Monday, December 17, 2012

Missing the market

Epic Mickey 2 was dead for me before I even turned it on. Actually playing the game only made it worse.

The first game did not exist for me in my Nintendo free world, which is a bit of a shame because I was curious as to what Warren Spector was going to do in the confines of the license. This was supposed to be a darker, more mischievous Mickey, as long as you ignore that Square did the exact same thing with him in Kingdom Hearts 2, elevating him to in game demigod status. Epic Mickey 2 is a direct sequel to a game I did not play, a game that is not even available on my platform of choice. A little back story would be helpful, at least by way on character introductions. Who is this rabbit guy, and the singing mad doctor with bad teeth, and why is Goofy part animatronic? No explanation is given, so I am forced to believe the entire games takes place in Mickey's head after a long, long night of the town.

Dismissing new players is bad, but when your target audience often accepts anything that moves and has a high voice as preaching the gospel of Walt I can understand it. This only becomes a problem if, A. you play everything eventually and have the audacity to expect a little bit of narrative in your game (me) or B. you have a child who does not but gets stuck because the game is built specifically for co-op. There are sections that I found frustratingly difficult, both because they were designed poorly and because they require more that a child's worth of dexterity. If I was pulled into to this by one of my kids I would be both bored and frustrated at the same time. Strike two.

All platforming games have 'collect a million of this' as a requirement. The good ones, like Rayman and Mario, treat it as the secondary objective or something to go back to after clearing a level the first time. Epic Mickey 2 treats bull shit collection as the main game and everything else is just extra. There are red tickets to buy things, scrap metal to build things, scraps of material to sew into things, pins to trade for more pins, pictures to take, gremlins to free, ghost and pigs to reunite, spirits to conjure, and probably more but that is all I can remember. The killer: none of these have any affect on how the game is actually played. It is stuff collection for the sake of collecting more stuff.

God bless that man.

I skipped all the stuff and the game was done in about six hours. It came as such a surprise that I had to hit up GameFaqs to see if I was actually done. Yup, all there was left to do was collect more stuff, and who has time for that. Strike three.


The intention to purchase Black Knight Sword was real. I would have done it, too, but I decided to plug in Sleeping Dogs 'just to see how it is.' God damn that game is good. It looks like my time is booked for the rest of the year.

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