Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Preview – A Deus Ex for All Ages
Did you know that Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two has a lot in common with Deus Ex? You’re probably thinking that they’re polar opposites; and that’s actually a common assumption by gamers.
However, If you’re a fan of Warren Spector’s work, then you’ll notice Epic Mickey 2 and Deus Ex share similarities in core ideas, the amount of choices offered to the player, and the multi-path gameplay that offers different ways to play through the game. Add to the fact that each of the choices the players make change the story, progression, and game world, and it’ll be apparent that Disney’s Epic Mickey 2 is not just “another Disney game” but something more; something special.
Check out our hands-on preview of Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two after the break.
During my hands-on with Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two as well as the round table with developer Juction Point Studio’s Warren Spector, I was blown away with the different ways a player could literally play each single part of the game. “PlayStyle Matters,” the idea pioneered and utilized by Spector in his games allows players dynamically tackle different challenges in order to explore all possibilities and storylines. Not only can they choose between the paint and thinner path now (from the first game), but they can also play the game without even using each of these tools. What’s interesting is that each of the player’s choices affect the game world in a major way; the soundtrack changes, future levels look and feel different, cinematics change, the way NPC’s interact with the player changes, and even rewards given are changed.
Fans of Disney will definitely find a lot to love in Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. It incorporates a large number of items, characters, and nods to over 80 years of Disney’s history not only from the films, but from the various merchandise, characters, and even music that many of us grew up with. For example, in the demo level introduced to us “Fort Wilderness” is actually based on Disneyland’s ever-popular Frontierland and has characters like Gremlin Gus – a forgotten Disney character – who’s there to help the player. Eagle-eyed players will also notice dozens of old Disney merchandise as well as nods to older Disney titles (including forgotten and rejected parts) incorporated into the levels as kind of a Disney fan’s easter egg hunt.
As far as gameplay is concerned, Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two features multi-path gameplay (hence my Deus Ex comparison) that asks players to stop, look around, gauge their options and choices, and decide on the course of action based on these. Like I mentioned earlier, players can choose to use the paint or thinner, but they can also find other ways to get through the game without using these tools as an ends to their means. This includes a lot of platforming and working the paint/thinner options to open up new parts to the environment. As well, crafty players can even turn every enemy in the game into their friends; avoiding conflict and minimizing combat altogether.
Those who prefer to battle can initiate battles, and the game provides them with the challenge that’s the norm for combat-focused platformers. For example, using thinner to eliminate enemies actually triggers more spawning enemies. Thus the different play styles, choices, as well as the levels of consequences for each of their plays throughout the levels affect the game universe and how the world interacts with Mickey.
On another note, fans of the 2D sidescrolling levels found in Disney’s Epic Mickey will be happy to know that these levels will return in Epic Mickey 2, and that they will be bigger, better, and with more exploration. Players will even be able to use Mickey’s paint and thinner abilities in these sidescrolling levels now.
And let’s not forget about Epic Mickey 2′s co-op features. According to Warren Spector, co-op adds a new layer of replayability and opens up extra layers of the game world that’s mostly unavailable in singleplayer. In co-op, one player takes control of Mickey and the other controls Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Both Mickey and Oswald have their own special abilities that when put together actually open up new parts of the environment that would otherwise be unreachable or hidden if the player was playing alone. Again, players are told their goal they are free to find a way to solve the problems. And since the game has multiple paths, players are also offered multiple ways to solve each problem.
Spector also mentioned that co-op will be an offline affair, basically there will be no online co-op gameplay. Basically they wanted to get people to socialize, strategize, and have fun together on the couch. The developers hope parents and their kids have fun while sitting together, planning out, and going on the adventure together.
Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is coming to Wii, PlayStation 3 Wii U, and Xbox 360 this holiday season. The Wii and PlayStation 3 versions will support both traditional controller and motion controls (PS3 with the PlayStation Move) while the Xbox 360 version will only support controller play. At the round-table, Spector mentioned that there will be no Kinect support for the Xbox 360 version as the Kinect works better with more of an “on-rails” experience (like Fable: The Journey). Epic Mickey 2 is more of a free exploring game and the controls just don’t match right now.
On The Wii U, players can use Wii U GamePad to view a fully detailed, real-time map of Wasteland with waypoints and markers to help guide them through the game and complete the different quests and side-quests. Players will also be able to use the GamePad to access sketches and activate them to use in-game for a more immersive experience.
Finally, Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two features musical segments (like the ones found in Aladdin, Fantasia, Lion King, and other Disney animated movies) where characters will express themselves and advance the plot by bursting into song; a great feature for those who loved the musicals in older Disney films. Players can sing along with the character since there’s literally a bouncing ball that goes along with the lyrics that are displayed at the bottom of the screen.
Warren Spector and Junction Point Games say that “PlayStyle Matters,” an idea he utilized in Deus Ex and one is apparent in the design of Epic Mickey 2. Players can stop, look around, gauge their options and choices, and decide on their course of action; with each action and choice having their own consequences.
Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is coming to Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U on November 18, 2012.
What features or game modes are you most excited to play in Disney’s Epic Mickey 2?