voxatron's Disney Epic Mickey (Wii) review

Epic Mickey Not So Epic?


When I heard the words "Mario Killer" being tossed around about this game, I was of course skeptical at the very least, I mean  who hasn't said that about their platform before? But on second thought, I was like isn't Warren Spector behind this game? If anyone could deliver on the promise of a "Mario Killer" it would totally be the "genius" behind such critical acclaimed games as " Deus Ex" and " Thief" right?  At least I hoped as much....
 

The Story: Well, For The Most Part

" Epic Mickey" stars Mickey Mouse, (hence the title of course), it opens up with Mickey wandering into Yen Sid’s workshop (The Wizard from Fantasia), where he was working on building this seemingly Utopian magical model, well until Mickey accidentally spills a great amount of "magical" paint onto the world, resulting in the creation of the Shadow Blot.  Mickey then proceeds to fight it with a absurd amount of "magical" thinner believing it to be vanquished and takes off to avoid any subsequent trouble that might ensue.  
 
Many years later though, he's taken out of his element. Being "literally" dragged from his world  to the dark ominous world
 Mickey, Why you always all up in Yen Sid's business?
known as Wasteland, Mickey must now atone for all the chaos he's caused in Wasteland and  is willing to do whatever to set things right. By subtle circumstance, Mickey begins packing a paint brush which can recreate objects in the world that have been distorted by thinner. He can also remove objects using his own splash of thinner. These two abilities are mixed with some standard platforming, exploration and puzzle-solving  all thrown in for good measure.
 

The Good

Original Cartoon vs.  In-Game
  The Aesthetically Spectacular Factor
 The ambiance that's been created in "Epic Mickey" really serves to immerse you in this truly stunning and dynamic setting. The idea of course is that it's all a twisted version of Disney World, complete with familiar rides and locations, but made up of a medley of randomness. It's almost like a post-apocalyptic, ( WoW Outland)/ Fallout-ish take on Disney World and each location has its own unique design and feel.

The more complex environments are paired with smaller, side-scrolling levels which happen to be directly inspired by Mickey's and also Oswald 's cartoon past. These, too, are craftsmen like in delivery and offer the "player" a charming glimpse at what cartoons used to be like in the heyday of Disney. You know? Filled with musical farm animals and archaic forms of transportation, that Oh yea! just happens to be sentient. 
 
The Sad, Heartwrenching Story behind Wasteland                                          

What you eventually come to learn is that Wasteland in fact is a home for all of the forgotten Disney characters throughout the years. Unfamiliar ones like Clarabelle Cow,  Gremlin Gus and Horace Horsecollar populate this world. The ruler of these "forgotten" toons, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, whom was created by Walt Disney before the "famous" Mouse, but was lost due to copyright issues after Disney subsequently left Universal(so this game is also surprisingly meta too). But the whole interweaving of the Oswald-Mickey dynamic in general is some of the most compelling stuff the game has to offer.   

The Not So Great

 The Janky Camera for instance, and Oh boy! Is it Janky                                        

  A well executed camera system in a game shouldn't ever be noticed in the slightest. It's definitely a seen and not heard type standard, however this game's camera system is heard and it's heard really loudly at that. The camera unfortunately needs to be constantly monitored, and you're often fighting with it to show you the desired angle you want. Also the camera I'm pretty is sentient and is a real jerk, from just locking up and breaking the gameplay and other times just making you utterly blind. So to play the game without the camera ruining it all the time, be prepared to stretch your thumb absurdly. Basically the game should warn you dexterity and patience required. Really though, it's just a utter train-wreck in the camera department.

Staleness and Repetition definitely don't make for a good combination

So when trying to make a good platformer (at least from what I've seen),  you often want to give the player some new ways to interact with the world to avoid anything becoming overly repetitive.  Other acclaimed platforms tend to offer things like new costumes, different versions of levels, or  a different objective all for the sake of keeping things fresh. Unfortunately "Epic Mickey's" entire range of gameplay is played out in the very beginning and you end up doing pretty much the same old  things often, of course aside from the change of pace of being sucked into "magic projectors" now and then. 
 

