Tuesday 30 November 2010

Game REVIEW: Epic Mickey (Wii)

Games reviews aren't something I do often. In fact, I'd go as far as saying I don't buy games very often, and when I do they're usually big franchise games like Pokemon, Zelda and Sonic. But while the game I'm about to review stars the biggest franchise character in the world, he's hardly a gaming icon. But from a mere glance at the concept art, Warren Spector's Epic Mickey became my most anticipated game in a long long time. Not even Pokemon Heartgold and Soulsilver were this anticipated. When you look forward to a game that much, how often does the real thing match up to expectations? Well, this game sure does.

Epic Mickey follows the adventures of Mickey Mouse as he is sucked into a world now known as the wasteland - a land for forgotten Disney characters which has now been taken over by the combined forces of Mickey villains the Phantom Blot and the Mad Doctor. Using a magic paintbrush capable to both painting and thinning people and the land around him, Mickey must team up with the wasteland's first resident Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in order to stop the Blot, save the wasteland and get home.

Before we even get to the game play, what I love about Epic Mickey the most is that is was blatantly created by huge retro-Disney fans. This game feels many ways like a sequel to the Mega Drive game Mickey Mania, in which Mickey travelled through selected cartoons from his history. Some of the characters in this game are really really really old/obscure, and that just goes to show how much effort was put into creating the game, and really captures the games themes. Running through classics like Steamboat Willy and Mickey's Mechanical Man really make me want to sit down and watch old Disney cartoons. But its not just old cartoons that are referenced here. No, the entire wasteland is based upon the Disneyland theme parks, so there's even more to enjoy. Why the other day I fought Pete dressed as a character from TRON on top of Space Mountain - and you don't think that's fantastic, then we have nothing in common.

The game also has tons of replay value - there's a mountain of side quests and of course, most importantly, the ability to play the game with different morals. You have the option to paint (befriend) or thin (destroy) your adversaries, and this affects the paths you take in the game and who'll give you quests. From what I've seen so far, being good might be the right thing to do, but being bad seems to wield a lot more hidden items....

My only gripe with the game other than dropping Mickey's 'scrapper' form (in the original concept - using too much thinner would change Mickey to look more like his very early appearances) is the dubious camera angles in some of the sequences. It's not so bad that you'll die because of them, and the game play is fluid enough to override it in most cases, but there will be moments when you just can't see what the hell is going on and have to just take a stab at it. It's not like this game has a limited amount of lives anyway.

All in all I really can't praise this game enough, it's definitely one of, if not the, best Wii game I've ever played. I can fully see why it won the best Wii game at E3 2010 (and as far as I'm concerned it beat off some stiff competition there. Disney finally has a great game again that isn't a Kingdom Hearts title. Long may it continue.

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