Disney and Junction Point’s first stab at Epic Mickey was a Wii affair only. For many Disney fans and core gamers that was a serious disappointment. The Wii is widely considered an underpowered system with an inarticulate control system. This time, Disney is bringing the sequel, Epic Mickey 2 to all of the home systems. I first got a look at the game on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles, over the summer. Epic Mickey creator, Warren Spector of Deus Ex fame also promoted the offering in a panel at the International ComicCon a month later.
In many ways, Epic Mickey 2 is a lot like its predecessor and despite the obvious reasons strongly resembles RPG icon Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts. Epic Mickey 2 is often a psychedelic adventure through a collection of Disneyana from the past. In Kingdom Hearts, players had two companions through their Disney adventure. In Epic Mickey 2, there is only Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to assist you and if you’d like, a second player can jump in and take control of him. There are no RPG elements and of course no crossover characters from Final Fantasy.
Nostalgia has made many gamers forget that Kingdom Hearts wasn’t a perfect game and likewise, neither is Epic Mickey 2. The first complaint with Disney Interactive’s latest effort is that it seems to be having an identity crisis. The art and marketing clearly appeal to children but the puzzles and controls are likely too difficult for younger ones. Directions like “over there” without a visual cue is likely to frustrate most. Luckily, there are no arbitrary location triggers like the original Kingdom Hearts game has. I remember clearing sections multiple times before finding the trigger that would allow the quest to continue.
Epic Mickey 2 does have multiple endings and other gameplay variables depending on how much thinner or paint you use. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really make the impact of that choice very clear. Speaking of using paint and thinner, on the Wii U these are applied with triggers and aimed with the right analog stick. Besides painting, Mickey has a spin attack and can jump or double jump. Oswald is controlled with a Wiimote and can’t double jump but can helicopter glide. It would have been nice if the game had utilized the GamePad’s screen instead. The action on the big screen is replicated on the small one and that would have made Mickey’s painting simpler and more exact.
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