While, in my personal opinion, there were very few reasons for anyone to pick up a Wii for anything other than Mario and Zelda, one title has always stuck out at me for being totally worth it: Epic Mickey. Receiving much fanfare and many positive reviews, Epic Mickey completely rebranded the well-known loveable mouse and integrated a darker steam punk tone never before seen in the Disney universe.
Now, Epic Mickey is back. As my PAX Sunday came to a close, I had a few hours to kill, so I headed over to Disney’s Epic Mickey 2 booth. I sat down with the Xbox 360 Controller and began to play.
The demo picked up with my partner, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey on a dock heading through a town. It was explained to me that Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was one of Walt Disney’s first creations and one that would eventually lead to the creation of Mickey Mouse. As I played I was told that most of the original games mechanics stayed the same for Mickey: using the two different types of paint to create and dissolve items throughout the world as well as enemies. Mickey now also has the ability to create items to use on bigger enemies. One example I was shown was dropping an anvil on a boss enemy to paralyze him or placing a TV in front of him to make him sit down and watch it and eventually go slack-jawed so I could take him down.
Epic Mickey 2 changes up the gameplay by allowing Oswald, your new partner, to help you either through AI controlled moves or by local co-op. Oswald can use his electric remote to shock and paralyze enemies or even to revive Mickey when he dies to stop from being reset back to a checkpoint. What I found odd was the lack of online co-op over Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network – it’s the 21st century Disney, c’mon now. What I loved about my play session was being able to have my co-op partner drop in and out at their own will and have Oswald simply convert back to an AI partner, allowing for an amazingly simple drop-in drop-out play flow.
Oswald’s play style is completely different from Mickeys: he lacks the paint that the entire game focuses on and works more as a support character. Oswald is used to paralyze enemies with his electricity, open doors for Mickey, and otherwise do simple tasks that Mickey can’t do on his own. He’s basically the rabbit version of J.A.C.K. from the Gears of War series.
Another new feature to Epic Mickey 2 is pin trading. Pin trading makes up a huge part of the Disney community and Disney wants to bring that aspect to its games. Throughout Epic Mickey 2 you’ll find treasure chests that contain pins, while I wasn’t told whether these will be used other than a gotta catch-em-all type side-quest, it definitely seems like the most likely option.
At the end of the demo I was presented with the first of many RPG elements that Disney has added into Epic Mickey; throughout the course of the game you’ll meet many enemies that you can either dissolve or turn into friends, which completely changes the course of the game. One example I was given was that if you choose to dissolve a certain amount of these enemies, some townsfolk may not talk to you or you may encounter completely different mission stories.
You can look for Epic Mickeyon the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and the PC on November 18th – I know I will.