Bad camera is one of my game-killers. If you can't see, you can't play. Constantly being given goofy angles or a camera that controls like an angry bull can cause even the most dedicated players to move on to another experience that won't shoot itself in the foot. The game that effectively kept reminding me of this, unfortunately, was the first Epic Mickey, the platformer from Disney that carried breathtaking potential but also a mortifyingly unreliable camera system that prevented players from fully appreciating the inspired world laid before them.
Now Mickey returns in Disney's Epic Mickey 2 with the heightened visual powers of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 behind him. He's also got Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (a central character from the last game and a Disney original) riding shotgun in his return to the Wasteland. Mickey's return is necessary because apparently the Mad Doctor, the villain from the last game, might not be finished causing chaos and pain to the Wasteland's cartoonish dwellers.
The benefits of Mickey being on the Xbox 360 and PS3 were apparent in the early demo we got to play at E3. The world appeared brighter and more vibrant, and the paint effects with Mickey's familiar paintbrush attacks seemed to flow with more of a subtle elegance than was the case in the last game. Oswald's rabbity helicopter ears and electricity-firing remote control appear to be a welcome addition to the gameplay, especially in the game's 2-D side-scrolling stages where the two can work in conjunction (such as Oswald serving as a cute heli-transport for Mickey at times) to progress through their well-drawn landscapes. It also opens the door for larger-scale battles. The co-op play is designed to be drop-in/drop-out, so friends, if so inclined, can hop in whenever they desire.
One thing that remains a greater work in progress is the camera. While playing on an X360 or PS3 controller offers a feel of familiarity (and therefore, responsiveness), the right stick controls the bull's-eye aiming reticle that Wii players recognize from the first game. If the right thumbstick controls the bull's eye, it's not controlling the camera, and the result in this build are various "Boba Fett? Where?" moments for my eyes as I tried to unpaint a massive robotic dragon creature. Oswald used electricity from his remote to down the beast, opening the window for Mickey to unleashed painted hell on our foe. Were it not for the struggles with the camera, the battle would have been much more engaging.
Epic Mickey 2, like its predecessor before it, holds loads of promise, and there's still time for the game to get its camera functions working properly. The game is set to release on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii on November 18.
More articles about Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two