With all the recycled prequels, sequels and rivials, it was a breath of fresh air when Epic Mickey hit the shelves back in 2010. It was a glorious 3D platformer with a new take on problem solving and puzzles which ended up attracting adults more than the kiddiewinks. The reviewers all loved the concept, but each had the same cons on what didn’t work with the game.
So what does Disney do for the sequel? Hire entire departments to nut out these problems – working on camera angles and getting in the original voices of the characters to provide much needed dialogue.
Mickey is still a bawse with his trusty paintbrush allowing him to erase and repaint structures to solve problems and help find clues.
This time around, the game introduces Oswold (the ‘original Mickey from the 1920’s) as a constant second character, whether it’s a player dropping in & out as pleases, or as an AI. Another feature are ‘sketches’ that you can collect, each holding a power to use at your disposal, whether it’s an anvil to drop on enemies, or a set of wings to make certain objects hover. This, in true Warren Spector (designer) fashion, you can tackle each problem in more than one way.
This game will be most rewarding to those that are OCD when it comes to collecting every item/completing every side-quest and those who love musicals. Yes, they’re busting out the musical numbers. Belting out solos optional, of course.
Geek Bombshells Rae & myself head to the Vanguard in Newtown to check out behind-the-scenes of the Star Wars Burlesque show.
We meet up with Taesha, who dances as Slave Leia. Excuse my drool.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS of DARKSIDERS II
By Maude Garrett, played on Xbox360
You get a buzz when you realise you’re going to play Death. You instantly feel indestructible. How does Death die? Especially with forearms so big he puts a spinach-chugging PopEye to shame? And a voice that sounds eerily like Russell Crowe?
Death is, indeed a badass. He scales walls, he leaps through the air and he’s ruthless with his scythes. To really rock this game, you need the following:
Be a good button masher: Although there’s a fantastic balance between combat and puzzles/problem solving, it really is all about the hack ’n’ slash. All you have to do is go up to an enemy and repeatedly hit the attack button. Rinse, and repeat. You can unlock more attacks as you progress leaving you feeling pretty satisfied, as you can change up your attacks once you get used to a move. Once you’ve purchased a new attack, you can allocate them to certain buttons. Brilliant idea at first until I realised the position of the buttons (when playing Xbox) because the number 1 thing you have to be during combat is….
Be evasive: These enemies pack a freaking huge punch. You get hit, you can expect your health metre to drop ¼ – 1/3. OUCH. And health potions aren’t in abundance, so you certainly can’t rely on them. Sure, you don’t really ‘die’ (you’re rescued by deathly clawed wings), but having to start at the save point can be tedious, especially since you can’t skip through cut scenes. Besides, no one wants to die. You feel weak. The answer is simple, roll out of the way! Don’t be shy about doing the dodge after every strike you make! I noticed that if you don’t target the enemy, the camera will follow the direction you’re facing, not keeping your enemy in the line of sight. Not ideal. So, you use the targeting button them. But HOLD UP – the button you need to hold down to lock onto your enemy (LT) interferes with the button you need to hold down to access your special attacks (LB). Not freaking ideal at all! Interested to know if players on PS3/PC have found this?
Crank up the difficulty: I started out on the ‘normal’ setting and instantly felt unchallenged. The subtle tutorials at the start are done so well that you’re ready to rip and roll after the first boss only 10 minutes in. Enemies were also frozen, meaning I could pick off one enemy at a time, if at all. And the way the combat is set up (read above) you just pick and slice your way through the enemies, leaving you hungry for more. Mind you, the minions tend to regularly get up after being knocked down, to the point where you may yell at your screen “WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE ALREADY!” before moving on to your next victim.
Also, there is SO MUCH HELP with navigation. Not only is there a map in the bottom right screen (which I was very grateful for) showing your location, objective and chests (what, no secrets?) but you also had access to an incredibly detailed map in the start menu. If you were still stuck after the assistance of those (may Death have mercy on your soul) then there’s an option to call upon the trusty guidance of your Crow, Dust. It literally flies to the direction you need to go next. Spoon feeding to the maximum. So you may as well break a sweat trying to take out the multiple minions on the hardest difficulty.
Feel like a cowboy, baby: The first ‘ooh!’ moment you get is right at the start when you mount your super scary, green-glowing steed, Despair. Like you, it’s undead. And supernatural. Which means you don’t need to play Epona’s song on your Ocarina to call upon him, you simply pull the triggers and SPOOF! You’re astride him! This can happen whenever you’re in an open area. To make you feel even more like you’re a cowboy, you can attack from atop, using your scythes in a sweeping motion, packing ultimate damage. YEEE-HAWWW!
Play Darksider II if you liked: God of War, Prince of Persia, Assassins Creed.
ChampChong posted up a video on supporting the female gamers that were online. He said to be nice to them, just in case they’re hot.
Geek Bomb (Rae Johnston and I) said THIS in response: