November 27, 2012

Failed Review – Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 11:32 pm

Review Epic Mickey 2 The Power of Two
Given how much work goes into creating the elements that bring a videogame into existence, even releases that fall short of their goals tend to offer minor points of interest. I’ve often maintained that even the worst releases have good ideas seeded somewhere within their core – why else would people work so hard in the attempt to flesh them out?

But Disney is determined to prove me wrong, offering a disheartening view into the business side of game creation with the multiplatform release of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, a game that feels as if it were assembled by machines in a subterranean dome. And while that may sound like an extreme appraisal of a project that clearly had human hands involved in its creation, anyone involved that ever had a love for playing videogames was clearly discouraged from expressing said love here, I assure you.

Any logical sense that guides the creation process has been abandoned in the bizarre effort to race the original Wii release to the bottom while selling you on the idea that the exact opposite is the case.

There are a lot of more fanciful and poetic paths toward opening a discussion about the game, but the simple fact is that I can’t be bothered.

Life is too short to expend the effort on Epic Mickey 2.


October 21, 2012

The House of Mouse

Disney Epic Mickey 2
It’s hard to believe Warren Spector hasn’t always worked with Disney.

Spector visited Toronto last week along with writer Marv Wolfman to discuss the upcoming sequel to 2010’s Disney Epic Mickey, taking a moment to show off his Disney themed socks before demonstrating his extensive knowledge of the company’s animation history.

From documents and sketches hidden away in the Disney vault to pointing out the three rare instances where Mickey Mouse appeared in releases with differently angled ears, there’s no doubt that Spector has the deepest of appreciation for the source material painstakingly analyzed by Junction Point in creating a game that balances the need to chart their own course for Mickey while still honoring the years of work that have made Mickey the icon that he is today.

As impressed as I often am by passion, labors are not forgiven for shortcomings because of the love poured into them. But while Epic Mickey 2 carries the weight of criticisms regarding the original release, it’s very easy to believe that Spector’s motivation remains fixed on the earnest attempt to create a game worthy of the respect he continually pays to the house of mouse. And while Spector isn’t shy about pointing out that the original Wii exclusive sold quite well despite the critical reception, he doesn’t shy away from addressing complaints about the camera system and choice driven narrative that this sequel needs to improve upon on the road to realizing the original vision.


December 1, 2010

Review – Disney Epic Mickey

Disney Epic Mickey
The Wasteland is a refuge, a place where forgotten cartoon characters can live on within Junction Point Studios’ heartfelt tribute to the house that Mickey Mouse built. Freed from ownership by Universal Studios, even Oswald the Rabbit can find new purpose in this place, acting as both mascot and ruler for this world, providing shelter for his fellow ‘toons while obsessing over the popularity of Walt’s favorite son.

The sincerity drips from every digital brush stroke, and remarkable seems like a word worth using to describe the amount of attention given to the details. Junction Point has created a living, breathing world for characters few players are likely to readily remember. But the devil in those details is whether this labor of love offers an opportunity and incentive for players to truly immerse themselves in this world, or if this epic undertaking merely offers a lightly pulsing museum, one which assumes that the care of content can counterbalance significant design problems, which Disney Epic Mickey unfortunately offers in spades.

If this quick appraisal leaves you making a sad face beneath your Mouseketeer hat, join the club.


June 15, 2010

Pre Hands-On Epic Mickey Love

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , — Jamie Love @ 10:24 pm

Disney's Epic Mickey
This is my favorite screenshot of the day, the Steamboat Willie 2D side-scrolling surprise I wasn’t expecting. Before E3 began it was clear that Disney was pushing Epic Mickey with plenty of resolve, but this one sequence made me forget the uncomfortable reaction when footage released last year – when I thought the game was looking at best like a decent N64 title.

It’s clear when Warren Spector talks about the project that he loves Mickey Mouse more than I ever will, but he’s already made a believer out of me before I’ve laid my hands on it, and I wanted to revel in that a bit.

That sounds a bit crazy, but really, if he convinced Disney on a world of choice based on whether we create to solve our obstacles or simply erase them, and on the stark and incredibly slick marketing already on display, than how can I resist? They even call it Disney’s Epic Mickey now, and stuck with the Wii exclusivity I really wasn’t expecting to hold out.

Again that sounds a bit silly of me, but this E3 is full of earnest surprises, and that Disney could bring this type of title to the show sincerely surprises and impresses me. That I’m feeling a bit of the strange magic I only vaguely remember when I first saw Mickey on the Sega Genesis is probably also a factor.

They’ll be plenty more to say about the game this week, for now I’m just going to fantasize a bit more about jumping into old cartoons via film screens.


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