements to the Toy Box shine brightly along with enhancements to combat and characters themselves, but technical problems and a boring story mode dims Marvel Superheroes's shine. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a retail copy bought by the writer.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Classic LucasArts Games Arrive on GOG

    During the early 90s LucasArts, the game division of film studio Lucasfilms, was a force to be reckoned with. They produced a catalog of fantastic titles (both Star Wars-related and not) although their focus shifted as years went on. More recently, Disney purchased Lucasfilms which included the LucasArts division. You may have noticed when a ton of Disney Interactive games showed up on Steam. Disney also initiated a partnership with digital distributor GOG. Here are the first six LucasArts titles to arrive on GOG: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis Sam & Max Hit the Road The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Star Wars: TIE Fighter Special Edition Star Wars: X-Wing Special Edition Steam users already have access to half of these. Current GOG DRM-free exclusives are: Sam & Max Hit the Road, Star Wars: TIE Fighter Special Edition, Star Wars: X-Wing Special Edition. GOG promises even more LucasArts games in the near future.
  3. Fantasia: Music Evolved is an upcoming music/rhythm game for Kinect. It doesn't really have anything to do with Disney's Fantasia, but that's beside the point. This Harmonix and Disney Interactive title encourages you to "become the new apprentice of legendary sorcerer Yen Sid, and explore and transform magical worlds by unleashing your musical creativity." Okay, so maybe it's a little like Fantasia with all the arm movement and pretty colors. You can see all of it in motion in the trailer below. Here are the tracks that are currently confirmed for Fantasia: Music Evolved: AVICII – "Levels" Bruno Mars – "Locked Out Of Heaven" Fun. – "Some Nights" Kimbra – "Settle Down" Queen – "Bohemian Rhapsody" Fantasia: Music Evolved will be available for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One sometime in 2014.
  4. Following his recent unemployment and the closure of his Disney-owned studio, Junction Point, Epic Mickey's Warren Spector gave a speech at DICE 2013. In his speech, he assured gamers that he wasn't ready to retire, as he has games he still wants to make. This speech began with Spector saying that he wasn't there to discuss "the elephant in the room," Disney Interactive, the recent closure of his studio, or the past eight years of his career. The only thing he'd say on that matter was that he worked with some great people on some amazing projects. After a simple "it's all good," Spector went on to give his actual speech about "The Graying of Gaming," which he refers to the aging gaming population that he is a part of, and discussed his disinterest in retirement. "I had a little wake-up moment last week in the wake of events," he said. "One of my programmers said, 'Why don't you just retire?' The answer was easy: I still have things I want to make. I'm not ready to go live on a farm." Spector continued to say how unsure he was as to how many more games he'd be able to make, but that his tastes in game designing have "changed dramatically" since he began his career as a game designer. Making games about armored men with big swords or alien-bashing space marines are not the kind of things that interest him. "I want content that is relevant to my life, set in the real world," Spector said. "If we're going to reach a new audience, we have to stop making games for teenage boys, or even teenage girls." Spector went on to mock Grasshopper Manufacture's recent title, Lollipop Chainsaw by displaying an image of the game on the screen behind him as he stated, "There are some games that should just not be made." He then continued by displaying images of Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead, saying how developers should celebrate diversity and "the ordinary" in terms of design. Finally, Spector closed with, "Put aside geekish things, and be guided by passion," followed by a display of his LinkedIn profile on the back screen. How do you feel about Warren Spector? Do you think he should retire, or are you excited by the games he might bring to the table?
  5. Until now, the only play sets we've seen for Avalanche Software's upcoming Disney Infinity have been for Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles, and Pirates of the Caribbean, which all come with respectively-themed toys and virtual areas to play around in. Now it seems another Pixar movie is ready to join the fray as a fourth play set has just been announced - Cars. The first three play sets will be included in a Starter Pack that you can get for $74.99. As for standalone play sets like Cars, you can get those for $34.99 each. Furthermore, each play set is said to add about 6-9 hours of gameplay to the overall game. The Cars pack will provide the Disney Infinity platform with Radiator Springs, as well as the characters that appear in Cars, extra items, and more. You can find Disney Infinity on store shelves this June, and more play sets are set to be released by then. Are you looking forward to Disney Infinity? Will you be picking up the Cars play set?
  6. Late last year, Disney Interactive revealed an upcoming toy-collecting video game akin to the popular Skylanders franchise. This game, bearing the title Disney Infinity, was announced to be releasing this Summer for Wii, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, and 3DS. And just like with the Skylanders games, you will also be collecting and scanning toys into the game itself, only with characters from famous Disney classics. The game's producer, John Vignocchi, spoke at a recent press event with news that his company will be releasing new versions of Disney Infinity every year after the first game's release. And to make things easier on your wallet, you will be able to use figures bought for previous versions in the later ones. Not only that, but figures bought for the later versions will, you guessed it, be compatible with the earlier ones. This is possible via updates, and will allow for players from all versions to interact with each other. In other news, the people working on Disney Infinity will also be working with film-makers throughout the development process. This allows the team access to films not even out yet, giving them time to create characters from upcoming Disney films that will be released with Play Sets alongside their respective films. "We“re actually directly working with them," said Vignocchi on the matter, "so what they“re doing is giving us access to their films as they“re in development, so we“re getting such early access that that is what is allowing us to create these Play Sets where we“re expanding on their content and collaboratively working with these film-makers to create a true transmedia experience." Disney Infinity certainly seems to be shaping up well, and Summer will surely bring joy to any Disney fan out there. Are you looking forward to Disney Infinity? What are your thoughts on the toy-collecting aspect some games are beginning to use? Source: Nintendo Life
  7. Jason Clement

