Viewtiful Joe 2 PS2 Review
Welcome back to the world of Viewtiful Joe! Capcom’s innovative super hero action game that mixes funky cartoon-style visuals with classic side-scrolling gameplay returns with the world’s quirkiest million dollar action hero… Joe! The first edition of VJ was so inventive that it almost single-handedly helped reinvigorate the 2D side-scrolling genre after many years in obscurity so the second edition has a lot to live up to. Even though VJ2 does not innovate as much as its processor it is still a great addition to the genre that propels the series a few more rungs up the ladder to stardom.
VJ2’s plot revolves around a cyborg squid, stealing magical Oscar awards in order to control the fabric of reality (an everyday event in Hollywood). The game then challenges you to track down and recover the Oscars by trailing though a myriad of levels that all seem to hint to some form of film that took place in recent years. Throughout the game Joe will venture through leaves that pay homage to Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and Alien among many other films. You may also find a sky high Oscar award inspired android (another everyday event in Hollywood, or so we are lead to believe).
This time Joe won’t be feeling lonely as he is joined by Silvia (who you may remember from the first title). This time Silva is Joe’s sidekick and her damsel in distress days are now firmly behind her. At most points through the game both characters will be onscreen kicking all different kinds of ass but sadly the game always remains 1 player exclusive. This is a pity as two player VJ could rival the arrival of sliced bread as the best thing ever. Instead of a two player mode VJ2 adopts on-the fly switching between the two characters.
Fortunately, the two characters are almost polar opposites of each other meaning there is always a reason to switch between them at different points throughout the game and you won’t just drive on regardless with one player while blanking the other from your mind. Not only is switching essential to advance it is also very fun to do. Silvia also has different attacks than Joe (attacking from a distance with her space gun) which brings more interesting mechanics to the game. Some enemies also need both Joe and Sylvia to operate together to take down, as some of the game’s puzzles also need some working together to get past. All in all, these neat new extras propel the game above its predecessor in terms of fun but many of the series’ older features also make a return to keep everything feeling familiar.
As you would expect the graphics looks absolutely Viewtiful. The graphics remain just as they were in the previous titles and Capcom bring very few changes to the table. There are some new enemies that bring a brand new style to proceeding but most of the animation has a familiar feeling and looks more or less the same as before. If you liked the comic book styling of previous efforts you will love what you see here. In terms of sound, Capcom have also gone down the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach as it shares many of the same aspects of previous efforts. Most of the music in the game is just ambient background music you won’t be remembering too long after playing but there are some nice tunes that pop in at many points throughout the game that are memorable after playing the game. The voice acting, while not amazing, does suit the game very well. All the character’s voices from the previous title return to return to their roles which are a nice added plus.
It would be very easy to call VJ2 a rehash and blame Capcom for cashing in on another franchise without adding anything to the overall product, but if something is not broken you don’t need to fix it. VJ2 has everything the original contained and it is tightened and refined to make the overall game better. The addition of Silvia helps reduce the unavoidable feeling of déjà vu whilst playing but does not change the overall gameplay mechanics that much. If you enjoyed the first game then VJ2 is a must buy for you. There are not many games out there that can offer you the same experience as the Viewtiful Joe series presents you so if you are the kind of person that craves an innovative experience that is a break from the norm then I would advise you to buy this title now!
8.3 out of 10