Star Wars Joins the Infinity Universe
At E3, Disney invited me to their booth to check out Disney Infinity 3.0 . This time, they are bringing in Star Wars to the Toys 2 Life genre. Now that Skylanders has teamed up with Nintendo and amiibo, and Lego has its own Lego Dimensions coming out, Disney needs to be at the top of its game in order to compete. Were they?
In a word: no.
The problem with Disney Infinity 3.0 is that it stumbles over very simple design problems that anyone with a copy of Unity and a couple spare hours on their hands could fix. These are very simple and intrinsic problems that there is no excuse for. Either Disney Infinity ’s code is so incredibly broken that it simply cannot be fixed or Disney simply doesn’t care enough to actually fix glaring issues that any QA tester with a brain would (and probably did) point out. No matter how awesome the figurine line-up is, I won’t want to dish out lots of my hard earned money just to play with them in broken levels with broken mechanics.
Let me give you a few examples. The first is the layout of the buttons. The attack button is Y on the Xbox and triangle on the PlayStation. It’s mapped to the one button that is never used for basic attacks. When I asked if we could remap buttons, the team simply said “no.”
OK, so that’s a little frustrating. Well what about vehicles? I climbed into a snow speeder in the iconic Hoth level, and was asked to fly around AT AT’s to trip them up. Unfortunately, the snow speeder can pull up and down, like a plane, but if you press up on the stick you ascend, and if you press down you descend. This is backward for anyone who is used to flight stick styles of control. I asked the team if you could switch these controls in the options menu and they said no.
All right, so now I’m flying around in the snowspeeder, but the camera keeps swinging around wildly. I try to adjust the camera using the right analog stick, but the right analog stick makes me do stunts. The stunts don’t even do anything. I asked the team if I could change this in the options menu, and they said no. I asked if there was any easy way to alter the camera control, and once again I was told, no.
Great. So now I’m flying around in a janky snowspeeder trying to tie up walkers with a tow cable. I get close to a walker and the screen says “press square to launch a tow cable.” So I do, and guess what happens? I hop out of the snowspeeder. For some reason, Disney mapped the same button for “get in and out of the vehicle” to “perform an action with the vehicle.” How incredibly dumb is that? What’s worse is that these actions are contextual. So you have to get close to the AT AT to launch a tow cable. Then you have to fly around the AT AT to wrap it up, hoping that the tow cable doesn’t snap. If the tow cable does snap, you have to do it all over again. But if you were holding square after you launched the tow cable, as would be your instinct because you are grappling on to something, as soon as the tow cable breaks you would be outside the range of the contextual action, at which point the game says “oh wait, this guy wants to get out of the snowspeeder!” So you do and then you promptly get stepped on by a walker! It’s such a fundamentally horrible idea, and when I asked if you could remap those buttons in the options, guess what I was told?
Why on Earth can’t we do this? Why can’t we remap the buttons in the game? Heck, why can’t YOU remap the buttons in your game, Disney? The other buttons literally don’t do anything when flying a snowspeeder. Why couldn’t you have picked any one of them and made it the “do cool thing button” so that it wasn’t the same as the button that made you hop out of the vehicle?
And this is on top of already crap controls that make vehicles nearly impossible to steer!
The crazy bugs just kept coming as I played through the game. I tried to play a stage in Endor, where Lando Calrissian was giving me missions. I completed a mission and waited around for him to give me another one, and he didn’t. I continued to wait, for over a minute, still no mission. So the reps told me to run around. I ran until Lando was off camera and then when he entered the frame again, he had a mission for me. Oh? Was that it? Was Lando just camera shy? Had to get up his courage?
The problem with Disney Infinity 3.0 is that I don’t feel like a badass Jedi warrior. I feel like an idiot that is warring against the controls of the game. I’ve fallen through solid platforms, gotten stuck in walls, and made the game freeze on me, IN A DEMO! I know that there is time to fix these bugs, but if this was the level you chose to show the E3 public, what chance do we have that it will even be close to fixed during launch?