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At the center of these is Marvel Battlegrounds, a new Play Set that Disney has released as a prelude to the upcoming release of the film Captain America: Civil War. Unlike earlier Play Sets, it includes only one character toy with the sculpted Play Set piece: a new, version of Captain America that looks more stern and lifelike than the Cap released for Disney Infinity 2.0.
Marvel Battlegrounds is basically a classic beat-em-up brawler that lets you pit superheroes or supervillains against each other face-to-face, echoing the conflict taking place within S.H.I.E.L.D.'s inner circle in the upcoming movie. Gameplay has two modes - Versus and Story - each of which offers a different experience depending on whether you are looking for a local multiplayer contest or a solo challenge.
Versus is a manic smashfest for up to four players. You pick from a roster of Marvel characters that you own or that you can ‘borrow' for a limited time if you have a Disney Infinity account. The fact that you can use toys from Disney Infinity 2.0 and 3.0 is a real incentive to add any old figures you see on sale at bargain prices because they will add variety. Once all players (supplemented by the AI if there are fewer than four) have picked a character and an arena, the battle begins. After that, it's a free-for-all.
Story mode includes an optional tutorial that introduces the basic fighting controls. It puts your chosen Marvel character up against a series of other superheroes that include Iron Man, Ant-Man and Hawkeye. Facing off against each of these, you learn maneuvers such as the combo attack, blocking, throwing objects, and special attacks.
After you complete the introductory tutorial you have the option to master other combat skills or jump into the story. The latter begins in a train yard and pits you against Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, thereby revealing that your choice of Marvel characters in Battlegrounds is not restricted to superheroes. Indeed, it's not even restricted to heroes; supervillains will fight for you just as well, as I discovered with Venom.
Story mode has four levels: Easy, Medium, Hard and Extreme. Easy will provide a challenge to young or inexperienced players, while Extreme should be a decent distraction for all but hard-core gamers. It's nice to see ta range of difficulties in a Disney Infinity video game because it extends the life of the Play Set and potentially makes it more appealing to Marvel-loving gamers.
What should grab the attention of all superhero fans are the toys that have been released to coincide with the launch of this Play Set. In line with previously released Disney Infinity 3.0 Marvel toys, the new additions - Black Panther, Ant-Man and Vision - have been given appropriate dramatic poses and are impressively detailed.
Moreover, their features strike a better balance between realism and Disney Infinity's animated aesthetic than did those for some of the Marvel toys that accompanied Disney Infinity 2.0. Indeed, the level of authenticity in the overall designs should push these toys beyond being merely kid's playthings into the realm of collectors items for fans of these characters. The only disappointment is Black Suit Spider-Man, which is just a made-over version of the Spider-Man toy released for Disney Infinity 2.0.
Although Marvel Battlegrounds and its associated toys will likely capture most of the attention in stores as Captain America: Civil War approaches, a few other character toys also came on the market in March. Among these are two characters from Zootopia that aren't associated with a Play Set and therefore only work in Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode.
The best of the recent releases, though, is the standalone Boba Fett, which was previously included as an exclusive in the Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars Saga Bundle for PlayStation consoles. The detail in this particular toy is top-notch with precise painting throughout. Another nice touch is the flap of torn cloak that is modeled as flailing in the wind.
This small detail typifies the extra level of thought that has been put into the designs for Disney Infinity 3.0's toys. It's one more reason why Disney Infinity is likely to remain the Number One game of its kind for some time to come.