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April 27, 2005
Viewtiful Joe 2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Clover Studio
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
202KBDolby PLIIYesYesSmallNo

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You must see this in action!
If you thought that games on the PS2 were becoming boring and too 'been there done that' then it's time to have a look at Viewtiful Joe 2. The original Viewtiful Joe was one of the five Gamecube exclusive titles until Capcom realised that only a dozen or so people owned a Gamecube and decided to bring the Nintendo exclusive titles to other platforms. It's a good thing too as Viewtiful Joe, released only six months ago in Australia, was one of the most refreshing and exciting games on the PS2. This sequel promises even more then the original but doesn't stray too far from the path, and why should it...

Life isn't like the movies. It's better than that! Life is Viewtiful... The evil Gedow organisation is set to launch a vicious attack on Movie Land. Once more the earth is in perilous danger and there’s only one hero who can rise to the challenge. Help Viewtiful Joe kung-fu kick his way through the craziest cartoon bad-guys. And this time Joe's not alone. His girlfriend Silvia has turned into a gun-toting superbabe.

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The cut scenes are so stylish.
Viewtiful Joe 2 plays virtually identical to the previous title. The game is essentially a beat 'em up which takes place across 8 different levels. All are fairly lengthy and littered with dozens of different enemies. What I found a little strange is that although there are a wide range of enemies once you encounter a new one they will appear in every level after that point. Perhaps some level exclusive enemies could have made the levels a little more unique. The bosses are also impressive and will certainly take a bit of a beating before being defeated.

Being able to play as Silvia is probably the biggest new addition in Viewtiful Joe 2. She carries a neat little gun, as well as Joe's VFX powers. During the levels it is possible to switch between characters, but in doing so it leaves you vunerable to enemy attacks for a few moments so timing is crucial. For those unaware Joe's powers are a key component to the game as it allows you to essentially alter the game world - slow down time, mach speed or zoom in. One new power available to Silvia is the Replay which allows you to record the on-screens action and the replay it to inflict even more damage. Hell it's possible to eat a hamburger to regain strength, replay it and then gain your strength three times over!

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Welcome to the jungle...
Joes trusty aircraft has returned and has the ability to transform into various shapes to support his activities throughout various stages such as a racer, cannon, drill or submarine. Actual control of these vehicles, and indeed the characters through the entire game, is responsive and silky smooth.

I guess the biggest issue with Viewtiful Joe 2 is that it brings few new ideas to the table. If you've played the original you'll be able to step straight into this game without much pain. One aspect I would love to see in a third game would be 2-player support of some kind. Apparently the developers were planning on including 2-player support in this game but for one reason or another dropped it and decided on letting the player switch between characters. Perhaps the third game. Finally the length of the game is still a bit on the short side. It's longer then the original, but not by much. Fortunately the replay value is extremely high so you'll be back for several plays.

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Now that's a boss!
Graphics are certainly a highlight of the Viewtiful Joe games and this second game is no different. It's really hard to see it from these pictures but the it game is sort of a side scrolling game with 3D cel-shaded graphics. Make sense? Well, you really need to see this game in action to truly appreciate what Capcom have managed to do. The characters all look wonderful and the backgrounds a lot more lively then these screens would indicate. In fact the range of levels includes a jungle, underground ruins, ancient Japan, snowy mountains and outer space. Each is as impressive as the last. The visual effects such as slowing time, and explosions really are quite stunning to watch. Unfortunately the death animations for bosses could have been a little more, well, dramatic, but that's only a small issue.

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In the underground ruins.
If there is one area of the game which is a little disappointing it's the sound. While the music is fairly up-tempo and appropriate the voices are quite cheesy. I'm not sure if it's intentional - it could be as it sort of suits the game - but I would have preferred something a bit different. The effects are pretty good with some nice explosions and punch impacts. Unfortunately as seems to be the case with many Japanese games the sound is only in Stereo - I would have thought most people would at least be incorporating Dolby Pro Logic, or even DTS, by now.

In the end we can put Viewtiful Joe 2, and it's prequel, in the same category as Rez, ICO and Beyond Good & Evil - that being sensational games that should sell in the millions but won't (or didn't) due to a lack of a big name license. Don't be a fool and skip this title as you would be bypassing one of the most original and refreshing titles in years. Superb stuff.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC version)
GRAPHICSSome of the most impressive visuals yet seen on the PS2.
SOUNDNothing too spectacular here, cheesy (intentional?) voice work.
GAMEPLAYEssentially a beat 'em up, but a franticly good one at that.
VALUESome alterations from the original but not huge ones, not overly long.
OVERALLIf you own Viewtiful Joe then you may be a little disappointed with the lack of evolution. Still, this is a fantastic game which is a blast from start to finish. Well worth a purchase for those looking to break away from the same old genres. Highly recommended.

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