When I hear epic two things comes to mind: Epic games and Epic novels. But now there is a new meaning to me. I have always associated the word with a sense of grand scale and a deep story that spans hundreds of years. Even the name alone and the fact that the game had co-op had my expectations high. It’s a shame that they were due for an epic fall.
Epic Mickey was the hyped-up sequel to the Epic Mickey the Wii game. It was never the most coveted Wii game but now it was coming to the big boy consoles. Although since then it was split between several developers for the next installment.
A lot of the story is conveyed through song and it begins to grate on you after a short period. For the most part Mickey and Oswald are trying to pull the thinly stretched wool from in front of their eyes. For the little time I played the game the plot twist is staring horribly right at you. Even after pushing on I felt no need to continue because I had already come face to face with an inevitable ending.
The land in which the game is set is beautiful. A Disney lover’s wet dream. There are references and abstract Mickey/Oswald faces plastered from the floor to the ceiling. Several of the lands draw inspiration from the dynasty of Walt Disney and there is bound to be something that strikes a chord with your childhood self. Whether it is jumping on, and subsequently drowning, Baloo in an attempt to save yourself from lava or running around the jungle collecting missing items from Hook’s wardrobe.
Epic Mickey reminds me of Crash Bandicoot to an extent in terms of gameplay but with a more RPG feel mashed against the 2D transitions of a game like Alice or Shadows of the Damned. It’s an odd mix and not in a good sense. It’s not the childish equivalent of Darksiders 2 but more a junior games designer’s attempts at making something original buy mixing everything he has played in the last month together. It was okay to play for a while but then you also get introduced to a camera mechanic too, naturally Beyond Good and Evil must have had it’s HD re-release mid development then. I guess what I am trying to say is Epic Mickey reminded me of all the games I could be playing. I was never satisfied with any of the core mechanics enough to stick it out.
What’s more annoying is the different amounts of currency you can find lying around all the different worlds gets a bit confusing. There is scrap metal to rebuild the Wasteland, Disney Money to, eh, buy scrap metal, Mickey Ears to buy, well, scrap metal and some other kind of currency I never quite got round to using. For the most part I genuinely struggled to put the currency into a form of hierarchy to understand what I should be purchasing. In the end I prioritised the sketches. These sketches are kinds of magic spells you can cast and helped me rebuild The Wasteland for the most part. The remaining money was then spent on scrap metal. After a while The Wasteland was pretty much fixed but I was left feeling unfulfilled.
While I did managed to scavenge some fun from the depths of Disney with a co-op partner, the times a partner wasn’t available I played with two remotes to avoid a painfully slow AI. Without a co-op partner there was always a sense that I was missing something or I could be getting more from my game. Needless to say it just wasn’t that great. There was even a time where the AI sat under an elevated platform and spent several minutes trying to bash his way through the floor with his head.
There is a specific demographic that could be elated by Epic Mickey 2, they are just few and far between. There are a few shimmers of hope that can be caught in the pale reflection of the poorly painted masterpiece. If you have a little thing for Disney and need to show your affection feel free to indulge yourself but if you are struggling to make a choice from the abundance of games that have been released in the past month, cut Mickey loose and save yourself the disappointment.