Developer: Junction Point
Platform: Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3
Release Date: November 18, 2012
Review Notes: A copy of the game was received for review purposes.
Two years ago, Epic Mickey was released on the Nintendo Wii as an exclusive platformer. The game reintroduced forgotten Disney characters and is considered one of the best third party titles the Nintendo Wii has to offer. Despite the game’s voiceless cut scenes, not offering multiplayer, and horrible camera–it still sits amongst other top ranked third party gems.
It turned out Epic Mickey was just a stepping stone for a much greater adventure lying ahead. Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is that adventure.
In Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two The Mad Doctor is back. This time he is there to warn the Toons in Wasteland of a greater evil that will destroy Wasteland in a series of quakes. The Mad Doctor stays to help rebuild the damage while Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit are off to discover the new evil in an attempt to stop it from destroying their world.
Player’s will visit familiar locations from the first game as well as new ones inspired by forgotten Disney theme park attractions.
If you played Epic Mickey, you will be familiar with the basics of the game. Mean Street is used as your game’s hub where you can access different lands through projectors. Mickey will approach and literally jump into the portal structures. This time around, there are not as many 2D side scrolling levels themed after Disney Shorts and are not as challenging or as memorable. In addition, this way of “traveling” seems to take a step back as now there are multiple ways you can reach a given area.
The pacing of the game does seem to flow better with less 2D side scrolling levels to break up your exploring rhythm. Even with the change in level pacing, you’ll find that the combat is the same as the first Epic Mickey.
Epic Mickey 2 seems to focus more of exploration than combat. All of the Blotlings and Beetleworx enemies, who were both creations of the Shadow Blot nemesis found in the Epic Mickey, are back. The new evil is a mix between the two called Blotworx. Blotworx are machines controlled by Blotlings. To defeat them, you need to expose their weakness (a big red dot) and jump on it to have the Bloting pop up. It is your choice as to whether you want to paint or thin the Blotlings. Battles may happen but, as the narrative states, the Blotings are trying to coexist with the Toons. Without ruining any story spoilers, the heavy combat does conclude with boss battles. The only changes to the core gameplay are made to the notable flaws that were seen in the first game.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two attempts to address all aforementioned flaws. With the adventure following Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and “2” being a constant theme, co-operative play is a given.
Having Oswald as a drop-in and out controllable character is a great addition. Oswald has his own set of abilities and skills that involve manipulating electricity with his remote, and even flying. Oswald’s abilities are a great complement to Mickey’s paint and thin abilities. Junction Point made an odd choice by not allowing players to switch between the two during single player.
When it comes down to it, the game is meant to be played with two players. Sadly, there is no online feature. Without a second player, expect to be frustrated with Oswald. He often stays behind during platforming sections, is inconsistent with helping you during co-operative switch triggering, and will not be available when you need him the most. During battles he was either stuck in a given area and not fulfilling the role of being an effective partner.
For example, I had to continually hit Oswald through a tunnel between different locations in Ventureland. This was done solely because he would constantly stop at the entrance and go no further. Even during a stealth mission, Oswald would expose himself to the enemies thus defeating the purpose of the mission.
Even though most of the issues were attempted to be fixed, others were brought to new light for the sequel.
In addition to addressing the missing co-op feature from the first game, gone are the voiceless cut scenes. Giving characters a voice allows Epic Mickey 2 to have a deeper story (the main plot is sung in classic Disney fashion) and allows the characters to have their added familiar charm as they are voiced by their official voice actors/actresses. The game has a better flow between gameplay and cut-scenes because of it.
One other flaw that Junction Point addressed was the prior camera problems. Players now have full control of the camera. This is excellent for the single player mode, but could get horrid during co-operative play. The camera is not an issue with the new control schemes for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controllers due to its third person shooter like qualities. The left analog (LS) stick moves your character while the right stick (RS) is used for aiming and looking.
The left and right triggers are used for the attack/abilities buttons. The camera problems occur during multiplayer due to the split screen being vertical as opposed to the traditional horizontal split. With a screen that seems to be smaller than standard 4:3 ratio, you will find yourself adjusting the camera twice as often and getting stuck between environmental obstacles.
Epic Mickey primarily focused on the forgotten Disney characters; Epic Mickey 2 is all about forgotten Disney theme park attractions.
