In an effort to shore up the release of the Xbox One X, it feels as though Microsoft have been scurrying through their archives looking for exclusives they can roll out in 4K. Disneyland Adventures, a relatively well received Kinect exclusive seemed to fit the bill, so here it is, six years later, with a lick of paint and shorn of its Kinect requirement. It’s a shame then that thanks to some severe technical issues the lick of paint can’t cover up the rust underneath.
Disneyland Unlimited is stuffed full of content, all based around the iconic park and its different areas and the Disney films and characters that reside within. Just as with the real park – or so I believe, as we were too poor for trips to Disneyland – you’ve got Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown and New Orleans Square to roam around in, meeting characters, and enjoying attractions as you go.
Each area plays host to a number of famous Disney characters, and attractions that are either tied to a film or to that area of Disneyland. Each of those attractions has three or four episodes, each of which takes you on some form of journey. There’s a vague sort of narrative that really amounts to you exploring the park, talking to all of the famous characters, and going on all the rides, so you can be chatting to Pinocchio who’ll have you looking for chisels, before trying to take down Zurg’s minions with Buzz Lightyear. It sounds like every kids dream, but the technical implementation is very, very poor.
Disneyland Unlimited is shonky. That’s a technical term, and if you can catalogue the kind of problems that poorly put together computer games can have, I think this one has them all. On Xbox One S there’s frame rate issues, including skipped frames, screen tearing, pop-in of both items, textures and characters, hanging during transitions, and excruciatingly long load times; it’s frankly rubbish, and even more so in a game that’s been ‘remastered’. Running around the park for a short time, it’s better on Xbox One X, but there’s still hiccups and you categorically should not need the more expensive console to have a decent time with this game.
There are further annoyances besides the technical issues, including the fact that the game doesn’t automatically move to the next episode of whichever section you’re on, and instead you’ll find yourself accidentally repeating the same one you’ve just done. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could exit straight to the episode hub, but your only options for some attractions your options are to exit back to the park, or the title screen, both of which then subject you to multiple long loading times. It’s pitiful, especially when it’s children that are going to be subjected to it.
If we’re cataloguing annoyances, you can add in how the game deals with tasks. Whether you’ve already completed a section or not, you might find yourself having to return to it as part of the series of tasks which loosely count as the game’s narrative. The item that you’re searching for could be in any of the three levels, and you might miss it the first time you reach it, necessitating yet another run through an overly long challenge. It is not fun.
Everything is really some form of fetch quest, so you’re running back and forth, sometimes between two characters who are barely a few feet apart but seem incapable of talking to one another. Maybe they’ve had a row? Maybe Alice and the Mad Hatter are having a lover’s tiff. Such insights aren’t given, but they would perhaps make the game more interesting.
Each of the attractions really boil down to one of three types of activity, which are racing through a course, shooting things from behind cover, or dancing. As a former Kinect exclusive, it’s no surprise that the overarching activities aren’t that taxing in terms of mechanics, and they are at least fairly technically sound, but weariness will set in long before you’ve seen everything. The dancing sections are perhaps the worst hit by the loss of motion controls, as instead you’re just pressing buttons at the right time, and though younger gamers may not find it quite so straightforward it simply isn’t all that exciting. If you happen to have a Kinect you can still use that of course.
Each of the episodes does at least do a good job of looking and sounding like the property it’s from, even if it is more or less the same thing with a different skin, and there is a generous amount of content to explore if you can cope with the problems. Young players may manage to live with the technical faults and get some fun out of their time here, and it can look pretty good, at least during the individual cel-shaded episodes, but largely the whole experience begs the question; how has this made it through quality control?
Disneyland Adventures is a terrible remaster of what should be an enjoyable family game. Running around hugging cartoon characters, taking pictures and grabbing autographs is what everyone would want from a trip to Disneyland, it’s just a shame that this is the kind of trip where you miss your flight, the weather is terrible, and your hotel room is dirty.
Version Tested: Xbox One S, Xbox One X