Joe Returns in Style
Since the last game, Silvia has convinced Captain Blue to give her a V-Watch as well, turning her into Joe's sidekick. At the beginning of this game, Captain Blue is abducted by the alien Emperor Black and transformed into a Rainbow Oscar. The seven Rainbow Oscars decide whether or not each level (movie) has a happy ending or not. So it's up to you to stop the Emperor and save Blue. Along with Silvia you will also have the help of Joe's dad, Jet Black, as you progress. Viewtiful Joe 2 is a great sequel and reemphasizes the fact that Capcom has another smash hit franchise on their hands. Personally I can't wait til Joe winds up in one of their fighting games.
As previously stated, this game screams style. The cel-shaded graphics provide a vivid and lively cartoon world known simply as Movieland. Joe's cape and Silvia's hair could still use some work, since the collision detection and texture both are fairly bad. But the rest of the game is gorgeous. It's the most colorful game you're going to find this side of Katamari Damacy. The animation is smooth and again...you won't find a game this stylish.
If you played the last game you know what to expect. Only a couple minor changes as far as button layout. The Z button now allows you to switch between Joe and Sylvia on the fly. Pretty much everything else stays the same from the original. Viewtiful Joe 2 has tight controls and is loaded with action, but you will find it frustrating in certain areas. That's not a gameplay issue though; the game is just hard in that old-school 2D brawler fashion. Joe and especially Silvia have some new abilities and skills you can buy using points you earn through the levels. The most common are still the ones that manipulate time and space, but the real star is the Six Machine, which now has the ability to be used as a submarine as well as a massive bazooka. The game is full of constant action and you have be on your toes and thinking at all times to succeed.
In any other game I might say the voice-overs were horrible, but somehow it all works in VJ. The campy voice-overs completely mesh with the overall style of the game as Joe and Silvia re-enter the movie screen to save Captain Blue. Fans of the first will recognize most of the soundtrack not because it's identical, but because it has cleverly been remixed to sound faintly familiar. Overall it's put together well but nothing exactly spectacular.
It's a shame the multiplayer couldn't make it in like they originally had planned, but even so, Viewtiful Joe 2 could potentially own your Cube for a while. Not because of the length of the game, which isn't very long, but because it's just that much fun to go back through the levels beating the snot out of stuff. Viewtiful Joe 2 is one of those rare games that will repeatedly kick you in the balls then elbow you in the teeth only to leave you begging for more. As frustrating as the game can get, you will keep coming back to it.
This game is a blast. Any and all gamers should enjoy this gem. Obviously it's not as shockingly brilliant as the first, but the overall luster of the game has not faded in the sequel. If you often dream about the good ol' days of Double Dragon, Contra, and Final Fight, this is the game for you. If you want a delectable mixture of action and platforming, this is the game for you. If you enjoy games period, this is the game for you.
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the game's release. ***