I was one of the few people who actually loved the original Epic Mickey when it came out on the Wii, so I was incredibly excited when Junction Point announced that they would be making Epic Mickey 2. Another adventure is Wasteland was begging to happen. Whether or not you liked Epic Mickey’s gameplay, it’s hard to deny that they built an interesting world that deserved more than it was given. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Illusion not only sent Mickey back to Wasteland, but gave Oswald the Lucky Rabbit a remote control and sent him along with you.
Epic Mickey 2 isn’t just co-op, it’s designed completely around it. Every puzzle in the 3D environments requires equal cooperation between Mickey and Oswald. I didn’t think I would mind it, since the Oswald AI is perfectly competent to work your way through the main story, but as soon as my ‘splorin sense kicked in and I wanted to find every damn secret in every corner of this level or that level based on some obscure Disney ride or movie that I could quote you way more facts than I should about, I had to force the AI to do what I wanted. Co-op is only split screen and it splits horizontally, which is okay, but a little troublesome when you’re aiming the Wii Remote.
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii [reviewed], Wii U)
Developer: Junction Point Studios
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Release: October 18, 2012
MSRP: $59.99 [Buy Now]
The first game has Mickey facing off against the Phantom Blot, which he accidentally created and set upon Wasteland. Epic Mickey 2’s plot is a bit all over the place. Quakes rock Wasteland and Gus and Oswald call the only toon they know can help, Mickey. Though why he’s the only one who can help is never really nailed down. The writing feels a bit sloppy and coincidental. You spend so much time without knowing who the villain is and the reveal was anticlimactic.
While Warren Spector said they tried to make the paint and thinning mechanics more impactful, and I felt that adding destructible environments held up by paint an effective use of that, so much of the world was either inert or fell prey to what happened in the first, painting and thinning didn’t seem to affect the world as a whole. Oswald doesn’t even having a tool that would affect the world or plot, he just zaps things to make Mickey’s life easier. While I don’t think giving him a brush would be the right solution, I wish his abilities felt like they really impacted the world like they always wanted Mickey’s to.
The world felt closer to the original vision and sections of the DEC actually felt creepy, but the gameplay didn’t receive enough shine as the world did. I love exploring in games, but platforming and looking around the world, which seemed broken into even smaller sections than the first game, wasn’t that entertaining. The world failed to grasp me like the first did and that’s even with the inclusion of so many more Disney references and nods. I did have fun, but there was an asterisk next to it the entire time.
Epic Mickey 2 was I game I wanted more than anything else I could think of. I saw so much potential in the concept that was just begging to see the light of day. I don’t know how they managed to misstep so much, and that’s just it, it’s not a mistake, it’s just a misstep. There is a completely functional and competent game here, filled with more Disney references that I loved, but playing it is so mundane. With this and the disappointing Power of Illusion, I can’t help but wonder if the Epic Mickey franchise is dead.