Disney Infinity - A Parent's Take

Our second take on Disney Infinity sees Randolph Ramsay tackle the game with his four-year-old son.

Our Other Takes present alternative opinions on games from unique perspectives. Click here to read our Featured Review!

Randolph Ramsay played Disney Infinity with his four-year-old son, but also played quite a bit on his own (about 20 hours in total). He's had minimal exposure with other toy-based games, but did play Skylanders for about two hours once with an 11-year-old as a tutor.

At the start of Toy Story 3, Andy--the owner of Buzz, Woody, and the rest of the gang--plays out a fantastic adventure involving a runaway train filled with troll orphans, a nunchuk-wielding Mrs. Potato Head, dogs with force fields, death by Barrel of Monkeys, and, of course, the nefarious Evil Dr. Pork Chop. It's a great sequence that reminds us that, given the right stimulus, there's nothing quite as freewheeling and wonderful as a child's imagination.

Disney Infinity provides plenty of fuel for young imaginations. It has an astounding array of play options for you and your child (or other pint-size companion) in its wonderful Toybox mode, allowing you to create, compete, or just goof around in worlds or activities you've made yourselves. While there are some missteps with the game's structured adventures, Infinity is still a great experience, particularly when shared with a little one.

In my time with Disney Infinity, my four-year-old son and I worked together to destroy the evil robots plaguing the city of the Incredibles. I helped him navigate the stormy seas of the Caribbean and destroy enemy pirates. I playfully showed my mock frustration as he kept shooting at me with a laser while I tried to build a gigantic race track. We laughed and played, and it was an amazing, impressive way to interact and spend time together using a game. And when I turned the console off, he continued to play with Infinity's physical toys. Infinity is a video game where play time that doesn't stop with the off switch.

Like Activision's Skylanders, Disney Infinity comes with a pad that you attach to your console, and you have to place real-world, physical figurines onto the pad to unlock their avatars within the game. Infinity's figurines are impressively detailed and full of charm, and the virtual sandbox in which you play with them is stuffed with possibility. The figurines are sturdy enough for normal play, but over-eager toddlers could certainly do damage to some of the more fragile characters. Dubbed Toybox, this mode lets you play with the digital avatars of your physical Infinity toys and create your own environments and adventures. There are a staggering number of options available to you when creating your own worlds, with hundreds of objects to unlock, ranging from simple environmental features and little creatures to populate your worlds, to more complex devices that can be linked together to allow you to create minigames and challenges.

The toys are well made and very appealing.

Younger players will be especially entranced by this mode, in no small part due to the huge cultural footprint many Disney and Pixar characters already have. There's no discovery process required with these characters; they're already well known and loved, and the tools you're given are simple enough to use that it's easy to get straight into the business of creating. Most children already know that Mr. Incredible is super strong, that Jack Sparrow is a dastardly pirate, and that Sully the monster has a loud roar, and will want to get them into adventures straight away. Want to build a racetrack through Cinderella's castle that Sully can race through? Or arm Mr. Incredible and Sparrow with toilet roll guns and dump them in an arena surrounded by enemies? These and much more complex scenarios can be created, and you can easily lose hours in the process of making your own worlds.

It's an even better activity when the experience is shared with children, particularly little ones who may need more help with the creation tools. While my four-year-old son was too young to grasp the finer details of creating, there was still much joy to be had by allowing him to be the architect and for me to handle the fine controls of building.

Whether you're helping them build or just watching as they work on their outlandish creations, it's rewarding to see kids being able to express their imaginations so vividly with characters they're already familiar with. It's even better fun trying out your creations together, figuring out what worked (and what didn't), or even just dropping any semblance of structure and just going on extended griefing sessions against each other. Given the number of options available to you and the open-ended ways you can put different elements together, playing around in Disney Infinity's Toybox is almost better than the real thing.

Sailing in the Pirates of the Caribbean playset is one of the more fun activities.

Those without the inclination to create something from scratch don't have to miss out on what Toybox has to offer, and can rely instead on community- and developer-created levels that can be downloaded and played. Some of these shared creations are impressive, although you can't edit them yourself if you haven't unlocked all of the pieces that were used to create them. And therein lies the biggest problem with the otherwise great Toybox. You need to gradually unlock the hundreds of different objects available, which means that even after many hours of playing, some of the best gear may be unavailable for you or your child to tinker with. It's a disappointing creative block, one that needlessly limits what you can achieve.

Regardless of whether you spend the time to create your own levels or play in someone else's, there's still a lot of pleasure to be had in the flowing, free-form mode that is Toybox. By comparison, Infinity's playsets seem almost pedestrian. These playsets are structured adventures set in particular Disney franchises and feature different styles of play. The Pirates of the Caribbean playset, for example, is focused on platforming and ship battles, while the Incredibles playset is an open-world action adventure. Each lasts roughly four to five hours, and for adults, these can feel little better than your average movie tie-in game. There's no significant challenge in any of the three playsets included in the basic Disney Infinity pack, and there are several rough edges on show. Enemies continually spawn and attack you even while in the middle of missions in the city of The Incredibles, for example, while mission destination markers sometimes disappear in the waters and islands of Pirates of the Caribbean.

