Choosing a video game to unveil its reimagined version of classic figurehead
Mickey Mouse, Disney's in the spotlight this week. Though the 3D platform adventure Epic Mickey looks pretty traditional, it's actually dark, daring, and devoid of amusing
cartoon sidekicks -- the boldest reinvention of Mickey Mouse so far --
but is it truly epic?
Not particularly, according to its critics. Disney's game, which casts
players as a morally ambiguous, paintbrush-wielding Mickey let loose in a
land of forgotten Disney characters, is turning in an average score of
78% on review aggregation site Metacritic. While not exactly an encouraging performance for what was expected to be one of the year's last blockbuster releases, it's still far from disastrous, and the pundits have found plenty to praise nevertheless.
Summing up the prevailing mood, Joystiq's Randy Nelson admired the scope of the game, calling it "the single most ambitious Wii exclusive outside of Nintendo's own
releases...'Epic' is not a misnomer." And while he lauds the plot, he's
most impressed with the setting, which rolls nearly a century of Disney
creativity into one coherent world.
[Photos: A closer look at 'Epic Mickey']
[Photos: Most overhyped video games]
Why just 4/5, then? A long list of "iffy mechanics and rough edges," says
Nelson, and chief among them, in what's a recurring theme in just about
every Epic Mickey write-up, is the game's poor camera. Apparently
incapable of keeping Mickey in clear view, it's a major issue, though Nelson also picks out graphical slowdown and the lack of a target lock-on
function as other flaws.
Eurogamer's Dan Whitehead, who puts the proverbial boot into Mickey in his 6/10 review, goes further, calling the game's camera an "absolute
"Mickey often vanishes from the screen completely, or you're
left staring at a corner, hoping you're not about to fall into a hole
and die," he says. But Whitehead has bigger issues: Mickey "simply
doesn't fit in this grim, post-modern dystopia," he says, "nor does he
need to confront his dark commercial heart to stay relevant in 2010."
But Chris Antista, writing for Game Radar and a self-confessed "Disney dork," called it his "Wii game of the year." For him, it's "a
life-affirming tribute to both forgotten characters and game genres
well worth remembering, with an all new added twist... wrapped [in a]
family-friendly package." A glowing 9/10 is the mark -- but even he notes a distinct dissatisfaction with the poor camera.
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