OK, I’ll admit it. I’m easy to please with video games — as long as I can play them.
Several hours in to “Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” I can still play, which I can’t say for a lot of games (that’s on me, not the games, which is why Mike does most of the game reviews). It gets bonus points for that.
And while I’m not quite falling in love with it the way I did “Kingdom Hearts,” “EM2″ has been fun, with Easter eggs around every corner, clever gameplay, compelling story, amazing backgrounds and great animation (some 3D, some 2D, interestingly).
And it’s a musical! So far, I’ve only heard the Mad Doctor sing, but I never expected a video game musical.
In this version, thankfully available for most platforms instead of just the Wii, Mickey must return to Wasteland to help Oswald save it from a mysterious new foe. The Mad Doctor claims to be a good guy now, and Oswald is trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But there’s a devastating earthquake, and villainous creatures are appearing. So Mickey must grab the magic paintbrush to help out.
As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, there are a bajillion sidequests and, like “Kingdom Hearts,” lots of nooks and crannies to explore.
I’ve been playing the PlayStation 3 version, and so far so good. It’s challenging, but not impossible. I’m guessing impossible will come later, but I’m hoping this is one I can actually complete.
The game is Move compatible, but as much trouble as I had getting the hang of the Wii on the first game with its controllers, I decided to stick with the standard controller and have had no regrets. There aren’t a million combos to learn.
You can play with one or two players. If you’re playing solo, you’re Mickey, and the Oswald AI is one of the better ones I’ve seen.
It’s a daunting task, but one that’s a lot of fun. As in the first game, Mickey can use ink or thinner to create or destroy. You must choose your overall strategy (it becomes more important later on), but you’ll frequently have to do some combination of both, so get used to those controls.
Visually, the game is a stunner on the PS3. The level of detail is what I missed in the previous Wii game. Everything’s crisp and fluid, and there’s eye candy everywhere. As you go through, you run into familiar characters in all sorts of odd ways, from animatronic versions to giant heads in the background. They even work in live action films such as “The Black Hole.”
I do have to admit that Oswald’s voice was distracting. Animation legend Frank Welker does it, and it sounds a lot like Fred on “Scooby-Doo.”
So why don’t I love it the way I did “Kingdom Hearts”? As a Disney fan, I think I enjoyed seeing all the actual characters and interacting with them a bit more. Something about this game is a bit colder. But it’s still a must-have for Disney gaming buffs.
But is it Game of the Year? I guess I don’t play enough games to call that fairly. But it’s certainly on my Top 10 list. (It does get the award for clunkiest title, though.)