Joe Danger 2: The Movie review
A couple of years ago, a four-person team at Hello Games created the independent darling Joe Danger for PlayStation Network, putting the company's name on the map. But little would they know how much success they would be in for, as Microsoft signed them on to make an enhanced edition of the game for Xbox Live a year later. Since it performed so well, the team went back to work on the sequel, which is finally available as – for the time being – an Xbox Live exclusive. But does Joe Danger 2: The Movie live up to the hype of the original? Even though it doesn't push hard enough to exceed expectations, the answer is definitely yes.
This time around, instead of pleasing crowds in packed stadiums, Joe Danger has taken to Hollywood, where a director has hired him to perform stunts for the "biggest action movie ever". The settings are more elaborate as a result, ranging from skiing down mountains (and away from avalanches) to venturing in a mine cart, Indiana Jones style. However, the objectives remain closely the same to the original game, as you try to complete each level in the fastest time possible, while collecting goodies like stars and letters that spell out "D-A-N-G-E-R". The more you collect, the more bonus levels you unlock.
While the gameplay remains mostly the same as the original (acceleration and brake, turbo boosts, ducking, jumping and performing stunts), the use of various vehicles and suits do mix things up a bit. However, the fundamentals of the game remain about the same, and while the game doesn't take chances enough with its new transports (couldn't we do more with a jet pack), it's still just as fun as the first. And some of the bonus levels are certainly challenging, to say the least.
On top of the story mode, you're also welcome to create your own levels and share them with friends through Xbox Live, using a robust yet helpful system. There's also local multiplayer, but it's too short-lived, with only five levels in all and no accessibility to Xbox Live. You're better off just competing with others on the leaderboards.
Though the visuals don't entirely go leaps and bounds over the first game, Hello Games has successfully channeled what made the first Joe Danger so much fun and put that same effort into the second game. The change of locales is quite pleasing, and some of the new environments are dazzling, particularly the Indiana Jones-inspired stages. The animations are fun as always, especially after Joe bites it during a stunt, though the loading times are a bit longer than we would've preferred.
The sound's good too – to a point. The in-game music is pleasant to listen to, and the sound effects are usual Joe Danger territory. However, the game is constantly stained by the yelling director, who won't shut up for five seconds to let you do your job. There ought to be an option to turn him off.
Despite not going leaps and bounds with new gameplay elements and online multiplayer, Joe Danger 2: The Movie is a welcome follow-up to the original, providing hours worth of challenges to the fans who have yearned for it. And it certainly cements Hello Games' future in this industry. Bring on more Danger!