First Impressions: Epic Mickey is the best-looking game I’ve ever seen

I know beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, but…wow. This game is freaking gorgeous. Screen shots don’t do it justice; You have to see it in motion on your own tv. It’s like a finely detailed chalk pastel painting come to life. I kept stopping to simply stare at the living artwork on my television screen.

And the visuals are really solid—not a glitch or tear to be seen yet. The frame rate’s great 99% of the time.

I love Mickey’s animation; The guy looks alive. The controls feel great. Not Mario great, but far better than the loosey-goosey butter-shoes some reviewers have complained about. I’m not the world’s most skilled platformer, and I haven’t missed a jump yet. Well, okay, one—but landing on a wet hippo’s head isn’t easy. Mickey’s actions, weight and momentum feel toon-perfect. Just watch the cool way he stretches, squashes and snaps as he jumps. Watch the way he flattens like a pancake if he jumps from too high up and loses a pip (life point).

The paint & thinner mechanic is a joy to use. It’s nothing miraculous: When you first try it you’ll instantly recognize its limits, but you’ll probably also think: Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Like the dimension switches in Super Paper Mario, it opens up new possibilities in puzzles and platforming.

Before I forget to mention it: Best tutorial cinema ever! Gus Gremlin rocks.

I’ve only played a few hours so far, but I’ve already experienced some consequences for decisions I’ve made…I paid dearly for a hasty choice, and now a particular character hates me, but I did get a cool item out of the bargain. And I really like that aspect of this game: You can’t succeed at every quest in one play-through. You can’t make every character happy, and there are tough choices to be made–in a Mickey Mouse game!

Now the million dollar question: Is it fun? So far, heck yeah! I just spent two hours running around inside a nightmare version of It’s a Small World—a version where the boats get sucked down into whirlpools and the smiling clock tries to kill you while blaring the ride’s infamous theme song!

Not Mario Galaxy 2 fun. More like Super Mario Sunshine fun. Fun enough!

Will it remain fun in the long run? Stay tuned. Honestly…I have no idea what this game’s going to do next. The first hours were mostly tutorials, exploration and platforming. Now that I’ve reached Mean Street and Ostown (which is where the game’s visuals really hit their stride) the game’s suddenly become a fetch quest. So far I’m enjoying it, because the characters are likable, well-written, and amazing to watch.

I’m not sure what kind of gameplay awaits at my next destination, Mickeyjunk Mountain. Okay, right there—This game has a location called Mickeyjunk Mountain. That’s worth the price of admission.

Any disappointments so far? Minor things. The camera isn’t always your friend, but it’s not a disaster. The pacing is a bit leisurely, but that’s actually a plus for me. The invisible autosave is a bit unnerving: You just have to trust that you can simply quit playing without losing much progress. The game, while very polished and slick, doesn’t feel as seamless as a first-party Nintendo release: It’s loaded with fade-out transitions and cut-away camera shots that briefly interrupt the gameplay flow.

One thing is certain: If you’re a Disney fan, you’ll be in a continual state of joy while exploring this game. You’ll be shouting things like: Scar! Dippy Dawg! The random huge green elephant Disneyland temporarily installed in the Penny Arcade for no apparent reason! The game’s designers have stuffed this thing to the gills with amazing details that add an extra level of spot-the-reference fun for fans.

I’ll post a full review soon, but I want to end with one last observation about the area where this game has really delivered: Five hours in, I already love Wasteland. I actually care about its inhabitants and I’m ticked off at Mickey for not remembering Horace and Clarabelle. Jerk! I want to see this story through to the end and set things right for these characters.

More to come!

27 Responses to First Impressions: Epic Mickey is the best-looking game I’ve ever seen

  1. bananaoomarang says:

    It appearrs infendo is slightly split on the verdict for this game…

  2. David says:

    I’m excited that we have a new opinion about this game starting to form.

    It’s also awesome that there’s an “Oswald” tag now!

  3. chris says:

    This is the worst article I’ve ever read.

