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Having been a huge Disney fan since a young age and also enjoying platform based games this was a must buy for me. Epic Mickey explores old, nostalgic Disney stories and characters that were dropped from cartoons and if you have a good knowledge of older Disney you're sure to enjoy exploring this game, equally I think this would be fun for children due to the iconic Mickey Mouse and action based gameplay. Story -: The game starts when Mickey Mouse finds himself in Yen Sings workshop where he plays with a magic paintbrush and accidently unleashes a monster into a world that Yen Sing has created. Time passes and the paint monster Mickey created returns and pulls him into 'wasteland', a land of forgotten Disney characters/films/rides etc. Here Mickey meets Oswald the Rabbit who originally ruled 'wasteland', however it is now ruled by the mad doctor who wants to steal Mickey's heart so that he can leave 'wasteland' and rule the real world. Oswald helps Mickey escape and with paintbrush in hand Mickey sets about on an adventure to fix 'wasteland'. Gameplay -: The game has two types of gameplay, the first being action based 3D platform where you complete various quests using paint and thinner to remove and add items to advance in the game. Here you can find collectables such as pins and film tokens and talk to various characters such as Goofy and Clarabelle who give you optional missions. The other mode of gameplay is classic 2D platform play which occurs when you travel between levels; these are based on old Disney short films such as Steamboat Willie and Through the Looking Glass and are pretty short but loads of fun and provide a lot of nostalgia for older players. Mickey's weapon is a paintbrush, he can use paint to add items that are missing in the scenery such as bridges, plants and cogs and the thinner to remove items. He also uses these to defeat enemies as well as using his spin attack. The game requires use of the Wii remote and nunchuck, the remote is used for aiming and the nunchuck for moving. The game uses all of the buttons in some way or another. The camera angles are something which really annoyed me in this game; I fell off edges or fell into thinner lakes a lot because of the angles messing around. You can't choose where to position them which I feel is a serious flaw in the design of the game, you can press a button which changes the angle for you but this is very jerky and very often it doesn't work well. I found the angles glitchy and overall very annoying. Graphics and Sound -: The graphics are pretty much as expected for a Wii platform game, their cartoony which fit in with the Disney theme of the game but I felt that they looked a bit flat in some parts and lacking definition. The 2D levels are done in black and white, scratchy film effect which is really nice and fits in with the theme of the game. The sound is very much the same throughout the game, in the main levels its dark and provides a sense of mystery and in the 2D levels the original music from the cartoons is played. Overall -: I did really enjoy this game but it does have its flaws, the main one being the annoying camera angles! It's a fairly easy game to play but I think younger children would struggle due to the controls and also as the game is based on a darker side of Disney they may get scared at some points. This game is definitely for all Disney fans out there, there's loads to discover and tons of side missions and collectibles to find and complete.
Epic Mickey is a fun romp through the forgotten locations of ye olde Disney episodes replete with the characters that were dropped from once popular cartoons. I am a massive Disney fan and know a lot about the history of Disney and their older cartoons, so for me this game was an awesome nostalgia trip, but I'm sure that any fans of Disney unfamiliar with the characters and setting would find it just as amusing. =Plot= A young Mickey Mouse, before he finds fame, stumbles into Yen Sid's (the sorcerer from 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice') workshop. There he finds a model of the world Yen Sid has created and the magical paintbrush he used. While playing with the paintbrush Mickey accidentally creates a paint blob monster, he tries to use paint thinner to undo what he has done but in doing so he drops both paint and thinner onto the world model. Seeing Yen Sid approach Mickey runs, leaving the model in ruin and the Shadow Blot disappears into it. Decades pass and Mickey becomes more and more famous until the Blot returns and pulls him into the model now dubbed 'the wasteland'. The world's original ruler Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (Disney's first main protagonist) has lost his kingdom to the Blot and companion; a mad doctor. They have a plan to kidnap Mickey and steal his heart (echoes of Kingdom Hearts). As forgotten characters they have no hearts and hope that by stealing Mickey's they can leave their wasteland and take over the real world. Despite Oswald's insane jealousy of Mickey's fame he helps him escape and Mickey, paintbrush in hand, goes to try and rectify the damage he did by introducing the Blot into the kingdom. =Setting= The game features three types of worlds; hub worlds, action worlds and travel worlds. Hub worlds act as your rest period where you gather information, interact with Disney characters from the old cartoons and buy items. The six hub worlds are based on parallels of Disney locations and rides from Disneyland. Action worlds allow you to progress the storyline, complete the game's quests and fight the bosses. Action worlds take their inspiration from popular Disney films. Finally travel worlds do exactly what it says on the tin, gets you from hub worlds to action worlds. Personally travel worlds are my favourite. They're short, 2D, side scrolling levels that take you through very early black and white Disney cartoons. =Gameplay= Epic Mickey is a platform game combining 3D elements for the main segments and the 2D side scrolling for the mini travel levels. The camera angles leave a lot to be desired and many times it is incredibly frustrating to perform a very simple task just because you can't alter the camera angles. Enemies range from the very easy to the downright nigh impossible to kill without losing a great deal of life in the process and there's nothing worse than being beaten to death because of a rubbish camera angle. Mickey's only weapon/tool is a paintbrush and you can alternate between using paint and/or thinner. You can use paint to restore canvas and parts of the setting (it's great fun) which aside from making your surroundings all pretty again also allow you to progress (no bridge? Paint a bridge!). Paint can also be used to make some enemies friendly, friendly enough to attack your other enemies! Thinner is used in the same way but to the opposite effect. Where paint restores your surroundings thinner dissolves it (can't pass a wall? Get rid of it!) and you can thin out your enemies. Your choices between using paint