It's rewarding to see kids express their imaginations so vividly.

Despite these niggles, navigating the playsets with a kid partner is still a joy, with the lower difficulty making them ideal co-op activities, particularly for those with younger children. My son and I enjoyed each of the three starter playsets and their unique gameplay. It was goofy fun to sneak around and roar at unsuspecting passers-by in the Monsters University playset; sailing around the Caribbean was surprisingly engaging; and taking on waves of robots in the Incredibles city was a great co-op adventure. The playsets may have their technical issues, but they're charming enough to play through, particularly if your goal is to support or guide a junior gamer through their challenges. With the different play styles on offer, Infinity is also a neat way to introduce your kid to a variety of gaming genres all within the one game, and be able to switch from one to another should attention spans start to wane. Be warned, though: you have to buy more figurines if you want to co-op playsets, because you can only use characters from the same franchise within their particular worlds. Since the basic Disney Infinity pack includes three characters from separate worlds, spending more is practically a necessity if you want to get the most out of the game.

Traverse the world of Disney Infinity as an adult, and you may come away underwhelmed. Its playsets never quite lift themselves above being better than average, while its extensive sandbox mode reaches its potential only if you spend the many hours required to earn its best items. But bring your child along for the experience, and Disney Infinity shines. It's an ideal game to play together with a kid, and it's a great virtual toy box that will help unlock and stimulate a child's imagination. And who knows? It might just do wonders for your imagination as well.

The Good
Toybox mode lets imaginations run wild
Appealing, expressive toys
Great co-op activity for parents and kids
The Bad
Unlocking Toy Box items takes a long time
Playsets have some technical issues
You have to spend more money on toys
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Disney Infinity

About the Author

Randolph Ramsay played Disney Infinity with his four-year-old son, but also played quite a bit on his own (about 20 hours in total). He's had minimal exposure with other toy-based games, but did play Skylanders for about two hours once with an 11-year-old as a tutor.

Discussion

269 comments
carloscanalesv
carloscanalesv

Gamespot will rate it badly due to gratitious violence & offensive portraying of women ;)

willishod
willishod

War in the ancient world was incredibly brutal and violent. So why is this game getting criticism for this when people have loved TV shows such as Starz's Spartacus and the film Gladiator for their representation of this in violent action scenes where gore was a major feature (not saying people only liked Gladiator for the action). The brutality of the combat in Ryse is meant to add to the atmosphere and immerse the player in the desperateness of war. It is meant to encourage the player to have an opinion and feel something about what they are doing. Those feelings may not always be pleasant but is it not more troubling that people constantly run down civilians and shoot police officers in GTA without any misgivings or feeling anything negative.

ahpuck
ahpuck

God of War's ugly little sister. I knew Ryse was a GoW ripoff, I just didn't know it was this much of a ripoff, that first trailer. I was laughing all through out. I rather play the real thing, actually, I'm tired of GoW, too.

nejijr
nejijr

I wanna see a actually gameplay not a trailer because trailers can make any game look good. This game is pretty and everything but to me the combat looks weird it does look like a fun game tho

Pupchu
Pupchu

How can people be excited over this..?! It's made by Crytek, a group of developers who only care for graphics.

iowastate
iowastate

the problem here is game that is geared towards toddlers is replacing three games that had fan bases of all ages.

first the Virtual Magic Kingdom then last month Pirates of the Caribbean online and Toontown were closed up by Disney and all three of these games were award winning MMOs that had people of all ages playing....thousands of paying subscribers, many if not most of them were families.

I personally know of people who grew up playing either Pirates or Toontown or both of these games spending much of their spare time from elementary or middle school on through to colllege years.

one girl started at 10 and got married less than a month before the games closed .      I played both games and there were people from all over the world on both.    Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Australia, China, India, South American, South Africa, U.K.

the veterans of the wide worlds of the older games are already disappointed in what we have seen on Infinity

phoenix5352
phoenix5352

I will buy a xbox one just for this game and the next halo.

isshiah
isshiah

This is the type of game I've always wanted to play. I loved wearing the roman type armour in the last two elder scrolls games.

masfima1
masfima1

This game is shaping up rather nicely imho

thall785
thall785

This game looks good 900p all you want fanboys but knack with all the power of gddr5 melted a ps4 and we've all seen it. i bet microsoft has the more durable console this time

Cronyk
Cronyk

this is either going to be incredibly good or incredibly mediocre..... fingers crossed its the former

mmamedic
mmamedic

I wish this was on PS4 also, I am not going to put a 24/7 camera in my house just for this game.