    Well, in all honesty, I’ve probably read worse, but I hope that helped you to realize how much weight a statement like “the best looking game I’ve ever seen” has. Please. It may well be a fun game and I have every intention of buying it, but it’s a generic 3D platformer with above average animation. Wasn’t it good enough to say “This is a great looking game”?

    Also, this is written like a forum post. It has a level called Mickeyjunk Mountain and that’s reason enough to buy the game? Using “cool” as an adjective? That’s some cool journalism right there.

    “Best tutorial cinema ever!” – Eh, you can have that one. Only because I don’t think anyone will have the energy to contest you.

  4. JoshM says:

    9_9
    Okaaaay then Chris.

  5. lucaslink2 says:

    well, it doesn’t look that bad you know it might not be the best thing but is something special. Also I agree with you in one thing some of those word put some heavy weight in the game review.

  6. Richard says:

    Glad ya liked the article, Chris! 🙂

  7. EdEN says:

    Will pick up my CE pre-order over the weekend. Epic Mickey seems to be a game you either love or reaaally like to complain about. Maybe those that gave it bad reviews had a lousy experience at Disneyland/Disneyworld?

  8. sam says:

    chris, where did you think you were? this is infendo, hardly a bastion for journalism. anyways, have you played epic mickey? it’s far from a generic game, try gingerbread man for that. maybe YOU should re evaluate what generic means

  9. go-getter says:

    “They suck” is hardly a defense for shoddy writing.

  10. Chelsea says:

    I see everyone is laying on the hyperbole pretty thick today.

    Why all the vitriol? Did this article molest you as a child? Honestly. If you dislike the writing and the site so much, why are you even here? It’s just one man’s opinion about a video game, not a life or death situation. Get a grip and be a little more polite if you expect anyone to hear you out. Ever hear the phrase “You can attract more flies with vinegar than honey”?

  11. Chelsea says:

    OK, reverse vinegar/honey. Derp.

  12. Richard says:

    Chelsea–

    Thank goodness I left out the part about Epic Mickey curing my trick knee and revealing the true secret of all life! That level was so cool…

  13. mumma says:

    What were you thinking chris? critiquing a blogpost in a honest way.
    Are you mad?
    You even made the the original poster respond in a witty manner.

    One less hit per day for the stats Richy. cheers.

  14. XCWarrior says:

    I must wait until Xmas to enjoy its beauty. But it sounds like its worth the wait for the most part.

  15. Jack says:

    Keep focused, guys and gals, on the article. It’s an interesting take on the game and more importantly a different take than the one we’ve seen on Infendo thus far. That’s a good thing, especially in a world dominated by 85% review scores and cookie cutter commentary.

    Trolls will be trolls. I imagine the criticism above is more about wanting attention than adding any kind of significant debate to the discussion. Treat it as such and continue to contribute meaningful dialogue–as most of you are doing already!

  16. llaffer says:

    I’m as far as Richard is in the game . Ready to leave OsLand into Mickeyjunk Mountain. I’m liking what I see so far. I’m trying to avoid having the Gremlins do the work for me, so I opted not to pay the one guy 100 tickets, and I wouldn’t let the other into my house to get his wrench. It took me some time to find the solution to that problem (four phone boxes), but I eventually did.

  17. deepthought says:

    Well it looks like Jack has his own mixed-review Game God pet project that he’s going to run defense for.

    I wonder how it feels to know that a game you are excited for is getting panned and called “meh,” particularly by the players, despite its Game God pedigree.

    I mean really, this game violates the content that is Mickey Mouse. Who the hell is this rabbit and why do I care? I want to play a game about Mickey Mouse, not a game about some sketch Walt Disney threw away a million years ago. Why do I have to know so much animation history to even enjoy this game?

    And you can go ahead and label the recent slate of criticism trolling (or even delete and ban the users) but it won’t stop it it from coming if Infendo follows this kind of journalism track.

  18. Kyle says:

    Good read, thanks for the impressions. I look forward to playing this one.

  19. Richard says:

    Deepthought–

    Your comment about poor Oswald (who really was on the career track to stardom in the silent movie era) reflects exactly what the story’s about.