The "Character Progression"?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 What can I say? It's few and far between. I mean there's almost no character progression really. No new equipment, no new abilities, squat. At some very select points, you can decide to  increase your paint or thinner supplies, but that's it. By the end of the game, you feel a lot like you did at the beginning, and while looking back and seeing how it  only hindered  the much more competent story.
 

Is the player's Alignment even really a factor?

 I'm pretty sure someone promised me this feature and that it was at the "very" least going to be worthwhile in terms of  going through the game's entirety?Warren?  So while it is true that you're given the option to choose how to handle certain situations,  it essentially only turns out to be just that a choice with little to no impact in game aside from earning a few trinkets and some unique dialog sequences throughout, but that about wraps it up entirely.  It mostly can be accredited to in my opinion to the "heavily" linear aspects of the gameplay, to overall having very little room for player control in general on any given situation you may encounter. So by having just strictly an A or B decisions occur all the time, it definitely leaves things to being desired and subsequently falls flat. But really? I mean something that isn't even drastic enough to make you want to play through the game again, they probably could have just spent the time else where improve some other mechanics if they were going to implement this so second-rately .

The Verdict

" Disney Epic Mickey" is visually and fictionally creative, but in other aspects definitely lacks in execution. It sadly has so much going for it, but by lacking the proper execution to craft any sort of befitting "player experience " outside of what's delivered very effectively in the story it otherwise falls flat of being the potential "Mario Killer" it was once coined with being.  If you are a truly hardcore Disney fan, and you're willing to overlook the technical issues the game has, you'll really ended up probably enjoying it quite a bit. But on the other hand for just plain casual gamers and hardcore ones alike, that probably aren't overall invested in the fiction are probably better off picking up one of Nintendo's very competent platforms such as,  "Donkey Kong Country Returns" or the older " Super Mario Galaxy 2" rather then just running out and buying this game, instead think about at least renting it because really as a recent Wii owner myself I'm finding out you definitely can't be too picky.

12 Comments
Posted by Yanngc33

I agree with your review the story sounds cool but the rest seems dated and doesn't even get close to being compared to Mario (especially not Galaxy) the only review I had read for this was from Chris Antista on Gamesradar and seeing how much he's a disney junkie, I can't say it was very informative about the quality of the gameplay. Good review
Posted by Voxatron
@Yanngc33 said:

" I agree with your review the story sounds cool but the rest seems dated and doesn't even get close to being compared to Mario (especially not Galaxy) the only review I had read for this was from Chris Antista on Gamesradar and seeing how much he's a disney junkie, I can't say it was very informative about the quality of the gameplay. Good review "

It definitely is, but yeah it's just such a shame it's brought down by the rudimentary gameplay. Your right though what's right with it doesn't really out weigh the wrong in terms of comparing it to any of Mario's titles.  I definitely think though it's something that people are probably going to learn quite a great deal from when making a platformer. Yeah I tired pretty hard to keep my Disney fandom in check when writing it.  Thank you though, I greatly appreciate it!
Posted by guthwulf

Why would anyone want to murder Mario? That's horrible.

Posted by NathHaw

I always felt that people were getting too excited for this game.  It has looked like a middling game for quite a while, but people were super pumped for it in some of the videos posted about it.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Two small criticisms I'd like to give about this review: 
 
1) The "spoiler" content: Those were things that have been heavily publicized about the game. Whether you read GameInformer, Nintendo Power, or even watched it being talked about at E3, this is something they've been selling the game on. If this is "the big reveal" for the game and, effectively, the story of the game, that's a HUGE downer, as having bought the "30 Nintendo Games You Should Pay Attention To" issue of Nintendo Power back in August already gave me the story of the game, and it's something I saw other places. Though I know previews of a game are something to be avoided in general, it's sort of unfortunate that doing research about a game I really knew nothing about already may have ruined the story for me.
 
2) REALLY nitpicky, but it's only been six months since Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out. It's not an "older" game, really; Super Mario Galaxy 1 would be, though. 
 
Otherwise, this was pretty much the impression I gathered from the game when I first saw footage of it at the Nintendo E3 press conference (where they didn't announce the whole story, I saw that in another interview.) Don't get why people saw more, though apparently X-Play saw something I didn't and gave it 5 stars.

