Game Review

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Golly gosh, Mickey

When Disney Epic Mickey arrived on Wii in time for the Holiday season in 2010, it attracted a lot of attention due to its concept and the development leadership of Warren Spector, one of the industry's most respected figures. Its relatively late arrival in the system's lifespan meant it pushed attractive visuals "for a Wii game", as well as implementing an interesting "choice" system that, although a little superficial, was a welcome attempt at some extra depth. It had its problems, but was gratefully snapped up by plenty of Mickey enthusiasts.

It was a fairly bold undertaking, and now, two years later, its sequel Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two has arrived. This time around it's appearing on all major consoles, but its ideal home is arguably on Wii, with Remote pointer controls perfectly suiting the painting mechanic. Like its predecessor it promises new ideas, supposedly delivering a "musical experience" and interesting co-op. Unfortunately, it brings across the flaws of the first title, and adds even more of its own.

To start with the title's strongest point, in parts it represents some of the best audio and visual presentation on Wii. While the story is a tad predictable and unimaginative, it's acceptable with the acknowledgement that the target audience includes children. The telling of the story is undeniably excellent, with a combination of CGI and hand-drawn animation sequences teaming up with full voice acting and fantastic music; often the motivation to progress is to see the next cutscene. Some of the voices are a little grating, but that can be said of almost any animated film, so it's a very minor gripe. For the most part it's a treat, and the Mad Doctor does a lot of the singing with various moments of comedic effect; the members of the development team who took the loose story and produced these sequences deserve plenty of credit.

When you actually pick up the paintbrush as Mickey, the early going is reasonably good. The introductory sequence is good fun, reminds you of the painting and thinning mechanics, and even Mickey's less-than-ideal jump mechanics are more than suitable for purpose. The camera does a reasonable job, too, with instinctive adjustments on the D-Pad working well. Mickey meets up with Oswald, his co-op buddy, and if you're playing in single player the mechanic starts well: you go to the right spot and trigger Oswald's assist action with the minus button, and there are a couple of early puzzles that use both mascots instinctively.

Problems begin once the adventure settles into the main story, however, and it becomes clear that development deadlines and sloppy execution are going to plague the experience. As you start to progress to new areas it's obvious that, at times, this title has little idea of how a modern 3D platforming environment should work. Often they're just big areas with buildings and platforms scattered around, and rather than intuitively running around and traversing the environment, you're regularly scratching your head while fighting the physics and wonky camera. Some areas are well-done, especially a town where Mickey is tasked with sneaking through unnoticed, but often it can be an exercise in confusion and frustration.

The game does try to help, at times, with gremlin companion Gus positioning himself at the next checkpoint or place of interest. On occasion controls, camera and poor environments combine for maximum frustration, however, so even if you know where you're going it can be an infuriating trial. In single player Oswald is little help, with co-op specific areas often requiring you to stand in an over-picky spot before the action prompt will appear, and there are some moments where getting him to follow you is the biggest challenge. You'll hear him say "I'm on my way" a lot — at times you'll wish it was true.

Like the original, there are small snippets of 2D areas, this time divided between the stylish black and white cartoon reels and sections based on the Wasteland world. Like before, they're well executed and fun, pleasing on the eye and satisfying to play. On one occasion we did seem to break one area, getting trapped in a section with no escape and being forced to restart, but on the whole they're a stronger part of the overall package.

All of these factors make Epic Mickey 2 a very uneven experience: at times the environments are interesting, intuitive to navigate and a lot of fun, while the framerate and good old Oswald just about keep up, yet on other occasions the opposite will be true and you'll be desperate to progress for all of the wrong reasons. At some points this is a game that you'd readily recommend to anyone, but then it descends to a half-baked rush-job that can just as easily be condemned.

