Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 19, 2010
Viewtiful Joe – Review

Viewtiful Joe – Review

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Viewtiful Joe has often caught my eyes on the game store shelf when I’ve been browsing for new games but since I haven’t really bought a new Gamecube game in months, I’ve consistently overlooked this title and went for something on the Xbox or PS2 shelf. When a copy of Viewtiful Joe popped through the letterbox for the PS2 however I couldn’t help but be a little excited at finally getting to experience this game. I’d heard some good things about the Cube version and I have to say I wasn’t at all disappointed with the PS2 port.The first thing I noticed about Viewtiful Joe is just how fantastic the graphics look. The unusual cell shading mixed with a retro feel to the game makes it instantly attractive and interesting to view. The tongue-in-cheek cartoony feel of the game mixed with the 2D/3D graphics provide a lush and detailed setting for your adventure featuring movie fan Joe.

Joe is just your average guy, out for the evening with his girlfriend, treating her to one of his favorite old fighting movies at the local cinema. When his beloved girlfriend is snatched by the Darth Vader-esque villain on the screen and sucked into the movie, Joe has to step up to the plate and become the hero he’s always dreamt of being. He is guided in his quest by Captain Blue, a true hero who has now passed and whom Joe must live up to.

The beginning of the game only hints at what is to come. You enter into a very basic training mode which shows you how to kick and punch however this is only scratching the surface of what Joe can do. He truly is a superhero worthy of challenging any others for their crown. His maneuvers gradually grow throughout the game and although you start off with basic moves capable of defeating most enemies, the fun lay in expanding your range and pulling off some truly breathtaking moves. As Joe progresses he learns new combos and outlandish feats of strength and power. In fact you’re rewarded for the more insane and ridiculous moves you can pull off when attacking your enemies and trust me there are plenty of enemies around. The enemies in the game are as unusual as the rest of the graphics. You’ll regularly encounter soldiers, bats, mummies, flying leprechaun like creatures and more.

As you make your way through the game, the aim is to rescue your girlfriend whilst becoming the superhero you already feel you are in your own mind. The Kung-fu like fighting merges perfectly with the old movie touches added to the overall look of the game. You make your way through a series of episodes and you’re graded after each of these and within each scenario inside these also. The grades range from V (Viewtiful), A (Awesome), B (Baaaad), C (Crappy) and D (D’Oh!), and the more cool moves you pull off the higher the grade. You’ll also have the opportunity to power up as you move through the game and this is a brilliant addition as not only does it help you achieve the moves you’ll need to progress later on but it also lets you buy extra hearts and health etc to keep you playing longer. Oh a word of warning here, if you’re hoping to save then please put you memory card in when you start the game. I had serious trouble trying to save at the save points throughout because i hadn’t used a memory card at the beginning. You will definitely want to save your game because it can be very taxing at times and there are a few difficult areas which will take some time to work out. Don’t let this put you off though because this is in part what makes the game so good. It’s challenging but never loses its sense of fun with it. On a few occasions early on I found myself getting a little frustrated at what to do next but that’s purely because I hadn’t yet learned how to best use the special skills that Joe has. Once you learn how to use these it really adds to the feeling that you’re interacting with your environment. Joe can slow down time which is brilliant for attacking difficult enemies and multiple enemies. It can also be used to help slow down fans and moving platforms so you can proceed. He can also use mach speed to speedily go where no Joe has gone before and this is perfect for attacking bosses.

The more you play, the more confident you’ll become in attempting new moves in combination with special abilities and its these that will boost your scores. The inclusion of VFW power means that there’s a good balance between the length of time you can stay in special abilities mode. It lasts a fairly long time and in VFX mode you can perform your way out moves. If it runs out you revert back to being dull old normal clothed Joe but don’t worry that doesn’t last long and you can still punch and kick in this mode anyway. The controls for fighting are tight and accurate. No need for numerous buttons and menus etc in this game, its straight forward but accomplishes so much. It makes you feel that you’re obtaining great fighting combos with very little effort and that’s another great aspect of the game.

The sounds in Viewtiful Joe are spot on. They sound like traditional comic book sounds if thats possible. There’s the thwack, bop, thud type noises and of course the soundtrack running in the background to add a little atmosphere. The inclusion of cheers and clapping when you do something amazing really makes you feel like its part of a movie, as well as the director shouting instructions when you die, take a break and so much more.

Female Gamer Angle: Obviously you’re only playing as Joe, he’s the hero and you’re saving his girlfriend, but who cares! It’s great fun and as we always say here at Thumb Bandits… we as female gamers want good games, sure it would be nice to be able to play the girl rescuing the boy or indeed girl, but it’s just not going to happen that soon.

Overall, Viewtiful Joe is a brilliantly addictive unusual game. I’m not sure how it is quite classified but that just doesn’t matter when it’s this much fun. Clover Studios have done a brilliant job of porting this over and Capcom are onto a winner with this title. There are numerous hidden bonus characters to unlock and the PS2 version is lucky enough to have Dante from Devil May Cry as one of those unlockables. This game doesn’t really alter much as it progresses however it doesn’t seem to become dull. It feels fun and it makes you want to continue playing. A completely engaging game which is definitely a must have for any PS2 owner. Go buy now. ‘Cut, Cut, Cut!’.

Review by Tracy

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