Posted by Voxatron
@Little_Socrates said:
" Two small criticisms I'd like to give about this review:  1) The "spoiler" content: Those were things that have been heavily publicized about the game. Whether you read GameInformer, Nintendo Power, or even watched it being talked about at E3, this is something they've been selling the game on. If this is "the big reveal" for the game and, effectively, the story of the game, that's a HUGE downer, as having bought the "30 Nintendo Games You Should Pay Attention To" issue of Nintendo Power back in August already gave me the story of the game, and it's something I saw other places. Though I know previews of a game are something to be avoided in general, it's sort of unfortunate that doing research about a game I really knew nothing about already may have ruined the story for me. 2) REALLY nitpicky, but it's only been six months since Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out. It's not an "older" game, really; Super Mario Galaxy 1 would be, though.  Otherwise, this was pretty much the impression I gathered from the game when I first saw footage of it at the Nintendo E3 press conference (where they didn't announce the whole story, I saw that in another interview.) Don't get why people saw more, though apparently X-Play saw something I didn't and gave it 5 stars. "
Oh I hadn't the slightest idea, I tired to stay away from most of the coverage it got before but I'll totally have to do more research next time to avoid such errors. Yeah sadly outside of being a really endearing story and the absolutely stunning environments the rest doesn't necessarily live up. No that's a totally valid point, I just assumed it was older since I'm a recent Wii owner and I was pretty sure I was late to the party on it. 
 
But really good to know it's only like 6 months old instead of like a year or more but yeah I'll definitely have check that next time when I make my suggestions. Thank again though for all the constructive critiques, I really appreciate it.
Posted by ChristianCastillo

So I've been playing this game for about 6 hours now and I don't think I will be playing anymore.  This game's camera has actually been a game breaker for me, it is horrible.  Too much of the environment is dark and doesn't have the disney feel I was looking for.  This game is also very repetitive.  I was hoping for alot more from this game, what a shame.  Nice review, btw.

Posted by Voxatron
@ChristianCastillo said:
" So I've been playing this game for about 6 hours now and I don't think I will be playing anymore.  This game's camera has actually been a game breaker for me, it is horrible.  Too much of the environment is dark and doesn't have the disney feel I was looking for.  This game is also very repetitive.  I was hoping for alot more from this game, what a shame.  Nice review, btw. "
Sadly it seems to be a consensus with a lot of people. I definitely didn't think of that though and I'm sure they didn't either. Just more reason I guess they should have had all the mechanics worked out, so people who didn't necessarily enjoy the ambiance would  have at least be interested enough in the gameplay to finish it out.  Thanks! (:
Edited by vinsanityv22

I like how thoughtful the review was, but I definitely disagree. I am no hardcore "Disneyphile" - heck, I don't even know if that's a term - but I find the game more than worth it. I obviously agree that the camera sucks balls, and that there are many, many small baffling design decisions that conspire to undo the game as they begin to stack up. However, I also think it's worth putting up with these headaches just because the game is so cool and, as you said, it has so much going for it. The level designs are what mostly keep bringing me back, because it's always fun to go looking for hidden objects and alternate routes by thinning stuff away. But also the quest system; it's just neat to see how you can affect future events by helping out so-and-so now.
The game definitely is more of the "exploration" based platformer, a la the old Banjo Kazooie or DK64, and it clearly lacks when it comes to reflex-driven action. For that, Mario Galaxy 1/2, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Sonic Colors are all superior choices. But I suppose I find Epic Mickey to be more successful as a game than I guess you do. Probably because I actually kinda miss games like Banjo, even though they probably are more repetitive.  
You make some excellent points though; I'd love to see Mickey go through some character progression. Get some new outfits, equipment - more like a Zelda game, perhaps? And melee combat would be SO MUCH BETTER than the combat as it is now, considering the failure of the camera (and also, many areas are simply too small to properly facilitate fights). I'd much rather see Mickey dual wield paint brushes like swords, especially after Kingdom Hearts, than have to hose down these annoyances whilst fighting a camera.
Just had to throw my two cents in there. I like the game a lot, and hope it does well. At least well enough that Disney doesn't deem it a failure and decide that games like this aren't worth it. I'd much rather see more Epic Mickey's, Split/Second's, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned's from them than more shovelware like "Disney Sing It". I always thought that those games were designed to bring in revenue to fund titles like this one.
But dude; don't get me wrong. I may not entirely agree with you, but the review was well done.

