|Posted by supercomputer276 on December 16, 2010 at 10:54 PM|
When Warren Spector signed on for this game, he said "You know, this is probably impossible, we're probably going to fail." Did they? ...A little.
Category: 1 Player Action-Adventure/Platform
Developer: Junction Point
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Ladies and gentlemen, the world's biggest shout-out. Epic Mickey stars Mickey Mouse as he discovers Wasteland, a world created by Yen Sin for forgotten Disney characters (which looks a hell of a lot like Disneyland; who's forgotten Disneyland?). While being mischievous with the sorcerer's paint brush, he accidently creates and unleashes the
Phantom Shadow Blot upon the model world, ruining it. Several years later, the incident long forgotten by Mickey, the Shadow Blot drags him into Wasteland for the purposes of obtaining Mickey's Heart, a measure of the love of the general public; without a Heart, no one can escape Wasteland. Attempts by the Mad Doctor to extract the Heart are foiled by the interference of Oswald the Luckey Rabbit, the first resident and previous leader of Wasteland) and Gus the Gremlin (one of several characters from an unreleased WWII short) and Mickey escapes. Having absorbed some of the Blot onto him during being dragged there, Mickey (aided by Gus as this game's exposition fairy) must find a way to escape back to the real world, and that might require the help of a certain forgotten half-brother...
The primary theme the gameplay builds itself around is duality and choices. Mickey is equipped with the magic paint brush previously mentioned throughout the game. This brush can release two fluids: green thinner, which removes cartoon objects (generally brighter in color compared to inert matter); and blue paint, which restores thinned objects (which make their non-presence known through faint brownish outlines). There are side quests to complete, items to find, and plenty of NPCs to talk to and enemies to kick (or befriend) the butt of, but when you get to certain junctures, you're left with a choice. Many of these junctures present themselves in the form of the game's bosses, the first of which is Small World's clock tower (REVENGE!!). There is (most of the time) no third choice. You use paint, you use thinner, or you go home (although, to be clear, you can use whatever you want at any time). Choosing either of these paths not only changes the results of the ending, but has the more immediate effect of affecting things like what sidequests are available. In-between the main 3D action areas are the Travel Maps, 2D platformer segments that take their design from classic Mickey cartoons (and three Oswald shorts).
The game has several good points. The gameplay itself is fairly solid, and really knows how to do a lot with the basic paint-thinner concept. The ways you can play with the environment to defeat enemies (such as thinning a bridge out from under an annoying Beetleworx enemy) prove creative. The music isn't particularly exemperary, but it's notable; when you have "Small World" for boss music and it works, you're doing something right. It's impossible to get everything in one go due to the nature of the game (you're not allowed to reenter stages after you've played them), but you get a new game plus after you've won (or so I've heard; I only managed to get through three bosses before having to return the game). Finally, the game's plot is one of the more unique ones I've seen in a video game, creating a world of forgotten Disney characters, both previous stars such as Oswald and bit characters like... the majority of NPCs, and making good use of them that matches fairly well when they were on the screens.
However, I have to thin the cover on the bad things, if you get my drift. The camera can be annoying at first, although it's easy enough to get used to with practice (and by using the C button instead of the Control Pad). There are a few holes in the plot that don't match with actual Disney history; the two instances that come to mind are that Oswald's career continued after Disney left Universal (although I'm not surprised this part was left out) and that first regular Disney cartoon character was Julian the Cat from the Alice Comedies (although he wasn't so much a star as Alice was). Some of the areas can get extremely dark, making it impossible to see and having to navigate by throwing out paint/thinner as a radar. The Travel Maps connecting the game's main hub to the two mini-hubs get repetitive quickly and show no signs of ever changing. Some of the things you have to do, especially when you're trying for the best ending, can get maddening; attempting to find the three flowers for a bouquet actually had me questioning how paint was better than thinner while I was going nuts looking everywhere. But what really bites me the most is that, unless you're targeting an enemy, you can't fire paint/thinner behind Mickey without moving the camera due to the way the fluids are aimed, even splashes. This makes painting/thinning areas between Mickey and the camera a little more difficult than it should have. It's more an annoyance than anything, but still.
Comparisons to Kingdom Hearts are not inevitable, and as I have yet to play any KH games aside from a snipplet of Chain of Memories, I will not be making any.
Ultimately, this game is rather hard to place. While I would definately want everyone who was around to experience Oswald's prime to check this out, that category doesn't often intersect with people with the skills for the more hardcore platform elements. Ultimately, this is a good game well worth anyone's time, especially for the Disney fans.
Paint the world up, or thin it dry? That's your choice. And that's the point.
Concept: 9 / 10
Oswald shows himself for the first time since Woody Woodpecker hit the scene and is all the better for it. One of the best stories in video games despite its minor errors. The unlockables are also pretty good, including an original Oswald cartoon!
Graphics: 8 / 10
High-end graphics don't tend to impress me, and that's no different here. But it looks pretty dang well considering the system's comparitivly lower specs.
Sound: 8 / 10
I don't find any of the soundtrack particularly memorable, but there's nothing particularly bad about it either.
Playability: 8 / 10
The camera could stand to swing around a little faster, and the aforementioned aiming-beind problem, are the only snags I hit playing this game. Otherwise, it's good.
Entertainment: 9 / 10
There's a ton of value to this game and it's well worth exploring... except for those two Travel Maps.
Replay Value: medium high
Since it's impossible to get everything in one go due to the nature of the game, you get to start again with all the collectibles you got before when you beat the game. I don't think you'll mind that.
Overall Rating: 84%