Release Date: Out Now
"It's lights, camera, action action action!
Well, I've never said this before, but this game is PERFECT, totally and utterly perfect I tell thee, Capcom have done it again with this classy side-scrolling beat-em-up platform game.
...Thought that was all I had to say? Well, I suppose I should extol the many virtues of this game too.
Oh, and just to clear things up, Viewtiful means Beautiful View and VFX means Viewtiful Effects.
The story is a wonderfully simple thing, and it's nice that the game is unhindered by expectations of an amazing, in depth plot because it just wouldn't fit into a game like this. Joe and his girlfriend Sylvia both love going to the movies, especially to see the films of their favourite superhero Captain Blue, but on their latest trip to the cinema, Sylvia is kidnapped by the movie enemies and pulled into the film and Joe is pulled in too. After meeting the defeated Captain Blue, Joe gains the power to transform into Viewtiful Joe, the matchless movie superhero, and heads off to save his girlfriend from the evil Jadow.
See, simple, eh?
Joe's ability to transform into Viewtiful Joe offers more than just martial arts skills and excessive agility, he gains three VFX skills which will make you weep with pleasure every time you use them, though their use is limited by the amount of VFX bar you have left. First comes Slow Down, hold down the L button and everything slows down, propellors slow, small explosions become huge ones, and Joe's fists become vastly more powerful. Slow down allows you to dodge attacks at the expense of your VFX bar, and bullets slow down to visible speed and meaning you can deflect them back at enemies. Next comes Mach Speed, Joe speeds up incredibly, fighting means Joe splits apart and attacks multiple enemies at the same time, and his attacks flame out at high speed. Finally, you have Zoom, where zooming in offers Joe different attacks like rapid fire punches, spinning kicks and a jumping attack.
Not only are these skills necessary to fight off the masses of robotic enemies, but also needed in certain puzzles. For example, slowing down a drip of water makes it much larger, causing it to activate a switch. Mach speed causes Joe's attacks to take on fire, so you can light torches with it. Zoom allows you to see smaller objects, or the spinning kick can activate switches that need to be turned on simultaneously.
This combination of incredible fight scenes and the well placed puzzles offers a decent mix of gameplay, but never leaves you feeling like things were just a little tacked on to make things seem more well rounded. Though, in essence, it's a crazy fighting platform game and not really meant to be viewed as a taxing puzzle game.
One of the biggest and best things about this game is the difficulty.
Capcom seem to have a torrid affair with incredibly high difficulty levels, and this game follows that tradition wonderfully. The main point is the fact that even though the game is so difficult, it never ceases to be fun. You can have your arse kicked and then handed to you on a plate and you'll STILL be laughing at the enemies and the bright, cheery, jokey nature of the game. Though, admittedly, if you're a wimp you can start a game on the Kids difficulty to make it easy, the real meat comes from playing the game on Adults mode. You could say that Kids is the equivalent of easy and Adults of normal, but it's more like Kids is Normal and Adults is Very Hard, for example it took me at least 2 hours and 20 attempts to beat the boss of Episode 2 and yet I enjoyed every minute of it and ended up very, VERY good at the game. Oh, and don't forget the unlockable difficulties and the unlockable characters from beating those, which is a nice little incentive to get very good, very quickly.
While Capcom may not have Konami's idea with the difficulty, like in MGS2 where Very Easy was for barely trained monkeys and Extreme was for people with inhuman reflexes, Viewtiful Joe's difficulty level is proof that games really aren't getting any easier.
Combine all this together, add a gloss of style, chic and the cel-shaded manga style graphics and you have a game that is beyond anything you may have played before. I know it may seem pretentious to say, but this game is both original and innovative, so much so that it's been nominated for the Bafta game awards, just like Max Payne was and we all know how innovative that was.
It's new, it's fun and it's brilliant.
Admittedly, there are things I just haven't been bothered to talk about here, like the DMC style purchase of new abilities with points gained in the levels, the slow-motion combo system, or the perfectly composed music, but that's because they're better experienced than explained by a fan of the game. Anyone who's an action game fan should buy this game. Actually, no, forget that, anyone who's an action game fan MUST buy this game, and that's all there is to it.
Yup, from now on, life is Viewtiful...
- Viewtiful graphics.
- Viewtiful sound.
- Viewtifully Difficult.
- Joe is the coolest character. Ever.
- First brilliant side-scrolling platform game in AGES.
- Carpel tunnel syndrome from playing too much.