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Disney Infinity 3.0: Rise Against the Empire Review: Fully Operational

The Rise Against the Empire set for Disney Infinity is much more appealing to the original trilogy nostalgia, and fortunately it happens to be the better of the two Star Wars play sets to boot.

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Disney Infinity's foray into Star Wars catered largely to a younger demographic. Between its starter set delivering characters from the prequels and Clone Wars, and a full set of figures from the currently running Star Wars Rebels TV show, it only made sense that a game aimed at kids focused the bulk of its attention to match. As an older player who cut his teeth on the original trilogy, however, the Rise Against the Empire set is much more aligned with my interests. And fortunately, it also happens to be the better of the two Star Wars play sets so far.

This isn't the result of simple blind nostalgia. I won't deny that the characters and setting are immediately more appealing to me, but Empire holds an edge over Twilight of the Republic by virtue of variety. Thanks to the original filmmakers' eye for visual distinction, the main three settings (Tatooine, Hoth, and Endor) are extremely differentiated. The tasks in those stages have a greater variety too, and the major shifts in story are bookended by more in-depth space battles than we previously saw in the Republic set. That focus extends to the figures too--by including Luke and Leia as the starters, it avoids the problem of multiple lightsaber-wielders feeling too similar.

Even in some of Twilight of the Republic's open world settings, missions themselves were separate areas and the whole affair had a very gated feeling. Empire is more open by comparison, with its environments housing lots to do amid the familiar sights and sounds. I also enjoyed space battles much more in this set, especially with the addition of special sections focusing on tasks like evasion or protecting allies. It gives the whole battle a constantly-changing, frenetic feel. 

It does come with some familiar open-world drawbacks, though, as the space between landmarks meant hoofing it between quest hubs. Plus, on two separate occasions it gates progress behind collecting in-game currency: first explicitly on Tatooine by locking travel to other worlds behind 2,000 credits, then more subtly on Hoth by making story mission progress reliant on constructing buildings. I had to hunt down a few extra sources of income, which slightly fractured the pacing. It didn't bother me overmuch, but it felt like deliberate padding.

As the set runs through the entirety of the original trilogy, it takes a few narrative shortcuts. Familiar scenes will take place in different settings, or with different characters, than they're portrayed in the films. It's severely abridged, but within that context does an excellent job of capturing the most iconic moments. 

Rise Against the Empire is still very much a combat-oriented set. In my original review, I was critical of some legacy issues for these sets, and found myself having much more fun with the full-fledged platformer of the Inside Out set. Empire isn't showing off the engine's flexibility as much, and on the whole I still recommend Inside Out as the best set of the three. As Star Wars sets go, though, Empire is a wookie's head and shoulders above the Republic set. I'll be curious to see how the impending Force Awakens release builds on this groundwork.


This review is based on a retail PlayStation 4 retail playsets and figures provided by the publisher. Disney Infinity 3.0 is available in retail stores for $64.99. Extra figures are priced at $13.99, and Playset expansions are $34.99. The game is rated E-10+.

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  • reply
    September 28, 2015 6:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Disney Infinity 3.0: Rise Against the Empire Review: Fully Operational

    • reply
      September 28, 2015 8:11 AM

      I find Infinity to be a sleeping giant. It has MUCH potential but its squandered with combat heavy playsets.
      I've also been critical of the figurines made available. They share way to many identical abilities and I question some choices.
      Id like to see Infinity create a true role playing experience, a true stealth game. This would put them as leader of the pack in the toy-to-life genre head over shoulders BAR NONE!

      I recently bought Lego D and I wanted to cry. I have to spend hours putting the pieces together before I could play. Needles to say the amount of time invested in building the toys did not match my fun factor when playing. Plus they are twice or three times as expensive.
      I doubt there is much future in Lego D, if there is any sense in the universe.

      Skylanders are great but are limited to the current game mechanics of the current game.

      I tell you, Infinity can and should be the definitive Toy-To-Life experience, but there inability to produce anything worth mentioning OUTSIDE of the paid playsets is telling.

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        September 28, 2015 3:39 PM

        I've watched my boys play HOURS of Disney Infinity 1 and 2, and most of the playsets are pretty mind-numbing. They have cool stuff going on, but the combat is very simple and just basically mashing buttons.

        I like some of the stuff they can create in the toy box... but I'm not really pleased with the actual gameplay so far.

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      September 28, 2015 8:13 AM

      I'm interested in picking these up to play with my girls, but the prices to get the most out of these games is just nuts to me.

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        September 28, 2015 8:23 AM

        You can get some great deals from these Infinities. I racked up something sweet when Gamestop had a buy 2 get 3 sale. Used of course, but that didn't matter since you can reset the figures. By the way it was ANY used figure, including Skylanders. I have ZERO idea how thy'll do Lego D. :(

      • reply
        September 28, 2015 8:44 AM

        It's really not that bad. You don't NEED every single figure or playeset to have hours of fun. If you can resist the "must collect all the things!!!" mentality these games thrive on, there's actually a solid gaming experience to be had with the base set.
        I played through the entirety of this Rise Against The Empire playset with just Luke. I own a bunch more, but I had so much fun with Luke that I didn't feel the need the switch. There's never a point in the game where it will say "oh, you want to play this level? Too bad, you need go buy more figures!!!"

        You don't need to be locked into the starter set if the clone wars era playset doesn't interest you. Buy the RAtE playset for $35, buy the base game digitally for $20 and then pick up a portal for $5 at GameStop or wherever. That's an amazing gaming experience with 2 physical figures for the same price as a standard game. If you want more dudes then you can worry about picking them up but it's not essential. Also, as rtricoche mentioned, these things are ALWAYS on various sales in different retailers.

        Plus don't forget the Minecraft-lite Toybox mode which lets you create worlds and levels. Even if you don't get into making your own stuff, downloading other people's content from within the game is pretty great. That's all included with the base game.

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          September 28, 2015 10:15 AM

          Good stuff here and its all true.

        • reply
          September 28, 2015 10:17 AM

          Although Ill confess to wanting to hear Cheewie's growls and Vaders breathing.

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            September 28, 2015 10:25 AM

            I NEED Han... And then if I have Han, I'm going to need Chewie. And how can I have all of those OT dudes and NOT Vader? Hahaha so yeah, it ends up being a money sink but only because my flesh is weak :)

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