By Little_Socrates 12 Comments
So I never posted my Top 10 list to Giant Bomb. I apologize for that. Let's remedy that now. If you want to hear more Game of the Year Deliberations in the style of Giant Bomb, we recorded ours just as Giant Bomb uploaded their final day, and you can listen to that here.
Also, for those of you who wanted some long written thing, let's just drop in this thing I wrote about Disney Epic Mickey. TO THE WAY BACK MACHINE!
I'm sitting here next to Skyward Sword...again. So today I'm gonna drop some thoughts on Epic Mickey! This won't be a full review, as I'd only want to write a review having seen more than two hours of the game. That said, I don't think I'll ever see more than two hours of Epic Mickey, so that's okay by me!
So...Epic Mickey. 2010's major release disappointment; the gaming world lauded praise and press upon the game before its release, only to trash the game when it was all said and done. Its camera didn't work right; it was repetitive; it didn't go far enough. My question is, why did nobody see this coming?
Literally every preview of this game after the Game Informer cover (including the Game Informer cover story itself) looked supremely underwhelming. I feel that they were extremely open about the level of creation using the ink and thinner; namely, that it wouldn't be very high. The camera looked terribly uncontrollable in every preview of the game, and camera controls are almost inherently poor on the Wii. And I'd seen nothing in the art design that looked even remotely promising.
And yet, some people still lauded praise on the game after release. Adam Sessler notably loved the game, managing to argue it into the top 5 nominees for best game of 2010 on his show X-Play. So, when I saw the game at a friend's house, I asked how she liked it. She said it was pretty fun, but that she wasn't playing it. She offered to let me borrow it, and I (of course) accepted. An opportunity to play one of the most controversial titles of the year? Sign me up!
But, unfortunately, my decision was poor. Epic Mickey is a disappointing title. It's pretty amazing, really, how bad the game turned out to be! Epic Mickey somehow manages to be less than the sum of its parts; I would mostly blame this on incredibly boring level design. The 3D platforming sequences are simplistically easy, and the 2D platforming levels are literally without challenge. The way the thinner pits work in the 3D sequences is misguided; it's clear they're thinking it'll allow you to bounce back to dry land, but instead the dry land is so far away that it just forces you to die. There's simply nothing really to enjoy in Epic Mickey, and its technical problems hold it back even farther.
It's worth noting that the music has loads of technical issues, restarting its loop midway through combat encounters and midway through the loop! You'll hear the same ten seconds of a sixty-second song over and over again. It's supremely disappointing because the music itself is totally fine, but the game itself forces that music to be looked upon poorly.
Meanwhile, a poor decision that allowed the game to feel more repetitive than it probably ought to is naming each area of a level. For example, in the "It's A Small World" take-off area, the Asian and European areas are named as separate areas; however, they are aesthetically identical apart from one structural landmark and inklings dressed in the continent of choice's most racist wardrobe. By simply calling the whole area the "It's A Small World" level, room by room, the game would feel more like one cohesive area, perhaps similar to a Zelda dungeon.
Again, the small decisions like these would bother me less if the game had any pluses, but it really doesn't. The aesthetic mostly feels like an amateurish attempt at the style of Tim Burton or American McGee's "dark wonderlands", the creation mechanics are extremely limited, and there's almost zero story to speak of. Having now looked up the story online, the story itself is pretty much the premise of the game, which is seriously disappointing for those looking for a narrative.
Still, maybe it's worth talking about Epic Mickey. Not as a game itself, mind you; any conversation about the game Epic Mickey should really be had about American McGee's Alice (either the classic for innovation or the new one for the actual game.) Rather, Epic Mickey is worth talking about for its creation process. Warren Spector, creator of the classic Deus Ex, gave many years to this game. Instead, it turned out to be a farce. I was never fooled by Epic Mickey, but somehow, lots of people were. We should remember that our favorite creators can become misguided and create something that otherwise would have gone without notice.
So, I embark on a new year! I resolved this New Year's to write about a game, a movie, and an album per week. Of course, you know how to follow me here on Giant Bomb, but you can also follow my movie posts on Screened or my music posts on my blog. Meanwhile, Nerf'd is preparing for its next season which will begin sometime next week, and you can connect with us on Facebook here..
See you later, space cowboy...