or thinner offer you different story choices and quests as well as providing a series of moral choices which affect the way in which the game progresses and how characters relate to you. =Graphics & Soundtrack= The game was released on the Wii so while the graphics are not up to the exceptional standard of the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 they're still pretty decent. The little cut scenes between levels are done in a kind of scratchy film reel effect which sits quite nicely in the general feel of the game. One thing that I thought really did do the graphics justice was the way in which paint drips off Mickey throughout the game and rise in the air. The soundtrack is excellent and has won many awards in its own right. It's very obviously Disney despite being original for the game and the music for the 2D travel worlds is just brilliant. =Conclusions= The game is a throwback to Mickey's early days taking him away from the modern portrayal of the cheerful character full of goodness and back to his mischevious days in Steamboat Willy. I really enjoyed this game, but my enjoyment did come from being able to recognise all the old school Disney characters, most of whom my housemates had no idea had ever existed (the point of the game). But I think any fan of Disney would be able to enjoy this game. The storyline is surprisingly in depth and the fact that you can make moral choices is quite deep for a game aimed at children. What impressed me most though is that there is simply so much to do and the game can appeal to all ages. Too often you see games that are supposedly suitable for all ages but then present gameplay so complex you have to have been born with a controller in your hand to figure it out. This game is easy to pick up (even with the ridiculous camera angles) and completely suitable for children as the age rating suggests. That is not to say that there isn't much to do for older games and adults. In fact there are simply so many side quests to discover and pins (the game's version of the Xbox 360's achievements) to find it would keep even the most avid completionist busy! For me though, the absolute best part, was being able to find film reels of actual old Disney cartoons including an early Oswald the Lucky Rabbit segment aired in 1928. (What can I say? The historian part of me loved it.)
Most Disney games released for the new consoles have been linked to new movies (e.g. Toy Story 3, Bolt, Up). However, Epic Mickey has been created from an original story and a new chapter to Mickey's story. The first Mickey game I have ever player was Mickey Mania for the Super Nintendo but the creators regurgitated the same game a few years later for the Playstation One only with a slightly different name. Disney obviously needed a new way of making money and without releasing the same game for a third time, they have created a different story and used the Wii controls to their full capacity. As a fan of games that are based around cartoons and worlds full of colour, I asked for Epic Mickey for Christmas after seeing that is had won gaming awards. I clearly understood from reviews online that I was to expect an adventure game with a very strong storyline - and I was not disappointed. The story begins where a mischievous Mickey discovers he can go through his mirror and starts painting and thinning a land that a wizard style character has created. Mickey then accidently creates the Shadow Blot Monster which sucks him into the 'Wasteland'. Here, is where game the game is played. The player soon learns about Oswald, the character that has been replaced by Mickey in the early 20th Century. Oswald at the start of the game tries to sabotage Mickey's adventure as revenge for being Walt Disney's favourite. Epic Mickey almost has two storylines running through the game because of both Oswald and the Shadow Blot. This is not to say this does not work since I found the story engaging and leaving me wanting to play it for longer. The basis of game play in this game is using paint or thinner to determine the outcome of game play. Squirting thinner (green) and paint (blue) is done by aiming the Wii remote at the screen and pressing the appropriate button. Paint is seen as a 'friendly' type of weapon because it lets monsters become your friend and can attack other enemies on your behalf. Thinner however is seen as 'unfriendly as this dissolves enemies so they will not disturb you again. I personally like the idea of this as it gives the player the opportunity to decide how they want to play the game rather than having to do certain things in order to progress. Epic Mickey also allows players to do mini tasks for other characters in the game. Whether it be proving Small Pete's innocence to the Gremlin's or finding Electronic Goofy/Daisy/Donald's missing body parts around the worlds, many of these tasks are optional. Many even have two paths of either a 'Thinner' (evil) decision or Paint (good). Using Small Pete as an example, the task is to find his log to prove he is not a bad guy. Players have the option of giving the log back to Small Pete (and reap the benefits later in the game) or give it to a Gremlin who will offer you a 'Pin' (which are essentially collectables). Again, this gives one options on how they would like to determine the outcome of the game. However, one of the downsides of this game is the game designers have not checked out camera angles properly. Sometimes the camera can zoom in or out causing game play to be very difficult especially when you are trying to fight some of the blot monsters. The player has no options on changing the camera angles at times when they most need to. I feel this is one area where the creators should have considered manual camera control. One thing Epic Mickey has tried to do is combine both old-school platform gaming and the more modern seamless format. The majority of the game is played in the 'seamless' style where you run around splatting paint and thinner everywhere. However, going between worlds you have to go through platformer style levels. These parts are quite fun - for a short while. The levels then become tedious toward the end of game play because you have to go to in and out of several worlds to complete certain tasks you have to go through these levels several times. The creators could have improved this by only having to run though the platformer levels once each stage of the game. Overall, I feel that the previous review on this game has been a little harsh on it. Epic Mickey is not for the serious gamer, it was made for those who like a good story and like familiar characters. The story running through the game is strong and keeps you hooked and gives players options throughout game play. The only downside to this game is (eventually) tedious platform levels as well as shoddy camera angles. This is a great game for children since the controls are not hard to master and because it's Disney they will know a lot of the characters! This game is not a must buy but it certainly is not a game people should be put off from buying.