The attractions are represented in the different environments you will visit throughout the game. With Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two being available on HD consoles, the environment’s scale are grand and beautiful. The different environments and locations have so much detail; in essence, it is a character in itself. There is even a side quest where you have to take pictures, identified by a photo-op sign, of popular locations.
You will find yourself stopping to admire your surroundings trying to identify the environment’s inspiration. There is a nod to Disney’s rich history in almost every corner.
Completing the story without completing any of the side quests will take about nine hours. Completing the story and side quest will easily triple that time. There is so much content beyond the side questing that will keep you exploring the Wasteland. Such content includes finding and collecting film reels, collectables, outfits, scrap metal, clothes, and E-Tickets. If this is not enough content, Hidden Mickey’s are cleverly placed throughout the environment similar to how the actual theme parks.
Amongst your discoveries, “Hidden Mickey’s” can be found and photographed throughout the different lands. These Hidden Mickey’s are anything within the environment that resemble the synonymous two ear Mickey Mouse symbol. The extra content that stands out are the costumes for Mickey and Oswald.
Costume pieces are found throughout the different lands and/or bought at the Mad Hatter store on Mean Street South. Collect all three pieces (a head, torso, and feet) to unlock the costume. For Mickey, costumes reflect some of his famous outfits in his cartoon short library. This includes a firefighter, painter, and Mickey and the Beanstalk outfit. Oswald’s outfits are more fun as he can dress up as The Mad Doctor, wear exercise attire, or even dress as a Gremlin.
My Mickey is outfitted in his classic Steam Boat Willie suit and Oswald in a 80s Tron Costume. If this isn’t enough content to keep you playing Epic Mickey 2 then the addition of “PlayStyle Matters” will leave you wanting to play the game multiple times through.
PlayStyle Matters changes character interaction, environment, and your side quest’s based on your decisions on how you want to play the game.
This was seen in Epic Mickey in your decision to paint or thin your enemies. Epic Mickey 2 greatly enhances your choice making. A good example is the “rivers” flowing through certain environments. These rivers will reflect your use of paint or thinner. Luring the enemy into these rivers will make them friendly if you use paint, or melt them instantly in you use thinner. Your decision in how you handle enemies will affect other outcomes of the game, such as character interaction. The music will change also, reflecting your use of either.
These environmental decisions will also introduce two new type of inks found in inkwells: invisible and indelible. Paint an environment and invisible ink will become available. Thinning an environment fills the inkwell with indelible ink. Find an inkwell, jump into it and the invisible ink turns you invisible to stay out of sight of your enemies. The indelible ink is used to weigh you down and protect you from thinner. The effects of the inks will last based on your movement. For the invisible ink, you want to move slowly and stay away from double jumping as it will shed the ink faster. The indelible ink wears slowly in thinner and breaks off if you jump. The effects of the well is a small part of “PlayStyle Matters”.
In terms of the side quest for the “PlayStyle Matters” feature, two Toons will be seeking your help, but you must only choose one. For example, there is a side quest where two Toons are seeking a deed to an abandoned house. One wants to live there because her house was destroyed in the quakes, and the other has dreams of opening a magic shop.
It is up to you which Toon you want to give the deed to. The decisions are between whom you want to help often comes down to displaying good or bad behavior. Be careful because upsetting a Toon may prevent you from earning certain rewards, access to locations, or even banned from shopping from stores. This will provide unique experiences and may even drive you to return to the game, changing your interactions and choices for a different outcome.
The Final Truth
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is great improvement from its predecessor. All of the elements that you love from the first one are improved on, except for the 2D projector levels based on classic shorts as there are less of them and levels itself now have a “start” and “end” (unlike the first Epic Mickey).
The addition of co-op, a wealth of extra content, and “PlayStyle Matters” will provide countless hours of reply value. However the execution of the co-op could have been a lot better, since it is clearly favored to play this game with a partner, by having two separate screens as in Resident Evil 5 or even with a traditional horizontal split screen.
With the inability to switch between the characters, access certain locations without a co-op partner, no online mode, and broken co-op execution there are going to be flaws that will leave you disappointed. Despite these flaws, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is indeed epic for both adults and children to play separately or together.
+Length and Replay value
-Horrible Oswald AI