Preview: Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two on Wii U offers up interesting GamePad features
I recently had the chance to go to Disneyland and check out Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two on Wii U, which is being handled by developer Heavy Iron Studios. After seeing the game in action via multiple videos and screenshot galleries, I was glad to finally get some hands-on time with the game, and on Nintendo’s upcoming platform, no less. Prior to the demo session, Warren Spector made sure to inform the audience in attendance that choices will most certainly matter in Epic Mickey 2. A great deal of emphasis was put on that statement, which is definitely great to hear. While the first Epic Mickey presented some interesting ideas, it never offered the full range of freedom and decision-making that was promised. Will that change with Epic Mickey 2? It just might.
The two new areas being showcased were Rainbow Caverns and Rainbow falls, which you can read about in our preview from New York Comic Con. The new environments themselves are definitely a sight to behold, and they provide a great sense of artistry that’s fitting for a Mickey Mouse adventure. The characters, puzzles, and platforming sequences also seem very pleasant. But let’s discuss the Wii U version of Epic Mickey 2, shall we? What makes it different from the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii versions? And what unique functions does the GamePad offer that the other versions’ controllers don’t?
As many folks have expressed in the past, the GamePad is surprisingly comfortable. It’s not too heavy, and thanks to the grips on the back of the device, it’s really easy to hold, too. You control Mickey using the left stick, and you move the camera and aim with the right stick. Admittedly, the camera controls took a little getting used to, but this was mainly because I’m an inverted camera kind of guy. Face and shoulder buttons all fulfilled necessary commands such as jumping, using paint, and attacking, and these all felt natural almost instantly. The demo build on hand suffered from a last-minute switch between the functions of the A and B buttons, but after I figured this little quirk out, I was on my way through Rainbow Caverns.
As far as the touchscreen on the GamePad is concerned, the device serves as a mini-map, and it allows you to perform different actions via hotkey icons, as well. While I was personally hoping that players would have the opportunity to draw commands on the touchscreen, the addition of go-to commands is still nice and definitely made it a breeze to pull off Mickey’s different abilities. Additionally, the mini-map delivers a clear outline of the levels and allows you to highlight main objectives and side quests, which will hopefully be useful for keeping track of what you’re doing in an efficient and streamlined manner.
While I didn’t actually play the other versions of Epic Mickey 2, I spent a lot of time awkwardly walking around the demo area, eating bacon and mashed potatoes, and seeing the different iterations in action. After doing so, it became pretty clear that Epic Mickey 2 on Wii U was struggling with a few performance issues. Primarily, the game suffered from a lower frame rate and some lo-res spots compared to the other versions. Thankfully, the game’s producer informed me that what was being shown was an earlier build of the game on Wii U and that the issues had already been addressed by the development team.
After my hands-on experience with Epic Mickey 2 on Nintendo’s upcoming platform, I’m pretty stoked to see that the game is functional, and knowing that it’s been improved from the version on display is great news. The GamePad features are a nice touch, and seeing how the hotkey commands and mini-map will fare in the long haul will certainly prove interesting. Aside from the Wii U edition of Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s next escapade, it’s great to see some wondrous art design and charming Disney references. If you were let down by the previous endeavor, you should definitely be on the lookout for Epic Mickey 2 when it launches on November 18.
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