    Disney Infinity Formally Unveiled

    Back in November, we reported on a rumor about Disney developing their own model of a toy/figurine-based game similar to Activision's hugely popular Skylanders and that it would be called Disney Infinity. It looks like the rumor was dead on, as the game was formally announced by Disney today, and it will indeed be called Disney Infinity. The game is said to integrate collectible physical toys into a sandbox game that will include the best of Disney and Pixar franchises. As far as the Disney Infinity platform itself goes, there will be an initial line of 40 collectible interactive pieces that will expand players' experiences as well as allow a certain amount of customization. In addition, there will be 17 character figures that players can bring into the Toy Box mode. There will also be an Infinity base of sorts that the figures and pieces will interface with. Disney Infinity power discs can also be placed on the Infinity base in order to power-up different characters with unique powers, gadgets, and so forth. Disney Interactive co-president John Pleasants described Disney Infinity as not a single game, but a platform that would grow over time. "Who would win a race between Lightning McQueen or Dash?" Pleasants asked. "Who would win a sword fight between Jack Sparrow and Phineas Flynn? This is the promise and magic of Disney Infinity. It's up to you to unlock the heart and soul of Disney Infinity." Principal creative adviser of Disney Imagineering John Lasseter brought out that the Disney characters and figures have been reimagined for Disney Infinity with a stylized approach that brings a cohesive aesthetic to all of the different characters. You'll notice in the pictures that the characters are actually made to look like action figures in-game to a degree as well. The game is being developed by Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios, of Just Cause 2 fame), who developed the highly acclaimed Toy Story 3 video game adaptation a few years back. Not coincidentally, the whole Disney Infinity concept was actually birthed from the development of a proposed sequel to the Toy Story 3 game that would have focused more on Buzz Lightyear and Toy Box elements in general. Disney Infinity is set for release in June on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, WiiU, 3DS, PC and Mobile, and will debut with three playsets based on The Incredibles, Monsters University, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Be sure to take a look at the announcement trailer below. http://youtu.be/96U2gkgK0o4 Source: Polygon Are you excited for Disney Infinity?
  8. You knew it was only a matter of time until something like this happened. According to an informant on Disney fansite Stitch Kingdom who has allegedly seen an educational video produced for retailers, Disney is looking to copy Activision's Skylanders model with a game called Disney Infinity that draws from the wealth of their own IP and characters (note: the source article looks to have been removed as the link redirects to the site's main page now as noted by Forbes). Both Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure and its recently released sequel, Skylanders Giants have met with immense success for Activision, so it only makes sense that someone else would attempt to emulate that format sooner or later. Skylanders was not only the best-selling Activision title of 2011 (even above Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3), but the best-selling video game of 2011, bar none. The video supposedly describes the use of plastic tokens to be used with Disney Infinity in order to teleport iconic Disney characters like Sully (from Monsters Inc.), Captain Jack Sparrow, and Mr. Incredible to virtual worlds via an infrared or USB device. And like Skylanders, Disney's game is said to ship with a starter pack and then expand with individual character and landmark token releases later on. Adding some weight to this rumor is the fact that Disney CEO Bob Iger mentioned that an “ambitious and unannounced gaming initiative code-named Toy Box” was underway (via New York Times). Toy Box certainly does sound like it would be an appropriate code-name for a Skylanders-like game, so we'll see what happens. Disney Infinity is said to release on PS3, 360, Wii U, and 3DS, but no release date was given as of yet. Would you be interested in a Disney game that emulated Skylanders?
  9. We're only slightly over a week away from Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two's release, and Disney is already releasing a slew of video content in anticipation of Mickey and Oswald's (ahem) "epic" return to consoles. The latest trailer/vignette showcases Playstyle Matters, which is an approach to the gameplay that allows players to tackle challenges however they want to, instead of having just one set way of solving something. This opens up a variety of possibilities and storylines, but also comes with different consequences as well. Hit up the trailer below to watch it in action and see for yourself. Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is slated to release on Nov. 18th on the Wii, PS3, 360, and Wii U. Additionally, its 3DS companion game, Disney Epic Mickey: The Power of Illusion, is releasing on the same day, and a demo is currently available to download on the Nintendo eShop right now.