Viewtiful Joe 2 Review
A few additions to an already proven formula make Viewtiful Joe 2 another great and quirky action game.
- Great sense of style and solid presentation
- Unique side-scrolling gameplay
- Should take a while to complete.
- Very similar to the first game
- Some tough puzzles will slow your progress.
Cheesy dialogue and happy endings are in trouble once again, and who better to come to the rescue than that high-flying cinematic hero, Viewtiful Joe? A few months ago, Capcom brought its wildly innovative side-scrolling platformer of the same name, formerly a GameCube exclusive, to the PlayStation 2. This year, the aptly titled Viewtiful Joe 2 has popped up on Sony's machine only two weeks after it debuted on the GC, and it delivers more, more, more of what made the first game superb--but it's so similar to its predecessor, it's inherently less inventive. That only slightly diminishes its entertainment value, though, since it's still a far sight more unique than most of the games available on the PlayStation 2 (or any platform, really). Overall, a few additions to an already proven formula make Viewtiful Joe 2 another great and quirky action game.
If you played the first Viewtiful Joe, you'll feel immediately at home in its sequel, but newcomers will find that this is a side-scroller with some truly novel and pleasing tricks up its sleeve. Joe and his girlfriend Silvia once again find themselves inside the world of the cinema, this time in a place called Movieworld. They'll be fighting against the malevolent Black Emperor and a bizarre menagerie of enemies (many of whom are similar to those from the first game) as they attempt to recover a smattering of rainbow-colored Oscar statuettes.
Of course, this is all just an excuse to send you traipsing through a multitude of levels patterned loosely after big hits from movie history--everything from Jurassic Park to Indiana Jones and even Japanese samurai films is represented here. The game is referential without really being derivative, putting its own slightly nutty spin on all this source material and establishing a very unique sense of style in the process.
As an action-movie star, Joe has the standard array of punches, kicks, uppercuts, and sweeps, not to mention the requisite double jump. What really set him apart from the average video game hero are his VFX powers, which allow him to speed up and slow down time, as well as bring the camera in for a close-up so he can perform much flashier (and more-powerful) attacks. Your VFX ability is limited by a meter that runs down quickly as you use your powers, though it fills back up just as quickly.
As in the first game, the purpose of the VFX powers is twofold. First, they make it a lot easier to take out enemies, dodge incoming attacks, and so on, which is important in itself, since the game tends to throw a ton of foes at you at once. Second, every level is full of mind-bending puzzles that you'll have to solve with your powers to progress. Curiously, Joe hasn't received any new powers in this sequel--he'll rely entirely on his existing three--but he's still just as much fun to play as he was in the first game.
Rather, the honor of a new VFX ability falls to the game's second playable character. Last time around, you played solely as Joe throughout the entire game, but this time a "viewtiful touch" feature has been added. As inexplicable as it sounds, the viewtiful touch allows you to switch between Joe and his girlfriend Silvia at the touch of a button (maybe that's where they got the name). Silvia plays a little differently than Joe, since she moves a lot quicker and comes armed with a laser pistol (which can later be dual-wielded, John Woo style) rather than a punch. She has the slow-down and zoom-in powers that Joe has, but she loses the speed-up power in favor of "replay," the game's lone new VFX ability. This power lets you essentially repeat your last action three times over, which comes in handy in a lot of fighting situations.