Video Game Review: Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Play Set

Disney's latest addition to its toys-to-life game borrows elements of Star Wars: The Force Awakens but doesn't feel redundant.

By , Columnist
Like the movie it's based on, Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens Play Set for Disney Infinity 3.0 doesn't add much that's distinctly new to the brand it borrows from. Nonetheless, it's just as much of an entertaining diversion as the Star Wars sets Disney has already released for the epic saga's newest generation of fans.

Like other Play Sets, The Force Awakens (TFA) comes packaged with two character toys and the game piece that allows this adventure to be played in Disney Infinity 3.0 (for the uninitiated, you still need a Disney Infinity base and either a game disc from the 3.0 Starter Pack or a digital download).

TFA_Screenshot_Lineup.jpgThe two characters included in the Play Set are the movie's two main heroes, Finn and Rey. Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren character toys can be bought separately but to use the latter in the Play Set you have to unlock him by playing through the adventure's early levels and finding his Champion Coin. All characters can be used right away in Disney Infinity's Toy Box mode, however.

INF3_TFA_PoeDameron_PackShot (Custom).pngChampion Coins for other Disney Infinity Star Wars characters are also scattered throughout the TFA Play Set. Finding these unlocks toys from the original trilogy, the prequels and Star Wars Rebels so you can use them in TFA, too. Conversely, it's possible to use TFA characters in the Twilight of the Republic and Rise Against the the Empire Play Sets if you find their Champion Coins in those games.

The adventure at the heart of the TFA Play Set borrows locations, ancillary characters, some events and a few lines of dialogue from the film but is sufficiently different that it's neither spoiler-ridden nor predictable. Unsurprisingly, it skips the film's brutal opening and jumps straight in at Finn and Poe's escape from the First Order's Star Destroyer in a TIE Fighter. This involves flying through the bigger ship's interior while being pursued by enemy TIE Fighters. In order to move the story along, your escape is inevitable but this section does provide some safe flying and shooting practice.

Proper gameplay begins after our heroes' crash land in the quicksand on Jakku. In a departure from events in the movie, this is where Finn and Rey meet before one of them (or Poe, if that's the character you're playing with) falls through the sand into an underground ship graveyard full of derelict TIE fighters and AT-ATs. Your first mission is to escape back to the surface again by finding the exit that brings you to Niima Outpost, the town where Rey and Finn meet in the film.

TFA_IGP_Rey (Custom).jpgDisney Infinity's designers have done an impressive job of recreating Niima and its surroundings. Within a geographically compressed area they have rendered a cinematic open world environment that includes the massive engines of a fallen Star Destroyer and several of the town's buildings. The level of detail provides a strong incentive to explore. You need to do that in order to collect enough points to move to the next level, which involves leaving Jakku in the Millennium Falcon.

After getting off the planet the Falcon is intercepted by Han and Chewie and then boarded by the Guavian Death Gang. This section provides an opportunity for extended combat. Thereafter, the game shifts to the planet Takodana and other planets beyond. You also have the opportunity for space battles in the Falcon, an X-Wing Fighter or other ships you unlock.

Throughout the game points can be collected by picking up piles of salvage. You can also accumulate the usual multicolored sparks by defeating enemies and by acts of vandalism. Sparks can be used to purchase upgrades. Bonus salvage and sparks are obtainable, too, by completing side missions that vary in difficulty (bear in mind that children need to be able to read, or have someone available who can read to them, to complete these).

One of the most impressive features of Disney Infinity 3.0 has been the quality of its toys as playthings and collectors' items. The TFA toys uphold this high standard, particularly Poe and Kylo Ren, which have an impressive amount of detail. The former is wearing his orange-and-white flight suit and black gloves. The suit includes various straps and attachments that are decorated with minor textural details and stand out nicely thanks to precision painting. Ren is carrying his three-pointed lightsaber but his most striking feature is his flowing multi-layered cape.

TFA_IGP_Kylo (Custom).jpgAlthough Ren's character is formidable in the movie, his effectiveness in the TFA Play Set is limited by the need for him to be in close proximity to adversaries and objects he's attacking. This is because the lightsaber is his only weapon. If it's blasting you want, Finn is a good choice because he carries a big gun and can wear tough Stormtrooper armor. Rey is formidable with the staff she carries when it's used in close-quarter combat.

As a film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens shows that you can make up for a lack of originality by maximizing entertainment value. Inevitably Disney's The Force Awakens Play Set also has elements that feel familiar. Even so, it has enough connectivity with its source material to leverage off the film's merits while not feeling redundant. This makes it a worthwhile addition to any Star Wars fan's Disney Infinity 3.0 collection.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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