I’m now several hours deep into Disney Epic Mickey, the dark-but-not-too-dark fantasy adventure which sends Disney’s icon on a journey through the Waste Land, armed only with a paintbrush. The game is an enjoyable diversion. It features enough contemporary videogame tropes — a “good”/”evil” choice system, motion-control gameplay, a reward system for exploring every nook and cranny of the game’s landscape — to keep you interested. I imagine that a casual gamer would enjoy the game a little for about five hours, and a five-year-old would absolutely love the game for about two hours. For the rest of us, the question becomes: Is this the best we can hope for out of licensed videogames?
The bargain bins at GameStop are littered with movie/TV-to-game adaptations like Clash of the Titans and (gag) 24: The Game. You can blame plenty of these games on a lack of development time or a simple dearth of creativity. (It’s hard to imagine a world where 24 wasn’t going to turn out terrible: Remember the “torture” mini-game?) But there are just as many licensed videogames that come primed with plenty of high expectations. Disney Epic Mickey comes from Warren Spector, the iconic game designer behind Deus Ex and Thief: Deadly Shadows. It’s a purposeful character reboot: You could argue it’s the first time Disney has allowed Mickey to be interesting (or at least not creepily bland) in two generations. It’s lovingly steeped in Disney arcana — some levels actually take the form of old Disney shorts like Steamboat Willie and Mickey and the Beanstalk. READ FULL STORY