Review: Epic Mickey (Wii)

Review: Epic Mickey (Wii)

Oh, its epic something alright…

There are times when I really like the fact that this site doesn’t use the standard scoring system. This is one of those times. I have no idea what I would score Epic Mickey. It’s just such a schizophrenic game. Never before have I seen a game that I have been so in love with but at the same time wanted to chuck out a window. There are times when this is one of the most brilliant pieces of gaming fun on the Wii, a system that has long needed another high quality exclusive like this. There are also times when I think the game was programmed by blind, mentally challenged orangutans who are missing their hands and have never heard of a video game.

Let us start with the good, as I like talking about good things and this is my review. So, shut up I’m gonna do it my way. Epic Mickey is a love letter to around a century of cartoons. The people that made this game, they love Mickey Mouse. From the presentation to the story, the levels, the music down to the characters you interact with, you know that you are playing a Mickey Mouse cartoon that has somehow come to life. I can only think that, if Walt Disney were alive right now instead of in cryogenic hibernation somewhere underneath Disneyland, he would have smiled as he watched someone play this game. Now that smile might have turned upside down if he actually started playing it…

No. No. There are more positives to talk about. I’ll get to that in a bit.

The story of this game has Mickey Mouse accidentally ruining a world for forgotten cartoons called the Wasteland. He spills some magical paint thinner onto it and now there is this evil entity called the Blot that is generally being a rather nasty guy to the cartoons that live there. Now, the great thing about this story is that the Wasteland is supposed to be a Disneyworld for the guys who aren’t popular enough to show up in Disneyworld. That means you still get the Small World ride and the Haunted Mansion and you get to travel through Main Street. You also travel to different sections by going through side scrolling platforming sections based on various Mickey cartoons. You can even collect a few actual cartoons to watch in these sections. How cool is that? Like I said before, this is all just one great big love letter to Disney.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at one of my favorite areas in the game. Mickeyjunk Mountain. This is a mountain entirely made up of discarded Mickey Mouse memorabilia. You’ll walk along phones and activity books and guitars and NES and SNES games and its all just such a nostalgia rush. I had some of this stuff growing up, man. It makes me want to bust out Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse again. By the way, is that on the Virtual Console? Because it should be. It doesn’t even have a terrible camera like…

Quit it. I still have good things to talk about.

Mickeyjunk Mountain, aka You Are Now Feeling Extreme Nostalgia Mountain.

I also really like the morality system. You can use paint to paint things up and solve puzzles that way, but there are also ways to use thinner to screw up the environment to solve the same puzzles. Great example: the first boss. It was an enemy, and I hadn’t been told I could be nice to it, so I thinned the crap out of it. Blew its face clean off. Then the little goblin guy who follows me around says that I earned more thinner by using it, which made me think I could have also earned a paint upgrade. So I could have been nice to the giant monster? Holy crap, I had accidentally been a bastard to this thing. I bastarded him to death. I didn’t mean to do that. Which was a great feeling because I liked the feeling that my actions, even the bad ones, had real consequences. Consequences like jumping at nothing because I can’t see…

Okay, maybe we should get to the negatives now. It feels like it is time.

The camera. Hoo boy, the camera. You all know about the camera in this game by now, right? Its one of the worst cameras I’ve seen in quite a while. You do a lot of jumping in this game. It definitely has a platforming element to it. So you would expect that the camera would be placed in good spots so that you can see where you are jumping. But man, I cannot count the number of times I misjudged a jump because I didn’t have the right camera angle. And the camera moves so slow when you want to change angles. Not to mention the fact that sometimes enemies gang up on you and you have no idea what direction to attack because of the stupid camera. The best way to kill enemies is with the paint brush and you can only use the paint brush on what you can see, so… yeah, big problem. Sometimes, I think this game shouldn’t be called Epic Mickey. It should be called Epic Now Why The Hell Am I Looking At That You Stupid Game?

The other majorly big huge problem with this game is its lack of… well, epicness. I know I just gushed praise about the presentation and story of this game, but that’s only half the battle. You also have to play through the story and while I did indeed enjoy that… well, okay, good example right here. Imagine a Zelda game. Imagine Ocarina of Time. That is epic, right? Now, imagine after you leave, say, Kokiri Forest  you can’t go back to it for the rest of the game. Then, imagine for most of the game the only places you can really go are the Hyrule field and Hyrule castle. Now, imagine every time you clear one of the other areas, like Death Mountain or Zora’s River, you can’t go back to it. You better get all the collectables you can the first time through because you don’t get a second chance. This forced linearity just completely eviscerates the feeling that you’re on an epic quest. The game gives the feeling of being this big open world, this Wasteland, yet you don’t get the chance to really explore it like you want to.

So, you know, I like this game. Yet, I also hate it. It’s just so frustrating that this game shows such brilliance and at the same time has crippling faults that hold it back. So, I’m glad there is no score for this. I wouldn’t know what to give. Should you buy this game? I dunno. But, you should at least play it. I will say that much for it. You might be of the type to ignore the faults it has because the pure radiating charm of the game is so overpowering. Just know what you are walking into, that this is an imperfect game surrounded by a perfect experience.

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