    Why should you have to know all this animation history to enjoy the game? That’s a very good point. See the upcoming review for more on this. Remember, my article was titled FIrst Impressions.

  20. deepthought says:

    “Your comment about poor Oswald (who really was on the career track to stardom in the silent movie era) reflects exactly what the story’s about.”

    The problem is I don’t care. I’m sure Warren Spector thought I’d care, but I don’t and the customer is always right. Instead of serving the customer, Warren Spector would rather tell us about a rabbit he liked and all the emotion of his lost dreams and other emo-crap that nobody cares about.

    Why can’t he just make a good Mickey Game?

  21. baelnic says:

    “Why can’t he just make a good Mickey Game?”

    Why can’t a good Mickey game be about him learning about the “Island of Misfit Disney Characters?” Isn’t that what this is really about? Mickey discovering long lost relatives? Would you rather him rescue Minnie again?

  22. deepthought says:

    I don’t think you understand.

    I don’t care about Warren Spector’s vision of what Mickey Mouse is. I care what mine is. Would I rather have him save Minnie again? Probably, as that would be a step up from all the cutscenes of Oswald crying about his broken life and other stuff I don’t care about.

  23. baelnic says:

    I personally like when developers take chances. This might miss, completely, but I’m glad they did.

  24. deepthought says:

    They can take as many chances as they want. But I’m not going to pay for their experiments with beloved characters and turning them into “epics” or whatever nonsense they have.

    Mickey is supposed to be light-hearted fun. Who the hell turning into this serious story cutscene crap about some character nobody ever heard or or cares about?

  25. Richard says:

    Deepthought–

    The customer’s always right? I care about Oswald. I’m a customer. I’m glad they went this route. I’d love to see an Epic Mickey feature film.

    So, this game is obviously not for you. I hope you do get the Mickey game you want in the near future. I’ll play any good Mickey game.

    By the way, though, Epic Mickey’s not nearly as dark and “emo” as it may appear at first glance. It’s actually pretty funny, and has lots of heart. And Oswald freaking rocks.

  26. Gregm says:

    I don’t understand all the bashing of this game. If you think it’s that bad don’t buy it. Personally, I have so far found it fun. It does have it’s problems but what game nowadays doesn’t?

    The only real complaints I have are the camera. You have to do a lot of manual adjusting with the d-pad. also the paint doesn’t spray where you want sometimes.

    As for Oswald. So far he just seems to be a carrot leading you to the next place you need to be. It’s not like you have to play him.

  27. Jeff says:

    Uh, heh. I think deepthought’s being pretty snarky about Epic Mickey, and his specific call-outs to Jack and the whole “Game God,” “content,” and “customer” crap are directly related the that Malstrom guy.

    It’s one of the common things Malstrom will slam any “hardcore” game for that it’s violating content or something. It’s probably about Metroid Other M, but could just as well be Cel-shaded Zelda or Spirit Tracks Zelda, or hell even 3-D Mario games. In these you’ll have a re-imagining of a character (either real or imagined bu the fanbase), and story links to some kind of tangentially related media like comics, novels, other games, etc. And the person giving all the interviews or the person stated as “behind” the game is some kind of respected figure (Aonuma for Zelda and stuff) so he’ll become the target and be called a “game God” or some bullshit.

    What’s funny is despite his obvious trolling, is that deepthought actually does raise an interesting point. Why the hell aren’t malstrom and his crew totally pissed off about the direction Epic Mickey took? I mean it’s some kind of “hardcore, serious” revamp (for Mickey at least,) it’s got a nearly 100-year-old, obscure-as-hell, may-as-well-be-unknown character as a central figure, and it’s backed by “legendary game developer” Warren Spector whose sole intent through all of the interviews of this game was to redesign Mickey as he saw fit for the purposes of this game. It seems like it has the makings of a lengthy diatribe about the game’s “lost way” or the “Game God’s huge ego” but apparently not a lot has been said on this subject.

    I thought the game looks interesting, and I’m apt to give it a whirl as soon as I can, at least once I get some money. But some obviously think it violates how they perceive Mickey Mouse, but somehow it isn’t as important this time around.

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