The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Epic Mickey review

Who doesn’t like Mickey Mouse? It doesn’t seem to matter what race or religion you are, everyone seems to have affection for that mouse in the red shorts. We’ve even forgiven him for not being funny. I mean just shy of having your family raped and murdered by a man in a Mickey Mouse outfit you’re going to love that damn rodent. I said YOUR’E GOING TO LOVE THAT DAMN RODENT GODDAMNIT!!! At least that’s what the people who brought us Epic Mickey thought.

Epic Mickey features that lovable rodent Mickey Mouse shitting all over all the other Disney characters you use to see on the Disney Channel when they would show old cartoons at 5 in the morning. O.k. Mickey isn’t actually shitting on anyone in this game, but he seems to be the cause of and solution to any problem.

THE PREMISE

Mickey Mouse breaks into Yin Sid’s (Old dude from Fantasia) workshop and fucks up his project by spilling magic paint on it. Mickey tries to clean the mess but it just gets worse. So what does that lovable ass hat do? He runs away and ignores it for 70 years, has a wonderful illustrious career, and completely forgets about it much like how Walt Disney “forgot” about the holocaust. The spill that Mick causes turns into the Blot and sucks Mickey into Yin Sid’s project. That project being the Wasteland, a sort of dingy run-down second rate Disneyland for all those cartoon characters Disney neglects to use. So Mickey’s job is to stop the Blot and escape, in order to do that Mickey uses Yin Sid’s magic paintbrush. With the brush he can paint things into existence or thin things out of existence.

Sounds like a solid foundation for a video game, but before you play this let me break this game down into THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY.

THE GOOD

I think the best thing that happened to this game was how much freedom the art team was allowed. A lot of Disney’s famous images were re-imagine for the backdrop that is the Wasteland, which is simply a bizzaro world-esque version of Disneyland. Also Disney seems to drop characters that don’t market well like a bad habit, add the fact that Mickey not only acknowledges their existence in this game, but they also play a crucial role in the story, which is pretty cool to see. It’s also interesting to see Mickey try to justify why he is not in the Wasteland, because he hasn’t been relevant in years. In the gameplay department the puzzles and dealing with the bad guys was also quite fun. The puzzles often times played well with the paint and thinning of objects to open locked areas. One puzzle in the haunted mansion portion of the game was particularly difficult and enjoyable once I figured the mechanics behind it. Fighting bad guys with the paintbrush yielded many options. With the paint you could subdue your opponents into loving you and do the fighting for you. It was satisfying having an army of goons at your disposal. With the thinner you could just simply melt bad guys into a puddle or thin the platform underneath them and have them fall to their death. There are robot enemies that required you to thin their painted on exterior, and then while they try to recover you would have to spin attack to destroy them. Boss fights are also quite enjoyable giving you two options to defeat every boss (one if you decide to use paint and one if you decide to use thinner). Depending on which option you chose determines a small portion of the ending.  Which is a relief because all too often the ending is dramatically changed in games that present the player with a moral choice.

THE BAD

Two words: fetch quest. It’s a common cliché in video games where an NPC asks you to go grab some pointless fucking object for them. A game like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time did this quite well with the Big Gorron sword fetch quest, because in the end it pays off. Epic Mickey doesn’t have a pay off with these fetch quest and the sad thing is you have to do it in order to proceed to the next area. Doing so involves Mickey to travel the Wasteland via movie projectors by jumping into the screen. Mickey then must navigate a 2D environment fashioned after one of Mickey’s classic cartoons. Problem is some of these fetch quests requires you to go through these cartoon areas two or three times in order to talk to other NPC’s. Every time it’s the same shit. These fetch quest made the first half of the game tedious and artificially long. While I was exploring an area I found another unique problem: You can’t backtrack. One of the things to look out for is pieces of your animatronic friends (Donald, Goofy, etc). If you miss one of those pieces you can’t replay the level to look for it, instead you can buy their body parts at the gift shop for the price of… well it might as well be your unborn child because its that fucking expensive. Besides the hunting down robot parts for your pals there are tons of collectibles that are just as easily missed. As I played this game I asked the question “Why is it that every time I wanted to use a projector I was asked if I really wanted to use it, even though I could easily come back to the same spot, but if I crossed some invisible threshold I was locked out from that area with out even a single warning?”

THE UGLY

Every 3D game needs a good camera system, whether that system is a fixed camera or player controlled, it must provide the player with enough information for that player to make critical decisions. The camera fought with me the entire time. It was almost unbearable. I can’t count how many times I died in this game because of misjudging a jump or misjudging how close I was to an enemy. The camera is placed naturally right behind Mickey making everything seem flat and closer or further away than it really is. Trying to adjust from this position was painful enough. The camera moved slowly, which when fighting a gang of bad guys could mean you are dead. If you are next to a wall chances are you’re going to be looking at Mickey’s lovable taint, because I guess that’s the camera’s comfort zone. It’s been a long time since a camera in a game has pissed me off so much.  I was determined to beat the game to find out the names of the people who were responsible for the point of view in the game. I was getting delusional thinking that these guys did this shitty of a job on purpose just to personally fuck with me. Near the end of the game I was chanting to myself “no more walls” over and over and over again for fear if I saw that rodent’s gooch one more time Walt Disney’s head would hunt me down and make me eat beans. I have since recovered and as long as I take my pills I shouldn’t have any more stress induced paranoid episodes.

CLOSING COMMENTS

I had a hard time writing this review, because the stuff I liked in this game I really felt needed to be showcased and the stuff that I hated needed to be burned at a stake. If you are a fan of Walt Disney history you will be pleasantly surprised with the story. Other than that for every step in the right direction (the combat and puzzles) there were two steps in the wrong direction (filler, bogus exploration, and that fucking camera). Rating 6/10

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~ by Andrew Braid on April 27, 2011.

3 Responses to “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Epic Mickey review”

  1. Yeah I was playing for a bit and once I got to the Mickey Junk Mountain the novelty had already worn off on me. Randall had a great time with it though and got through it, but yes the camera was shit.

  2. Yeah, I gotta agree with you on this one. The worst part is that there is clearly a good game buried in here, but you’ve gotta go on a massive fetch quest to find it.

  3. Yeah, Andy REALLY hates beans!!!

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