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

by judging at the topic ..... it sounds like Elton John on steroid

lorider25
lorider25

Graphics look good, but my gut is telling me it will be mediocre with QTE's I'm going to call it right now. 6/10

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

This will probably be the first game I run on my X1. Really want to see how it turns out.

apnance
apnance

Really love the idea of this game.  I hope the early naysaying is wrong.

huerito323
huerito323

This is actually the most interesting launch game of either console. I'm a sucker for the Roman times setting. 

dantcm
dantcm

A must buy for me. I am a long time fan of the Roman Civilization, and i will fully benefit from this game by immersing myself into it fully.

howiex89
howiex89

Looking forward to this. Hope they can pull it off. 

velvethammer2000
velvethammer2000

I'm actually really excited for this one. There's no question that this is the best looking launch game of either system... but I'm wondering what the gameplay will be.... So far the reviews have been mixed. Regardless it looks like it's worth a purchase.

fullyilly
fullyilly

I swear, there is no other game that has me as excited as this. 

Its so refreshing to see a game set in history rather than in fantasy. The story and characters look fantastic, as do the visuals that make them up. So epic.

Regarding the QTE issues, I have every faith that Crytek has listened to the complaints from the E3 demo, as lets be real about this, they are a business, they need to make money, so ignoring the opinion shared by seemingly everyone would make incredibly bad business sense.

I may well be wrong, but I genuinely feel that this game has got classic written all over it.

And as for that story trailer, good god, that was stunning. Crytek, I'm sure your engine is more than powerful enough to create a realtime version of this, so lets get a Ryse spin off in this breathtaking style please.





TashunkoSapa
TashunkoSapa

Yet we praise a game like Bioshock Infinite with original story and characters, but generic and tedious gameplay mechanics.

lilmcnessy
lilmcnessy

I've played it, it sucked. Constant quicktime events break immersion (although you don't have to do them but you do it anyway just to get rid of an enemy), characters get locked onto targets and it is hard to break the character from the combat and run away, camera angle issues and struggling to identify your character when you are surrounded and controls didn't make much sense.

Standalone88
Standalone88

I wonder,  how you can take this game seriously... after e3 presentation i still have bad memories... it was saving private rian's omaha beach episode, but with guys on wooden ships and in skirts and so i bet this game will totally be some blockbasters best moments copy...  who can fall on this...whoooooo)

focuspuller
focuspuller

@Pupchu I love guys that makes statements like this, as if to say graphics mean nothing to them. These are usually the same people who when they trash a game, they say "the graphics suck".


john1912
john1912

@mmamedic Your either stupid or have a really high opinion of yourself.  No one gives two shits about you.  No one wants to watch you play games, or listen to your worthless conversations.  Your not that important or interesting, I assure you.

Radnen
Radnen

@lorider25 Ryse doesn't have QTE's last I checked. The QTE's you remember were from an early demo at E3 because they hadn't finished the combat system yet.

apnance
apnance

@velvethammer2000 This game does look spectacular but I personally would give the best looking award to Titanfall atm.

cfscorpio
cfscorpio

Where did you play it? Also QTEs are a part of modern gaming. It's a way to make cinematic scripted sequences interactive. Did you have a problem with God of War's QTEs? They could have just had you hit one button and watch Kratos brutally slaughter on his own. Sounds like less fun to me.

cfscorpio
cfscorpio

Honestly that demo was pretty epic. Can't say it was fun to play because I haven't played it but it looked amazing.

howiex89
howiex89

@Standalone88 then gamespot came and impressions changed. but yeah stick to one old out dated presentation. 

Pupchu
Pupchu

@focuspuller @Pupchu If you played trough Crysis 1, 2 and 3 you'd know what i mean. Crytek's games are shallow.

thall785
thall785

@Cronyk @mmamedic why dont people get that they're already online 24/7 with a camera in their house that voice records?

josh7845
josh7845

@cfscorpio QTEs take away the organic nature of a video game and make the sequences feel heavily scripted and forced, thus breaking immersion. 

Pupchu
Pupchu

@focuspuller @Pupchu Bought the first one, got the second one as a birthday present a few years back, and i borrowed the third one.

focuspuller
focuspuller

@Cronyk @thall785 @mmamedic You mean kind of like that blinder that people put on when they buy a console even though console gaming in it's current form is out dated and PC gaming is a better quality and value even though those same console people pay more in the long run for less?

Cronyk
Cronyk

@thall785 @Cronyk @mmamedic People would "get" that they are already online 24/7 but they want their smartphones so bad they put a blinder on themselves. It's like a self-imposed state of ignorance. Problem is Kinect 1 didnt add anything to the gaming experience for the majority of people, so they feel free to bad mouth it. 

Disney Infinity More Info

  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • PC
    • + 4 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • Wii
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    Disney Infinity will be a new open world sandbox game where players have the freedom and opportunity to create stories and play experiences featuring characters from Walt Disney's and Pixar Animation Studios' most popular franchises.
    7.8
    Average User RatingOut of 62 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Disney Infinity
    Developed by:
    Altron, Avalanche Software
    Published by:
    Disney Interactive Studios, Bandai Namco Games
    Genres:
    3D, Open-World, Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Cartoon Violence