When Mickey finds his master The Sorcerer has created his own miniature world with his magic paintbrush he cannot help but have a look. Unfortunately, he spills paint thinner all over the picture and is dragged inside by a vengeful force. Can he escape this mysterious wasteland? Epic Mickey really has a lot to live up to. You give a game a title like that and it better be bloody brilliant! The early signs are good, it won several awards at the prestigious E3 awards including "Best Wii Game 2010" and "Best Platformer". However, it would appear that people have clearly been fooled once again by style over substance. There is no doubt that this game is a massive surprise. Disney and indeed the Nintendo Wii are hardly synonymous with serious gaming. It was therefore a huge curveball to find out that the World's most famous mouse is the central character in a dark and brooding story in which he may very well be the villain. Despite being largely a 3D platformer the gamplay reflects Mickey's potential for darkness as he is given several decisions which shape his adventure. Some are made blatant such as whether you choose to save a gremlin or take a treasure chest which catapults him to his death, others are more subtle thanks to the intriguing use of Mickey's paintbrush which acts as both weapon and saviour. Will you paint in the pipes to get past the bad guys or would you rather just disolve them with paint thinner? Such decisions in gameplay effect how your story progresses. The decision making and use of paint and thinner are by far the most interesting aspects of gameplay. Without these, Epic Mickey is nothing more than a generic 3D platformer. However, with them you are treated to a variety of puzzles and moral decisions. The decisions in particular have a fascinating visual effect on Mickey as he begins to drip ink if he makes darker decisions. Without doubt the use of paint and thinner stop the game from descending into what is largely a lot of "fetch quests" in which you complete several side quests to progress towards another area. Without this unique gameplay mechanic the running about would be very tedious. As a huge Disney fan I loved the level design of this game as it is very closely linked to Disneyland itself and "Wasteland" is a wonderfully dark and twisted version of Disney. There are numerous references to rides and locations such as It's a Small World and Main Street USA given an evil twist. Add to this an ethereal twist on Disney music which will have you racking your brains on were you have heard it and you have a perfect setting. It is therefore a great shame that it is so frustrating trying to get Mickey to do what you want. This is largely down to some god-awful controls and camera. The lag when you press the jump button is noticeable to the point were you soon learn to press it a second before you want to jump. Pointing your Wiimote at the screen to "paint" or "thin" also suffers from an annoying lack of accuracy to the degree were you are simply spraying paint at random. Perhaps most annoying however are the camera angles. Game design 101 is make sure your camera angles are right. All too often find yourself staring at a wall or into the abyss with the camera centre button doing nothing to help. This leads to far too many leaps of faith which end in your demise. Such a design flaw is almost unforgivable in modern gaming, especially when Nintendo themselves have been far more successful at this in their Mario Galaxy series. Added to a nunchuk that never seems quite precise enough for wehre you wish to go and the controls on Epic Mickey are a serious problem. While not ruining the game, the 3D platform elements are definitely a disappointment. Fortunately, there are a number of retro 2D segments that save things somewhat. Those who remember early Mickey platform games such as "Mickey Mania" on the Super Nintendo will love these sections and those who don't will enjoy playing through old cartoons like "Steamboat Willie" and "Mickey and the Beanstalk". There are also a number of challenging boss fights which spice things up and are suitably large scale enough to intimidate. Unfortunately these are few and far between and there are far too many "fetch me this to get that" bits. Thankfully the story is engaging enough to keep your attention despite the gameplay bordering on the mundane. Mickey's Wasteland counterparts are all rejected ideas and versions of popular characters in his own World and all add a sadness and bitterness to the story. None moreso than Mickey's wronged cousin Waldo. Graphically these are brilliantly brought to life, often in black and white and their ghostly sheen contrasts beautifully with the colour and dark of Wasteland. Bizarrely however, rather than going for voice acting, Disney have decided that huge reams of texts combined with grunting and squeaking is how characters should communicate. Whether this is due to the Wii's lack of power or a genuine design choice by Disney I don't know but it doesn't work. Would it have killed them to at least have them voice Mickey Mouse? Epic Mickey is such a wasted opportunity. In its attempt to bring a serious Disney game to the masses they have forgotten the basics of gameplay. The controls are so flawed the game is often more a chore than a joy. You should never enjoy watching someone playing a game more than playing it yourself! A game that even this massive Disney fan, finds tough to recommend.