Lasting First Impressions of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Developed by Junction Point Studios | Published by Disney Interactive Studios
» Two years ago, Mickey Mouse made his way onto the Wii in Epic Mickey, with a story penned by Warren Spector. With an overal metacritic rating of 73, the game was a relative success and we even gave it an IMPRESSED when we reviewed it. It was a fresh new game with intuitive controls specific to the Nintendo Wii. Skip forward two years and Disney brings us Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, this time available on all the major consoles. With such a unique game mechanic in the original title, I was hopeful that the fun would continue in the sequel with upgraded graphics and a new, thoughtful story. Disney provided me with the PS3 version of the game for review which I think is the better choice because the PlayStation Move controllers are the best substitute for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk Controls.
Epic Mickey 2 begins after the events of the original game and finds Mickey being pulled, once again, into the Wasteland to help the inhabitants with an imminent attack shortly after an earthquake rips the Wasteland apart. Working alongside Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who was an antagonist in the original game, Epic Mickey 2 is, for all intents and purposes, a two player co-op adventure. Playing in single player, Oswald is always there to help when needed. If a second player decides to join, they only need to pick up a controller and press Start to begin a split-screen game.
All of the elements from the first game survive the transition to the sequel including Mickey’s magic paint brush that can spread either paint or thinner to create or destroy. Oswald’s tool of choice is a remote control that can be used to power objects or create static electricity to ignite fireworks (bombs).
Overall, Epic Mickey 2 just seems to try too hard to better its predecessor but only succeeds in becoming less than it could be. Graphically, even on the PS3, the game doesn’t look like much more than the original Wii version. I was really hoping for a true HD Mickey Mouse game but it feels like it is just a port of the Wii version of the same game. The game tries to offer up some quick action moments but the slow control scheme makes that nearly impossible to enjoy. Using the motion controls, the PS Move wand is used to aim the brush and, by aiming at the edges of the screen, move the camera around. Unfortunately the camera controls are so slow and cumbersome, trying to aim, move and adjust the camera all at the same time just doesn’t work fast enough for an action game of this kind. I tried using the regular controller, hoping it might make a difference, but it doesn’t; this game is truly designed to be used with the original Wii Remote-style control scheme.
The saving grace in Epic Mickey 2 are the 2D side scrolling mini levels used as travel from one area of the Wasteland to the other. These platforming levels contain a good deal of hidden treasures to find and are fun to play because, in these levels, there is no need for camera control so they are much less intrusive and a nice break from the tedious main game. Unfortunately, they are short and only serve as travel between game areas.
The storyline also leaves something to be desired and, after playing over an hour into the game, I felt like there was no clear direction in anything I was doing. I was simply following the road forward from one location to the other with no idea why or to what end. Disney is trying to pack so much into this game that it leaves the player wondering what they’re actually supposed to be doing. The story begins with an earthquake and a warning of an impending attack but after completing many different levels and objectives, travelling from one location to another, there was still no sign of this imminent doom and I was left feeling underwhelmed and bored by the whole thing.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two seemed like a promising sequel to an otherwise great game, but lackluster graphics, unclear story and objects, and clunky, frustrating controls make for a game that does not beg me to come back for more. What it does do, is make me want to go back and play the original again.
Junction Point Studios, I gave you an hour and I am NOT IMPRESSED.