A NintendoFuse original review by Steve Cullum.
Game – Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Version – Wii U (retail disc)
Obtained – Review copy from Disney Interactive
Mickey Mouse makes a return to Wasteland for a cross-platform sequel to the Wii-exclusive, Epic Mickey. While it has great potential to surpass the original, does it hold up? In the end, the real question is whether to use the paint or thinner on Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.
Story & Plot
A series of earthquakes has begin to destroy Wasteland. Oswald, the Mad Doctor, Gus, and Ortensia believe the only one who can truly help is Mickey Mouse. This time around, Mickey partners with Oswald to start rebuilding Wasteland. With the power of Yensid’s magic paintbrush, Mickey will once again use both paint and thinner to build and destroy the world around him. Oswald also joins the game this time, donning a remote control that interacts with the electronic items in the game. He also has the ability to hover for a while using his ears, and uses his arms as boomerangs. Many times, Mickey and Oswald need to partner up to perform special abilities and save Wasteland. The basic story and plot are what should create a great game.
[SPOILER ALERT] After Mickey and Oswald become friends at the end of the original game, it only makes sense they come together for a new quest. [END OF SPOILER]
Like its predecessor, Epic Mickey 2 takes the look of a 3D adventure platformer with many puzzles along the way. You will go from one area of Wasteland to another, performing both main quests and side-quests. Some might have you gathering missing pieces to an important part, or finding certain characters. Along the way, Mickey will have the ability to make choices that affect the eventual outcome of the game. Will you create a helpful Mickey Mouse or a mischievous one? The choice is yours.
In theory, this type of game sounds great. In fact, the gaming world has been lacking in this genre over the last several years. The original brought some new light. The sequel, however, does not do too much to advance the ball. Other than the ability to partner with another player, the gameplay is basically the same. This is not entirely a bad thing, but you would think they would step it up more than they did. The only other new thing that it provides is more choices along the way, but it is often quite easy to see what decision will result in what outcome.
Up until now, this review could be mistaken for any other version of Epic Mickey 2. Where the Wii U version differs is in the area of controls, which is also the area that is suffers the most. While in the original, you used the Wii Remote to point where you wanted to use paint or thinner, the developers decided to not allow that for the Wii U version of the sequel. Instead, you must use analog sticks on the GamePad. This is a nightmare. Sure, several years ago, that was the only way to choose a direction in a game, but with the creation of the Wii Remote, we can now have the ability to point exactly where we want. Why not utilize it?
Even further, the Wii Remote is used in the Wii version of Epic Mickey 2, so why not in the Wii U version? It is important to say that the game does use Wii Remote controls, but only for the second player (Oswald). The player controlling Mickey is stuck with the GamePad. So feel free to play with a friend in co-op, but be ready for one of you to be stuck with the awkward controls, while the other will only get frustrated because Mickey isn’t painting or thinning in the right direction.
Graphics & Sound
Since Epic Mickey looked great on the Wii in standard definition, one would think the sequel would look fantastic in high definition on the Wii U. Well, it does look better, but it will not knock your socks off, as you might assume. The colors are both vibrant and dark, creating a believable Wasteland, but jaggies and other graphical setbacks make it look as if they rushed the HD version. At times they attempt to cover it up by implying that is just the way the environment looks, but if often just appears as if they forgot to finish drawing something.
The sounds and music are probably the greatest highlight of Epic Mickey 2. You really do get the impression of being in a forgotten Wasteland, just as you did in the original. This time around, though, the game is more of a musical, with some characters busting out in song at random times. While this might seem odd, it is quite entertaining, and it adds to the game’s overall appeal.
SCORE: 5 out of 10
With much riding on a great sequel, the developers really dropped the ball on this one. Sure, the camera is a bit better than the original, and you have the ability to play with two players in co-op, the horrible controls and lackluster graphics will not satisfy. If you really want to try this out, though, you might want to save yourself some cash and grab the Wii version.*
*Our review of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for Wii is forthcoming.