By Matt Cabral
Back in April we discovered that “Disney Infinity 2.0” would be trading the princesses and pirates of its predecessor for an epic cast of core Avengers. Officially dubbed “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes,” the sequel to the popular toy-meets-videogame mash-up will launch with Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow, the latter three of which will be bundled with the game’s Starter Back.
As we recently learned at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo—E3—however, these six super heroes won’t be busting bad guys by themselves. Spider-Man, along with Nick Fury, Iron Fist, Nova, and Venom, will also get their own collectible figures which, of course, can be brought to life in the game’s virtual, interactive world.
More than just acting as spandex-clad sidekicks to the previously announced cast, though, these additional characters will get their own standalone Play Set, complete with an original story penned by Brian Michael Bendis. During a behind-closed-door demo of the “Disney Infinity” follow-up, Avalanche Software’s head honcho, John Blackburn, teased an exclusive look at the Spidey-starring content.
The Spider-Man Play Set comes packaged with the web-head and Nova; Nick Fury, Iron Fist, and Venom can also be unleashed in the game, but must be purchased separately. According to Blackburn, the Play Set’s storyline pits Spider-Man against some iconic villains who’ve hatched an expectedly evil plan: “Green Goblin and Mysterio have teamed up and kidnapped Venom. They’ve taken some of his symbiote, cloned it, and are trying to wipe out S.H.I.E.L.D once and for all.”
Facing an army of Venom-wannabes might sound a bit daunting, but “Marvel Super Heroes” will give players plenty of tools to thwart the threat with web-shooting style to spare. While the first “Disney Infinity” may have been pretty light on pulse-quickening combat, the sequel significantly ups the ante. Blackburn says “locomotion and combat are two focuses,” allowing players to move and fight just as they’d expect from behind the feet and fists of Marvel’s butt-kicking cast. In addition to seamlessly web-swinging and wall-crawling through Manhattan’s cityscape, Spider-Man packs a varied arsenal of ranged and melee moves.
Each super hero plays differently, though, displaying the character-specific powers, moves, skills, and abilities that define them.
“Iron Fist is one of the most fun characters in the game to play because of his aerial kung-fun,” notes Blackburn. “He can kick guys in the air.”
Characters all possess super-moves as well, such as Nova’s ability to clear the screen of baddies with anti-gravity powers. Of course, “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes” can be played co-operatively with a friend or family member, so bringing the fight with two different characters will be the preferred way to play.
Complementing what Blackburn promises will be a “visceral and deep combat” experience is the sequel’s new skill tree system; sporting over 40 slots of upgrades, this character-customizing feature will allow fans to shape Spidey—and his pals—to their preferred play style. Whether focusing on ranged combat, up-close encounters, or acrobatics that’d make the Prince of Persia proud, players can personalize their avatars for optimal pain-bringing.
On top of teaching Green Goblin, Mysterio, and their minions some manners from behind a Marvel super hero of-your-making, Spidey’s standalone adventure will improve upon previous Play Sets in a variety of ways. In addition to an absorbing narrative—supported by more story-driving cinematic scenes—fans will be treated to a much larger world, more destructible environments, plenty of pilot-able vehicles, and lots of character cameos; Luke Cage made an appearance as a mission-giver during the demo.
Perhaps coolest of all, though, will be the addition of crossovers. While the first “Disney Infinity” didn’t allow, say, Captain Jack Sparrow to play in Mr. Incredible’s universe—or vice versa—“Marvel Super Heroes” bends that rule. Collecting 10 Iron Man tokens in the Spider-Man Play Set, for example, will allow you to bring Tony Stark’s alter ego into the game for a story-expanding, character-specific mission that sees him interacting with White Tiger.
With a new Spidey-themed Play Set and five fresh characters—that’s 11 total for launch day—revealed, it’s looking like both armchair Avengers and longtime web-heads will have plenty of day-saving to do when “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes” lands like a symbiote from space this fall.
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