Let’s face it, last year’s release of the original VJ (Viewtiful
Joe) caught many of us off guard. To think that a simple cell shaded side-scroller
could pack such a punch as to not only survive in today’s 3D market, but be
considered an ‘A’ ranked game! Simply put, VJ is an outstanding game.
Fortunately enough, Capcom has delivered to us nothing less with their recent
release of VJ2.
Of course the question must be asked, “Why is Joe back on the big
screen?” It turns out that Movie
Land is in trouble
once again, and the Black Emperor is back at it. This time around he’s
attempting to rid the world of happy endings through the attaining of seven
Rainbow Oscars. Having turned Joe’s hero Captain Blue into the first of many
Rainbow Oscars, it’s up to you to set things right.
In an effort to put a stop to this evil, you’ll star as not only
Joe, but also as his lovely girlfriend Silvia. This is perhaps the most
interesting and differentiating aspect when compared to the original. Through
the use of the Z-button’s “Viewtiful Touch” technique, the player is able to
swap heroes in real-time. This implementation of character swapping and puzzle
solving is likely the most entertaining aspect of VJ2. Here the player will have
to take advantage of each of Joe and Silvia’s unique abilities in order to
achieve the desired effect and accomplish the corresponding mission.
First off, both Joe and Silvia share the ability to act in slow
motion. This allows for some of the most bona fide VJ2 experiences. In slow-mo,
Joe and Silvia are able to act with precision and timing. This allows for easy
dodging, countering, and gathering of Viewtiful Points. Though Joe is
considerably stronger, Clover (VJ2’s developer) did a first-rate job of
balancing Silvia with her distance attack ray gun.
As for additional abilities, Joe learns Machspeed and Silvia
learns Replay. Both of these abilities are essential for solving the puzzles
scattered throughout the levels. Joe’s Machspeed allows for him to move so fast
that you actually see double. These doubles (and later quadruples) assist in
attacking enemies as well as interacting with background objects. In fact,
Machspeed allows Joe to move at such a rate that enemies he hits ignite into
flames. Such sonic speed can also cause many environment fires he passes to be
extinguished. Silvia’s Replay technique allows for her most recent action to be
tripled in power.
With each of the two characters having their own unique
abilities, the player will be able to swap Silvia for Joe and vice versa. This
is where the game’s most complicated puzzles come into effect. For instance, one
such puzzle calls for Joe’s ability to quench the extreme temperatures of
volcanic rocks in order to jump across a river of molten lava.
Concerning independent character progression and leveling up,
both Joe and Silvia can obtain Viewtiful Points throughout their adventure.
Awarded for the execution of notable combos and counters, these points can be
spent between acts to “Power Up” your two heroes. This is where abilities such
as Joe’s Machspeed and Silvia’s Desperado (number of guns used) are upgraded. As
for the number of points obtained through battle, executing attacks and combos
in slow-mo doubles the number of points earned.
Regarding the game’s aesthetics, VJ2’s cell shaded characters and
cartoon-like backgrounds are near identical to its predecessors. The music is
best described, as a rhythmic rock that’s rather catchy and though obviously
loops, is quite enjoyable. In fact, the games fun and stylish graphics
and sound are of such quality and manner that they work brilliantly to
compliment the game’s most adorned asset, its gameplay.
takes about fifteen minutes to get used to in adult (Normal/Difficult) mode and
nearly fifteen hours to beat. In closing, VJ2 is an excellent game, and as long
as you don’t start off expecting something that it’s not, you’ll have a blast.
The Viewtiful Joe series is perhaps the most enjoyable side-scroller since
Klonoa 2, and a must-buy for anyone looking for a great game.
and addictive combat, Viewtiful Joe 2’s gameplay is definitely its selling
a lot by setting the mood, VJ2’s cell shaded graphics can best be described as
fun and a tad-bit quirky.
voice acting may sometimes sound slightly overdone, it does an excellent job of
establishing the game’s humor. VJ2 also boasts an excellent mix of rhythmic
instrumental music somewhat similar to a melodic rock.
If some of
the games battles (especially boss fights) don’t get to you, then the puzzles
will. Though many are quite intuitive, they seem to sometimes cause problems
that once you figure out you think, “I should have known that!”
has changed from the original, VJ2 still stands in a rather vacant genre middle
ground. A side scroller action, best described as a hybrid similar to Street
Fighter meet Double Dragon.
2 is an outstanding game that offers top notch addicting gameplay. It’s a
definite asset to any collection, and a must own for anyone on the lookout for a
great pickup game.