"Better in Broad Strokes"
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two sees Mickey's return to Wasteland. Based upon familiar locales in Disney's theme parks, Wasteland is where the dejected and long-forgotten characters of Disney's history have made home. At the outset of this sequel, the land is being ravaged by quakes. Suddenly, the Mad Doctor, a key antagonist who Mickey defeated in the first game, returns despite being supposedly blown to bits. He repents for his past transgressions and offers the residents of Wasteland his services in helping them build a better home.
It should be obvious, since it is in the title, but the game is largely a cooperative affair. Even if you do not have someone to play with, Mickey is consistently accompanied by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. Things get worse thanks to the Mad Doctor's involvement, and it becomes Mickey and Oswald's quest to fix everything. While Mickey uses his brush to either create objects from nothing or erase them from existence, Oswald yields a remote control that can exploit electricity. The computer's A.I. is not very accommodating, as Oswald tends to meander about the environment, seemingly without context or purpose. It is best to take a friend along your journey to alleviate any possible frustration.
I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed with the art direction of the original Disney Epic Mickey. The build up from the game's original announcement to its first real preview was a bit anticlimactic. The concept art for the game held a stark steampunk-like style that, when mixed with the whimsical and sometimes dark-humored tone of the older, forgotten Disney properties, was never before seen.
Perhaps it was due to the limitations of the original Nintendo Wii hardware that the visual presentation was unable to match its stellar conceptual stage. It left hope that, with the sequel appearing on high definition consoles, it might bear a closer resemblance to its illustrative origin. That is not the case.
They certainly look better than the Wii version of the game, with crisper and cleaner visuals. However, despite being on stronger consoles, The Power of Two's PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U counterparts do not really take much advantage of the extra hardware power at their disposal. In fact, there are a few times when the game actually endures some frame rate issues (mainly when utilizing the ubiquitous paint-and-thinner mechanic).
In The Power of Two's adaptation to more traditionally controlled consoles, some gameplay advantages were gained, while others were sacrificed.
One of the main advantages of the original Wii's controller setup is that of infrared pointer functionality, which allows for quick and precise navigation of the screen. It was the main reason why the first Epic Mickey, despite its problems, controlled quite well; its patented paint-and-thinner gameplay had an incredibly solid foundation. Of course, the Wii remote's inherent setup sacrificed the major strength of dual analog controls: better control of the camera.
The non-Wii versions of the game remedy this ailment for the most part, but they also lose the benefit of pointer functionality. Instead, control of Mickey's powerful brush techniques is relegated to the right analog stick. The implementation is surely serviceable when needed to solve puzzles. However, when swift ability execution is needed to fell quick and mobile enemies, the plodding control scheme can be downright exasperating.
Regardless of which version you play, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two feels a bit incomplete, either through implementation or visuals. In spite of its drawbacks, though, the gameplay foundation still remains solid and the universe is as charismatic as ever (the musical act in the beginning promises that). There is such a loving appreciation of historic Disney lore here that fans, both new and old, will assuredly get a kick out of the game.
GameDynamo's Score for Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS3)
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