Epic Mickey 2 hasn't learned the lessons from Epic Mickey.
Is the camera of Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two better than that of its predecessor? No. At least not yet.
At the Disney booth on the E3 show floor, we had a chance to play Epic Mickey 2, traversing Wasteland – the franchise's twisted take on the Disney universe – in high-definition for the first-time.
On the PS3, Mickey's adventure pops. The colors are brighter, the edges smoother, the world more tangible, like it's an action figure play set recessed into the television.
Looking into the world is a pleasure – when it's not spinning.
Once again, an unreliable and fidgety camera spoils what may be a competent platforming experience. Aiming the camera with the Move controller requires directing the aiming reticule to the sides of the screen, causing the view to slowly spin left or right. Frustration builds when an enemy on the far right or left of the screen attacks. Take aim, and the camera starts twirling. Try to carefully center Mickey or Oswald, and the camera will on its own drift right or left at an inopportune time, trying to make things right, but making them much worse.
The game can be played with a controller, but results are only slightly better. The aiming reticule, controlled by the right analogue stick, moves separately from Mickey, and doesn't control the camera like a right analogue stick traditionally does. When not in use, the reticule slowly gravitates to the center of the screen, making it difficult to keep track of.
A bit dizzied, we explored Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two's introductory stage, a curiously single-player only exploration of the lab from Sorcerer's Apprentice, before testing a bit of Mickey and Oswald two-player co-op.
Oswald, the semi-villain of the previous game is, as mentioned, now Mickey's cohort. Unlike Mickey, who uses paint and paint thinner to build and deconstruct the world, Oswald uses electricity to stun enemies and rewire electronics. He tames a support role, and playing him feels like playing Robin the Boy Wonder. Always a side kick.
In the boss stage, Mickey sprayed a robotic dragon with paint, while Oswald stunned him, giving Mickey more time to handle the fun stuff. You begin to understand why Oswald begrudged the Mouse for so many years.
The 2D levels from Epic Mickey also return, and have similar rudimentary designs. Also on the show floor, roughly twenty feet away, is the Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusion for Nintendo 3DS, a beautiful pixels side-scrolling platform. The comparison between the two is not a flattering one.
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