TBT: Viewtiful Joe 2 Review-Red Hot Return

Viewtiful Joe 2 was developed by Clover Studios, published by Capcom, and was released in 2004. It is the sequel to Viewtiful Joe and picks up exactly where the first game ended. An alien army is invading the land of movies, and it’s up to Joe and his girlfriend Sylvia to collect several rainbow Oscars and defeat the evil using their VFX powers.

Image Credit: Cubed3

Viewtiful Joe 2 takes everything loved about the first game, and adds a few new ideas. Firstly, players can now swap between Joe and Sylvia on the fly. The two characters play differently, with Joe retaining his moveset from the previous game, and Sylvia using blasters and having the slow, zoom, and replay VFX powers. Replay allows for an action to be repeated multiple times, though taking three times as much damage when hit. These powers are used to exploit enemy weaknesses and to solve various puzzles. Puzzles can range from knocking an enemy into an electrical grid to complete a circuit, or using a combination of VFX powers to charge two generators at once.

Image Credit: Nintendo Life

Each level is themed after a different film or genre. One can be based off Jurassic Park while another takes more elements from old samurai films or science fiction. This leave each level feeling unique, as well as presenting them with their own enemy designs and puzzles. In between levels players can upgrade and acquire new moves for Joe and Sylvia. I found myself powering up rather quickly, with Joe and Sylvia sharing roughly the same powers. These powers can range from a dive kick, to upgraded VFX powers that can add clones while in mach speed or give the duo a screen clearing parry. Taking advantage of moves like these is vital when facing off against the bosses and mid bosses.

Image Credit: IGN.com

Bosses in Viewtiful Joe 2 are passable. While they work for their levels, I never found them as memorable as the bosses in the previous game. I never felt a connection with them, and even the rival fight lacks weight. Often times bosses will attack in patterns that you will learn to recognize, using VFX powers to captalize on their weaknesses to deal large amounts of damage. This is fine, but when you’re bosses aren’t memorable for their character design or personality, there at least needs to be something interesting about them gameplay wise, and in Viewtiful Joe 2 there really isn’t. This doesn’t make them bad, just not memorable.

Viewtiful Joe 2 also lacks the unlockables of the first game, choosing to replace the unlockable characters and modes of the first game with a trial mode and Super Viewtiful Joe mode makes its return, allowing you to play with unlimited VFX powers. While I understand the reasoning for not having unlockable characters, due to the Joe and Sylvia swapping mechanic, it is still disheartening considering the replayability  it gave the first game.

Overall, Viewtiful Joe 2 is a solid sequel. It adds new layers on top of the already good combat and puzzle solving foundations found in its predecessor. Despite having lackluster bosses, the overall enemy and level design help retain the games quircky personality that sticks with beat em up fans.

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