As you've probably guessed from the game's subtitle, this adventure has a major focus on co-op. In single-player, most of Oswald's actions are mercifully limited to using his electricity beam to power up outlets, or when there are two switches he'll happily jump on the other. When he's not being an irritant it works fine, but feels like an unnecessary fiddle as he does the bare minimum to help. If online co-op was an option then it'd be ideal to hop online to find someone to play with, and therefore make Oswald more useful in a fight, but it's local play only. The second player simply sets up a Remote and Nunchuk and drops in with a press of the 2 button; this switch to two-player is quick and splits the screen vertically, so pointer controls need a bit more precision. Graphical detail does drop a smidge, but thankfully the barely-acceptable framerate matches up to the single-player equivalent.

In truth, local co-op for an adventure game isn't going to suit everyone, so many will be stuck with the below-par AI. The basic story can be rattled through in anything between 8 - 12 hours; in theory there is a huge range of side-quests to do in order to gain favour, pins and other items from occupants of Wasteland. Such is the level design and the aforementioned frustrations that few are likely to feel the need to complete the substantial list of extras, and the sheer number of tasks can be downright daunting. Remembering the necessary backtracking to deliver a particular photo to a character, for example, doesn't feel worthwhile in the context of the experience.

Conclusion

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two often fluctuates from being entertaining and enjoyable to being a frustrating mess. In terms of characterisation and charm it's excellent, and some puzzles and areas can be interesting, but it's an incredibly uneven experience. The co-op concept seems unnecessary, in truth, and the overall package feels rushed and incomplete; it's certainly not up to the standards of its predecessor. Fans of Mickey will get some enjoyment from the better stages and adore the presentation, while others may bemoan the fairly regular blips of confusing design and messy execution.

More Stories

Game Trailer

Venture behind the scenes of Wasteland, the setting for Junction Point's Disney Epic Mickey 2, coming to Wii in 2012. Find out more at http:

User Comments (34)

DreamyViridi

#1

DreamyViridi said:

I wasn't going to get this anyway but a 5? Yikes, the game can't be that average; what does everyone else think of Epic Mickey 2?

Cipher

#2

Cipher said:

@LuigiMan200 I recently beat the Wii version and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Yeah, it's got flaws, but I never found the co-op to be a negative thing and overall I thought it was still a pretty great game.

Nintonic

#3

Nintonic said:

It can't be that bad if they gave disney's epic mickey 1 a 7/10 and I enjoyed that one so maybe it is just a opinion.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#4

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I played the first game and enjoyed it. This game I played through as well and is THE most disappointing game of the year for me. The reviewer is spot on with hIs points. I actually think it also went a bit too sandboxy in parts and reduced the exploration a bit too much compared to the first game. Also the puzzles are mixed bag for me and I'm a puzzle platformer fan. It has it's good moments but the bad points kill it so badly. A real shame. Thought the first game was an 8 this was a 5.5 or 6 at a big push. :(

(It really lost that slightly dark edge it had from the first game. The camera is the least of this games problems! Very definition of bland despite having such a fantastic world and mechanic from the first game to build on)

Haxonberik

#7

Haxonberik said:

Wow, given that I actually thought the original was a rushed mess, Im just going to stay far awar from this one.

DerpSandwich

#10

DerpSandwich said:

The first game was flawed but fun. The second one is supposed to be the one that really shines, polished up and refined into a great experience. I don't know what the heck they've been doing all this time, but it looks like they put absolutely no effort into fixing its flaws. They could have had a great series on their hands, but I think they just blew it.

Firejonie

#11

Firejonie said:

I have the Wii U version, I think it's better than what the reviews are saying, love it as much as the first one so far.

DestinyMan

#12

DestinyMan said:

I can't say much about the game since I haven't played it yet, but despite its apparent flaws it still has some positive feedback on Miiverse. I really enjoyed the first game and the camera didn't bother me at all, so I don't expect to be bothered by this game either. It also helps that I'm a Disney fan too. It certainly can't be as disappointing as Power of Illusion.