Posted by vinsanityv22
@ChristianCastillo:  I think the game is dark to encourage you to paint the world back in. But yes I know what you're talking about; I had to adjust my tv to see areas like Tomorrow City and Ventureland. That's obnoxious. More obnoxious than Gus constantly telling you what to do (and in some cases, telling you wrong information). 
For me, it took about 4 hours before I started seeing new things and cool levels. And for the training wheels to come off. But the beginning of the game is pretty terrible, with few exceptions. I started to dig it a lot once I saw MickeyJunk Mountain personally.
Posted by Voxatron
@vinsanityv22 said:
" I like how thoughtful the review was, but I definitely disagree. I am no hardcore "Disneyphile" - heck, I don't even know if that's a term - but I find the game more than worth it. I obviously agree that the camera sucks balls, and that there are many, many small baffling design decisions that conspire to undo the game as they begin to stack up. However, I also think it's worth putting up with these headaches just because the game is so cool and, as you said, it has so much going for it. The level designs are what mostly keep bringing me back, because it's always fun to go looking for hidden objects and alternate routes by thinning stuff away. But also the quest system; it's just neat to see how you can affect future events by helping out so-and-so now. The game definitely is more of the "exploration" based platformer, a la the old Banjo Kazooie or DK64, and it clearly lacks when it comes to reflex-driven action. For that, Mario Galaxy 1/2, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Sonic Colors are all superior choices. But I suppose I find Epic Mickey to be more successful as a game than I guess you do. Probably because I actually kinda miss games like Banjo, even though they probably are more repetitive.   You make some excellent points though; I'd love to see Mickey go through some character progression. Get some new outfits, equipment - more like a Zelda game, perhaps? And melee combat would be SO MUCH BETTER than the combat as it is now, considering the failure of the camera (and also, many areas are simply too small to properly facilitate fights). I'd much rather see Mickey dual wield paint brushes like swords, especially after Kingdom Hearts, than have to hose down these annoyances whilst fighting a camera.Just had to throw my two cents in there. I like the game a lot, and hope it does well. At least well enough that Disney doesn't deem it a failure and decide that games like this aren't worth it. I'd much rather see more Epic Mickey's, Split/Second's, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned's from them than more shovelware like "Disney Sing It". I always thought that those games were designed to bring in revenue to fund titles like this one. But dude; don't get me wrong. I may not entirely agree with you, but the review was well done. "
Thanks, I greatly appreciate the complements. But, in terms of the review in all actuality, well personally at least I was probably some where closer to your evaluation I just wanted to try my hardest not to be biased in any way when I wrote this.  For instance, the nostalgia aspects if course, or the fact that regardless of it's flaws its eons ahead of the shovelware, and lastly in particular my incessant Disney fandom. I just thought that at the very least this game deserves to be reviewed on it's on merits and it's on merits alone and that it most definitely deserves to be at least compared to it's top competition. I couldn't agree with you more though in hoping they don't deem it a failure, I really doubt they will though, I've go high hopes at the very least.
Posted by NovaXz

Pretty much agree with everything you have said. I put about 4 hours into the game and couldn't take it. The premise of the game is intriguing but the execution just feels archaic and ultimately ends up being frustrating. Here's hoping Warren gets another shot at something amazing.

Other reviews for Disney Epic Mickey (Wii)

    Not so epic, but not so bad 0

     What initially comes off as glorified product placement, Disney Epic Mickey is much more. Disney's attempt to make Mickey relevant to more than just kids by taking a step in the right direction, backwards in time. Walt Disney's first cartoon creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, is ruler of the world of forgotten characters, such as himself, and he wants Mickey to take no part in his world. Oswald is mad at Mickey for stealing his thunder after Disney lost the rights to him over 80 years ag...

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