Author Topic: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions  (Read 1644 times)

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Offline TheYoungerPlumber

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Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« on: November 08, 2010, 12:03:45 AM »

Humor, charm, and a whole lot of Mouse. Find out why TYP is very much looking forward to this holiday release, in spite of its weak platforming.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/impressions/24408

I recently had the distinct pleasure of attending a press event for Epic Mickey, held smack dab in the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland. Over here you can read all about the event’s little perks, including a VIP tour of the park hosted by Disney cast member (employee) Warren Spector himself. But if you're itching for opining on Disney Epic Mickey, read on!

NWR colleague Neal Ronaghan has already extensively covered Junction Point Studios' game in his own imperssions, so I'll keep the overview brief. In Epic Mickey, the hero finds himself trapped in a bizarre, craven facsimile of Disneyland known as Wasteland that is inhabited by the forgotten Disney characters of yesteryear. Mickey finds Wasteland's residents suffering in the aftermath of a great paint thinner disaster, unwittingly and unknowingly caused years ago by Mickey's own mischief. As Mickey, the player must use paint and paint thinner to platform, fight, and explore his way back home—and save Wasteland. During the course of the game, Mickey must also make amends with his estranged half-brother and leader of Wasteland, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Epic Mickey's gameplay is heavily leveraged on exploration and observation. The game invites players to keep their eyes peeled for animated (brighter) or transparent (erased) buildings, trees, walls, and other objects in the environment. Exploring nooks and crannies and experimenting with paint and paint thinner rewards players with collectable pins (artwork and other unlockables), neat areas to explore, and in-jokes for Disneyphiles. Theme park affectionados will be happy to know Mr. Spector assured me personally that there are "enough" hidden Mickeys riddled in the architectures and landscapes for fans to discover and point out to each other. The game is also designed such that players must choose between different paths or means of solving puzzles, resulting in different unlockables and character interactions.

However, based on my time with the demo, the actual platforming and combat is relatively pedestrian. Mickey controls well, if a tad slow, and he does not appear to gain any powers of note through the course of the story that significantly affect how the game is played. Players must spray paint or thinner on baddies, or shake to spin a la Super Mario Galaxy. The 2D area on display, based on Mickey and the Beanstalk, was a vertically oriented level that was early in the game and very rudimentary.

Still, the paint and thinner concept has the potential for some clever puzzles. The tutorial portion of the game largely used these mechanics as glorified keys, but Mickey's tools were put to better use during later sections. In one area, erasing the cover of a large book revealed secret codes to be in that area and elsewhere. In a boss fight with a robotic rendition of Captain Hook on rails, I had to erase his protective barrel and knock him into several gears, ultimately forcing him to "walk the plank" so that I could save someone. In an alternate playthrough of the same boss battle, I chose to mount the rescue directly by navigating up the rafters. This required quick identification of what could be painted or thinned while the pesky Captain Robo-Hook barraged Mickey and the environment with dangerous and deconstructive thinner. In essence, Hook could be fought using either paint (platforming) or thinner (combat), and this could make for interesting, player-determined variety in boss battles.

Ultimately, I enjoyed my time with Epic Mickey for its presentation. The developers' passion for Disney really shows, from Mickey and Oswald's subtle acting to details in the environments and humorous jabs at itself and Disney history. For example, at one point, when exploring Mean Street (bizarre Main Street, USA), Mickey observes that many of his old frien—er, associates—look almost the same, since they are iterations of the same basic characters. Pete boasts that there are "lotsa" him.  Cut-scenes are chock-full of both famous and obscure Disney references, from a recreation of the swordplay scene between Pete(r) Pan and (robotic) Captain Hook, to Horace Horsecollar boasting about films in which he "co-starred" with Mickey (though Mickey’s guilt-ridden face shows he doesn't remember).  Indeed, the game seems to take place in a world where Disney characters co-exist with the real world (or at the very least, Mickey seems to recognize Walt's statue). My favorite observation was in an area called Mickeyjunk Mountain, themed after all of the Mickey merchandising that has accrued over the years. At one point, players must dislodge old cartridges of Mickey Mousecapade and other NES/SNES games to create floating platforms. I'm sure Mickey fans of any age will be able to find some old tchotchke in that junkpile.

Epic Mickey doesn't look like it will be an epic platformer, but it does look to be a fantastic experience for Mickey and Disney theme park fans (of which I'm the latter). From my short time with the game, I can already tell this game holds a special place in Disney canon. I wasn't terribly interested in Epic Mickey back at E3 2010, but now I'm looking forward to Disney Interactive's upcoming game…and history lesson.

::Michael "TYP" Cole
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Offline Killer_Man_Jaro

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 02:39:01 AM »
Quote
Epic Mickey doesn't look like it will be an epic platformer, but it does look to be a fantastic experience for Mickey and Disney theme park fans (of which I'm the latter).

That's a little worrying. I like Mickey Mouse, but I know full well that that a lot of references to characters and locales will shoot straight over my head. This aspect of the game won't be such a big deal to me, so I'm relying on the platforming and the paint/thinner puzzles to make this a worthy purchase. If those aren't that great, then Epic Mickey simply isn't for me.
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Offline NWR_Karl

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 03:03:52 AM »
I should point out that because of TYP's diligence, we're among the first outlets to have impressions out on the web. Most of the other guys won't have theirs up until the morning.
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Offline Sundoulos

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 10:02:17 AM »
Quote
However, based on my time with the demo, the actual platforming and combat is relatively pedestrian. Mickey controls well, if a tad slow, and he does not appear to gain any powers of note through the course of the story that significantly affect how the game is played.
I was afraid that you would say that.  From all the impressions I've read, it's been apparent that the gameplay (or at least the platforming moveset) was rather thin (no pun intended...really); I was hoping that Spector was still keeping something under his hat.  I'm still interested in the game for it's aesthetic, as I'm a fairly big Disney fan, but I can't help but feel that this aspect of the game will let me down.
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Offline Pandareus

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 12:41:26 PM »
Having multiple ways to tackle obstacles is a pretty novel thing in a platformer...

Offline TheYoungerPlumber

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2010, 02:36:10 AM »
I didn't get to see enough of the game to get a feel for how frequently the game offers branching paths of interest. If there are multiple viable strategies to every boss battle and some other missions, a la the Hook battle, that could entice me to play through this game a second time. The collectables....Personally, not so much.
::Michael "TYP" Cole
::Associate Editor
Nintendo World Report

"Only CHEATERS mess up!" -Waluigi

Offline xcwarrior

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2010, 08:59:58 PM »
I'm not sure how I should feel about  the game after reading that. It seems like you enjoy it, but its not the greatest thing since sliced bread.

I'm getting most likely one game for Christmas, coming down to this, Epic Yarn, Goldeneye or DKCR. For some reason, i want it to be this one, because I've never seen a Mickey game like this. Hopefully the full version will flesh out your worries and make them go the way of the thinner.
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Offline Ryan Cannon

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2010, 09:58:59 PM »
I think I will get this game when released. looks amazing
Normal people don't affect me...

Offline TheYoungerPlumber

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Re: Disney Epic Mickey Impressions
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2010, 01:50:49 AM »
I'm not sure how I should feel about  the game after reading that. It seems like you enjoy it, but its not the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Exactly. As an Disney product, this game looks like it will be very entertaining. But from a gameplay standpoint, it will be good...but not great.
::Michael "TYP" Cole
::Associate Editor
Nintendo World Report

"Only CHEATERS mess up!" -Waluigi