Epic Mickey 2 E3 2012
Sequels! Who doesn’t love those things? It's been less than two years since Epic Mickey introduced the world to the Wasteland and reintroduced us to Oswald the ‘Lucky’ Rabbit. This time out Oswald is partnering up with Mickey in Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.
Though the Wii is still the game’s lead platform it is coming out (on November 18 this year) for the Xbox 360 and PS3 as well. My hands-on time was on the PS3 version using the standard DualShock controller as well as the Move.
The first thing you’ll notice is the camera actually works. It seems that Junction Point Studios heard the complaints. While you can still control the camera you rarely have to. It has forced camera angles for many of the non-combat areas so the transitions around a level follow your character rather well. While using the Move, the camera tracks your cursor exactly like you'd expect it to. I'm not saying it was always perfect, but I will assume the few issues I had was due to how close we were forced to be to the camera on the show floor, which was on the border of the minimum distance the Move functions at.
Why the heck does Mickey have buttons on the back of his pants?
The demo starts by having you re-visit the wizard Yen Sid’s tower to obtain the Magic Paintbrush. It isn’t hard to notice that the visuals, even on an HD console like the PS3, are practically the same. The game only had 18 months of development time, so it makes sense that they used many of the same assets and engine. Still, the cartoonish style doesn’t need all the polygons in the world to look pretty nifty in motion. Even though it was difficult to hear on the show floor, I did notice that this time the cinematics were fully voiced. No more general character noises while you read subtitles.
Much of the Mickey gameplay is exactly the same. You will fill things in with paint or destroy them with thinner. The big difference is a focus on persistence. In the first game, whatever you paint or thin will reset when you re-enter an area. Instead, now those actions will be remembered. If you go around and thin out all you can in an area, it will be like that when you return and the citizens will be none too happy with you for leaving them with half a home. The promise is that your actions will have real true consequences this time.
I'll be seeing this in abomination in my nightmares
The key new feature of this sequel is the splitscreen co-op. After the initial tutorial segment, Oswald will always be following you. With a drop-in/drop-out system the second player can at anytime take control of Oswald. Mr. Rabbit has a remote control which allows him to harness the power of electricity to produce shields or activate certain gadgets to help Mickey out. He is also a great assist with the ability to launch Mickey high in the air (useful for reaching otherwise impossible to get collectables) and his ability to hover with his ears which Mickey can use to cross long gaps with.
Sure rabbits can flap their ears to hover. That's a thing, right?
Basically the whole game is shaping up to be the first game, but bigger and better. Wasteland will be larger with more areas. You will have a companion to help you collect items (that is less pushy than Gus was in the first game). And you have many more consoles and control options to choose from, so even if you didn’t get a chance to play the first game you should be able to experience this one. I’ll be looking to journey back to the Wasteland this November.