Were they taking the mickey with this game?
Epic Mickey 2 is the sequel to Warren Spector’s decent Epic Mickey game that was released a few years ago, and for some reason it seems that his team have forgotten what made the first game good – style and finesse.
For all the flaws the first game had, it pulled through on its sense of style, polish and attention to detail. Epic Mickey 2 however does not feel polished and lacks that layer of charm the first game had. Epic Mickey 2 follows on pretty directly from the original, seeing Mickey return to Wasteland to help Oswald’s quest into stopping the earthquakes ruining the land and (ultimately) the Mad Doctor’s evil schemes. The plot itself is decent enough and every cut-scene involving the Mad Doctor features fun musical numbers sung by the Doctor himself. Indeed, the cut-scenes again look nicer than the game (as does the art) but that is not to say the game does not look good.
Epic Mickey 2’s visuals are decent, with the brilliant art-direction and animation of the first game really helping proceedings, but the frame-rate does stutter, noticeably. There are times where the game feels as though you are playing in slow-motion and these really take you out of the experience.
Gameplay wise, Epic mickey 2 plays the same as the original but with a few new little touches. Mickey can now become invincible and invisible for short periods of time and there are a lot more side missions but the biggest addition to the game comes in the form of Oswald as a second playable character for co-op play. I did not try the game in co-op, but it must be said that Oswald’s AI when controlled by the computer is atrocious: he just never seems to do what you want; making you frustrated at things that really should be simple tasks to perform.
As mentioned above, there are many new side-missions to sink your teeth into this time around. But to be honest there are too many, one of them in particular I could not carry on for a reason that was never told to me, I simply could not carry on with the mission. The vast majority of these side-missions are found in the hub-world areas of the game (Mean Street and the gang), requiring you to back track from the place you are in the story just to give someone an item you’ve found. In my case, I could not find any real desire to do any of the side-missions to any considerable level but they are there for those of you who would like to get more out of the game.
There are a few other minor improvements such as the game remembering where you used thinner and where you didn’t and Mickey’s and Oswald’s costumes add a new layer to the RPG elements of the game, changing stats such as speed. However, most of the improvements found in Epic Mickey 2 are superficial and ultimately the game lacks the originality of the first game.
2D levels are back, and I still don’t really know why; they look nice and are great nods to the rich history of Disney animation but ultimately they do not play well. Thankfully, when you’re not getting wound up by the insane stupidity of Oswald, Epic Mickey 2 plays as well (if not slightly better) as its predecessor on the 3D plane. Unfortunately, the world you play in feels less inspired, particularly later in the game which sees you re-treading areas you went through in the first game albeit with less interesting stage design.
Epic mickey 2 is a disappointing sequel to a good game. For everything it does right in art and minor improvements to the flow of the game there is Oswald. Oswald’s suckage is the foul icing on a decent enough cake, souring the experience fantastically, but that is not the only negative to be found: uninspired later levels, lacklustre side-missions and bland stage design also hold the game back from the good sequel it could have been. Despite all this however, I still had a decent enough time with my second trip through Wasteland and Warren Spector’s love for Disney is still clear, just marred. Badly.
Oswald ruins what could otherwise have been a good sequel to a good game. Shame there won’t be a third one that could have banished Oswald to the same role he had in the first game.