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Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two PS3 Review

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Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Image © Disney
"Epic Mickey" was a surprisingly fun family game, a trip through the history of Disney's most iconic character, Mickey Mouse. It was imperfect but it was also often clever, well-paced, and fun to play. These are words that I would never use to describe "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two," one of the most disappointing games of 2012. This thing is a near-disaster with some of the worst mechanics in pursuit of awful storytelling to a degree that even little kids will just want to play the original yet again. There's not a single department in which the developers of this sequel improved on the original in any way. If this game will do anything at all, it will make memories of its predecessor darker merely by association.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
  • Developer: Blitz Games Studios
  • ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
  • Genre: Platformers
  • Pros: Lovable Characters, Clever Nods to Disney History
  • Cons: Awful Gameplay, Repetitive Action, Dull Environments

"Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" returns gamers to the world of Wastleand, the setting of the original game in which forgotten cartoon characters go while modern kids pay attention to Woody, Wreck-It Ralph, and Nemo. All the work you did to save Wasteland has been destroyed by the Mad Doctor, returning it again to a land in need of your help. Mickey Mouse and his buddy Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (who can be played by a partner in your house for the best way to enjoy the game in co-op mode) head off to save Wasteland and its inhabitants yet again.

Gameplay

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Image © Disney

The gameplay of "Epic Mickey" was part of its notable charm. The game transported the player through Disney's own past, bringing back unheralded characters and allowing familiar faces to mingle with ones that have been lost to history. The mechanics of the game also worked brilliantly in terms of the encouraging of creativity. You threw paint at the world to reveal it or thinner to remove it. You were an artist, working through the most important studio in animation history. It wasn't a perfect game but it was smart and mostly fun. "Epic Mickey 2" completely subverts what worked about that title, taking the framework that seemed so creative last time and turning it into nothing more than a generic family platformer.

The world of "Epic Mickey 2" should be one of its strongest assets. With decades of Disney lore with which to play, why does this game look so bad? Enemies are dull and repetitive while city environments with stores and people to encounter look like last-gen graphics. Every once in awhile, something creative pops up in the "Epic Mickey 2" landscape but it more commonly makes the player sad because you're then thrust back into the lacksluter design that makes this title about as creative as a movie tie-in game. There are occasional nods to what this game should be but it more often made me even more frustrated at what doesn't work.

What truly sinks "Epic Mickey 2" is the same thing that destroys bad children's entertainment -- it undervalues children's intelligence. Yes, "Epic Mickey 2" is a kid's game and so it should be simple enough for children to play. However, the repetition of challenges, the missions that are ALL variations on how to get from point A to point B, the boring enemies, even the poorly-written musical numbers during cut scenes -- all of it feels like stuff that was designed for kids without realizing that modern children are smart enough to play most games designed for adults.

Graphics & Sound

The cut scenes are well-animated and will actually probably be more entertaining to the little ones in your house than the game itself. The characters of the game are well-designed and there are 2D-animated levels that are often surreal and memorable in a visual way. However, the bulk of the game looks pretty horrendous. The buildings look flat, the environments are bizarrely static, and the level of detail that gamers have come to expect in 2012 just isn't there.

Overall

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Image © Disney
When it was announced, "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" was a game that ranked high on my anticipation list. Maybe Disney could fix what was wrong with the first title and really expand this franchise in the creative directions that the original game implied. Instead, they went in the opposite direction, fixing a few camera issues, admittedly, but who cares if the camera issues are better if you don't enjoy that which the camera is pointing at.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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