Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS3)

Platform: PS3 

Developer: Blitz Games 

Publisher: Disney Interactive 

# of Players: 1 - 2 (Co-op) 

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) 

Official Site 

Score: Single Player: D+ (65%)/Co-op B+ (85%) 

Rather than cut and paste my Wii review of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two  from earlier today with a few HD-themed edits, I decided to get a little more creative... to a point. Yup, this is what happens when you stay up to long playing one version of a game after another, folks...

More Epic song? OK, I've got one- 
In HD, Mickey's hot as strong sun
The shadows here? They can't be beat  
with detailed backgrounds that are quite neat.

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two looks great on the PS3, with some gorgeous cartoon colors, more detailed backdrops, better draw distance and some great use of shadows that give areas a lot more life than on the Wii version. It may seem like a small thing, but the care that went into elements such as the bucket-carrying brooms casting shadows on the walls (and yes, recalling the Sorcerer's Apprentice sequence in Fantasia) add to the overall game experience. Granted, lovely shadows and backdrops don't make a great game, but for the most part, the game doesn't disappoint on the visual front...

The tale's much longer in this sequel
Music and sounds are just 'bout equal
Some gameplay tics, tho' do stand out 
You'll go down hard from leap to bout.

This time out, Mickey returns to Wasteland to help Oswald discover the reason behind a series of earthquakes that have wrecked the toon-packed towns. The Mad Doctor from the first game seems to have turned over a new leaf, so the pair are more or less working for him for a good chunk of the adventure. The story and assorted side quests end up being a lot of running about, defeating enemies and collecting stuff, but there's an element of choice when using Paint and Thinner that can change elements of the story based on how you play. While there's no clear "good" or "bad" path here, using Paint as much as possible seems to guide things toward more positive effects, while using Thinner can affect things in the reverse manner. One example would be Mickey thinning through walls to make a shortcut to an early area, which saves time, but exposes some objects in the map to thieves, forcing a side mission for you to go looking for he stolen goods in order to set things right.

But perseverance well pays off
As eyes, brain, fingers wheeze and cough.
 Despite the odd crushing defeat
Some parts will have you off your seat.

Yes, the gameplay is fun when things work as they should, but in solo play, Oswald is less a lucky Rabbit than a rabid pest with a few cursed feet. When you can get him to do what you request, it's a blessing indeed, but too many times he'll be causing you more trouble because of stuff he won't do when you need some help. Some pickups are inpossible to reach because his AI isn't set to understand that that his erratic antics can keep Mickey from even attempting a tricky leap.

Patience with bosses leads to winning 
successful jumps without knee-skinning 
In solo play, 'tis quite a beast 
When Rabbit spoils the visual feast 

The game controls well using the Move setup (you need to calibrate that wand before you dive in for best results), but plays fine with controllers, although manual aiming is slightly trickier. One problem with the game camera is it can be very slippery on the default setting and tends to rotate like some PC games where you can spin the camera by mousing the edges of the screen. There's a sensitivity setting in the options and it's recommended that you adjust it to your liking. The Wii version doesn't have a sensitivity setting (it doesn't need one) thanks to the basic controls carrying over from the first game.

"He's not so bright!" You'll oft exclaim 
Too many retries? "Oh, he's to blame!" 
That slippery camera? Adjust the Move 
And bounce right back into the groove. 

As noted in my Wii Review, Oswald can be a pain in solo play. Even though he's a bit of a spaz in the main game's environments, he's a lot less helpful in the side scrolling sections because he's constantly distracted and never seems to want to throw a switch or help you grab collectibles. Given that there are some hard to find items spread throughout all areas of the game, the fact that he's so lame as an AI companion means many core players aren't going to put up with solo play simply because of Oswald's antics

Yes, solo play is such a bear 
But with a friend it becomes clear 
The game's got promise where it counts 
In co-op, lots less tension mounts. 

On the other hand, play the game with a friend and the majority of the issues melt away like a Blotling taking a Thinner shower. Granted, both players need to get into the story and pacing, which doesn't always feel as "epic" as it should. Then again, if you're all in and a good student of all things Disney, there are plenty of areas where you'll get all giddy because you're seeing bits of history reassembled and lovingly placed around the game's outstanding environments. You can tell both Junction Point and Blitz have put so much love into creating the game that you start to wish the game had a few more months to cook up until it was done perfectly.

At day's end, the game's not half bad 
Its problems make me kind of sad 
Tho' much hard work when into this 
It's not what I'd call Epic bliss. 

So, yes - I'm recommending Epic Mickey 2 IF you have a friend or family members to play with, a bunch of patience and happen to be a big fan of the long and storied history of the Mouse and company. That said, I really want to see Junction Point and Blitz Games get to work on fixing the game up so some of the harsher reviews out there can be rewritten to reflect whatever updates have been applied. Um, I guess I should sing that part, huh? OK, don't say I didn't warn you - I'm all out of lousy verse ideas. Here goes nothing for the finale:

I'd say it's not the final page
some tweaks to code should quell the rage 
I'll hold out hope this gets a patch 
So I can make those two scores match!

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