Much like the Marvel Comics and Pixar films that inspired its earlier incarnations, the Disney Infinity games have always tried to appeal to adults as well as children, though with decidedly less success. In fact, it wasn’t until the Disney Infinity 3.0 Twilight Of The Republic playset, which was essentially a Clone Wars game, that it managed to pull it off. But while you might expect the same from the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset, which is set during the time of the original Star Wars trilogy that adults love so much, it actually falls a bit short for lots of little reasons.
In many ways, the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset feels like the Twilight Of The Republic one. While exploring an open world (which, in this case, includes such familiar original trilogy locations as Mos Eisley, Hoth, and Endor), you go on a series of adventures and side quests, as well as some one-off missions — such as when you fly an X-Wing during the Rebels’ attack on the first Death Star — all of which is pulled from the first three Star Wars films.
You also, as always, have a bunch of errands to run, such fun activities that including racing and space combat, a bunch of skill-based challenges, random run-ins with enemies, and a couple collectibles to, well, collect. And while some of it is just busy work — such as when you have to drive a bunch of new recruits around Hoth — most do further the story or, at the very least, add color to the world.
While the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset has many of the same tenets as the Twilight Of The Republic game, it is somewhat different in its combat. In Twilight, the main characters were all lightsaber-swinging Jedi, so the game’s action was largely of the hack & slash variety. But with Han, Leia, and Chewie not being Jedi, they use guns instead, which makes this more a third-person shooter.
This is not to say you don’t smack people upside the head in the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset. You can, if you want, play the entire adventure by punching and kicking people, since apparently Leia, Han, and Chewie all know kung-fu. And then there’s Luke, who has a blaster and a lightsaber, and can easily switch between swinging and shooting.
The problem is that the aforementioned shooting in the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset feels a bit clunky, especially if you play a lot of third-person shooters. And since many of your enemies are all gun-totin’ Stormtroopers, it’s not always easy to get close enough to smack them.
The arcadey action of the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset also — as it did in the earlier playsets — gets a bit samey after a while. Especially since it sometimes lacks any real challenge (well, for middle-aged men who’ve been playing games since the late-’70s, anyway). While taking down the AT-ATs on Hoth took a couple tries, most of the missions you run in this game aren’t challenging to either your intellect or your reflexes.
The Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset also has some problems that will only bother big Star Wars fans…and even then, not all of them. For starters, because Disney Infinity toys has a similar art style to the Clone Wars cartoon, and because the Twilight Of The Republic playset told a new and original story, Twilight felt like it was really a cool Clone Wars game. But for Rise Against The Empire, the art style makes it feel cartoony. Which, unto itself, isn’t a problem. But it does set up expectations that there will be humorous bits. And there are some — like when you realize the AT-ATs on Hoth are actually life-sized remote-controlled AT-AT toy —the game isn’t as funny or as satirical as, say, a LEGO Star Wars game.
Star Wars purists will also find that the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset is a canonical nightmare. Not only are Han, Chewie, Luke, and Leia often directly involved in events they were not present for in the films, but they also do things here that they didn’t do, such as Vader has his big father/son talk with Luke on Hoth instead of on Bespin. It’s kind of like watching a galactic version of a low-rent Civil War reenactment. Granted, it doesn’t take away from the fun of the game, but if you’re a stickler for such things, I’d avoid this like I’d avoid drinking the water in Mos Eisley.
I also have to say I’m disappointed in the looks of the characters this time around. While Princess Leia looks like a spunky Carrie Fisher, and Han Solo’s toy has a classic Harrison Ford-ish smirk, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca just look like a standard blond guy and a generic Wookie, respectfully.
Similarly, while the Twilight Of The Republic playset benefitted from having the cartoon’s voice cast reprising their roles, the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset does not feature the voices of Fisher, Ford, or Hamill. And while their sound-a-likes aren’t as bad as the one Zen Studios has used for Solo in their Star Wards pinball games, they still don’t sound anything like the original actors. Or even parodies of them.
The thing is, while none of these complaints about the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset are especially critical, they did collectively damped my enthusiasm for the game. And coupled with the game’s already somewhat simplistic and redundant gameplay, I found that the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset, like the previous Disney Infinity games, grew a bit tiresome after a while.
Which isn’t to say that the Disney Infinity 3.0 Rise Against The Empire playset isn’t fun, it is. Taking down AT-ATs on Hoth is as exhilarating here as it’s been in every other game that you’ve gotten to do it, and the same can be said for dogfighting with TIE fighters, attacking the original Death Star, and assaulting the shield generator on Endor. It’s just not, taken as a whole, as much fun as those other games…and that includes Twilight Of The Republic.