DashDG

#13

DashDG said:

Never finished the first one beacuse of the horrible camera system, if this one has the same problem, ill pass.

Blaze

#14

Blaze said:

Wow, that's bad. Then again, I always thought the first game was lame anyway. u_u

Banker-Style

#15

Banker-Style said:

Massive fan of the original and anticipating playing this on Christmas morning,but a lot of reviews have put me off.But then again I can't see it'll be as bad as Power of Illusion.

Void

#16

Void said:

I liked the first one well enough, it was extremly trying in some spots, I did end up finishing it after a while, but the redeeming qualities of the first one seem to be over shadowed by the bad parts more in this one, so I'll pass.

supermariolinux

#17

supermariolinux said:

I rented the first game and it was alright so i was interested in a HD sequel. Looks like they didn’t fix too good what was problematic in the first version. A real shame.

antipop621

#18

antipop621 said:

Somehow this being a multiplatform release is a turnoff. I suppose I'll grab in on one system or another when its down to 20$.

defrb

#19

defrb said:

I think a 5 is still high. Ive tested this game and i was glad when i turned it off :P
But maybe some sort of gamers do like it, i would suggest you test it before you buy -.-

Omega

#20

Omega said:

Looks very interesting. If I still had money left over I would buy it immediately for my Wii.

Tornado

#22

Tornado said:

I didn't get the first one because of the mediocre reviews. I really thought this would be the kind of series where the sequel would fix the problems and turn out to be an excellent game. Disappointed to hear I was wrong!

iroxursox

#24

iroxursox said:

i have the game and i think atleast it desarves a 7 snd at most an 8. to bad they didn't port it to the 3ds.because the MM:COI was medcore at best

UnseatingKDawg

#25

UnseatingKDawg said:

Well, I don't follow reviewers too often. This is one of those times, so I'll see for myself how the game turns out on Christmas Day. I know the first game took me a while to finish (kept getting stuck and I was too damn hard-headed to look for a walkthrough online), but I think it had a strong and solid finish to it. This sequel looks pretty good to me, and I'm willing to give it a go. And I'm pretty sure I will curse Oswald's AI at some point or another - after all, any "drop-in/drop-out" character usually fails the player at some point (can we say Tails in Sonic 2/3?).

XCWarrior

#26

XCWarrior said:

I loved the first game. I am worried about this game. Kind of waiting to see if they patch the HD versions. If they don't, I'll get it for Wii when it drops in price. I didn't really understand the control complaints of the first one, I had very few camera issues. Seasoned N64 vet maybe why. I do wish they would have put more effort into this and the 3DS one from what it sounds like though.

GreenX1

#27

GreenX1 said:

Warren Spector is, and was an overrated hack even since Deus Ex. I agree with Tom Chick with this one, though I don't just see crates. I see a game ruined by Ion Storm's lack of team morale and Spector's bloated pride in himself for being in the same building as John Romero. I don't think he's learned much from those days, hence producing inferior Mickey games.

However, because Warren Spector has almost nothing to do with the 3DS game, I thought the demo for that was fine.

Gridatttack

#29

Gridatttack said:

"how a modern 3D platforming environment should work"
Its kinda hard at all to pull it off right. Most 3d level design often relies on decoration and scenery. Leaving level design almost nothing to take in account.
However, so far, Ive seen only nintendo managed to pull off great 3d level design that doesn't solely relies on decorations.

Katzii

#30

Katzii said:

A 5 would be about right, actually. I got enjoyment out of the game, but nowhere near the same as the first. Oswald made some bits very difficult and also made me make some negative decisions just because I found him uncooperative. That being said, I do want to go back and try this game again one day. It bugged me, but intrigued me at the same time.

RayWillmottStaff

#32

RayWillmott said:

It really is disappointing. Having played both Wii U and 360 versions of the game, I can tell you that the Wii U version is the definitive edition of the game. Unfortunately, that doesn't really count for a lot.

I was very disappointed in this one. The map is excruciating...

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