Review by Auron255
"Its Viewtiful...but not much else."
Viewtiful Joe is indeed a benchmark in videogame design and graphics. The look and feel of this game is just so stupendous, that it screams to be played. Though some people were asking for perfection, that is not what they got.
The story begins with Joe and his girl sitting in a theatre watching a Captain Blue movie, and is then some how magically teleported into the movie itself, to take the place of Captain Blue, and then rescue his girlfriend, who was also sucked into the movie. Then, its your duty to go through training by Captain Blue, and then undergo a series of mission...a la Episode-esque levels. There isn't much else to the story, its quirky, the enemies are genuinely funny...sometimes...and the rest is well, rather average. Its a very original idea though for a videogame, which is why I will be lenient on the story aspects. Its not deep or exciting like an RPG or an Action/Adventure game, but that's not what this game is about, so I give the story an 8.
The graphics are beautiful...or should I say viewtiful...I don't know. I do know however, that these are some of the best cel-shaded graphics on any console hands down. They are lush, the black outlines and shades make it look exactly like a comic book or cartoon. The motions are spot on smooth, while the facial animations suffer from static frame-rate, but its not much to quibble over. One thing that does erk me though, are the collision detections. Sometimes it will look as if a characters hand is going right through their face. This happens more often than you'd think, which is why I give Graphics a 9.
Through the game, you can learn new techniques, like Hot Kick, Viewtiful Forever, and Voomerang, among others, but its not much. You'll soon find no use for these special techniques, because if you try hard enough, you can get through the majority of the game with only using the SLOW, FAST and Close-UP powers. Not to mention, Joe only has two combos to perform. Y,Y,Y or X,X,X...the basic punch and kick combos. The dodge system is pretty good, but it could have been better, since there are only a few times when you actually need to dodge enemies. Most of the enemies can be taken down with your basic VFX powers (which are SLOW, FAST and CLOSE-UP). Though easy in the first half of the first level, you'll soon find that the difficulty ramps up far too early in the game, and will require you to be as nimble with your fingers as the enemies are on their feet. During the SECOND boss fight, you may have to try 3 or 4 times to beat him, since his attack will drain 2 hearts of health every hit. That is a lot since you only have about 8 hearts to begin with. Essentially, this game comes down to being a strategic button masher. Yes their are different ways to defeat enemies, with different powers, but in the end, once you find which attack works best against an enemy, you only need to follow up with some button mashing. The last thing is, that the game gives you hardly any tips on how to go through the game, so you'll have to read the instruction manual front to back before you begin playing. Though it can be fun to play sometimes, it just gets boring, because all of the abilities are useless since the majority of the game is beatable through standard combos and VFX. This is why the gameplay only deserves a 6.
A very simple and easy control scheme to memorize. Nothing should have been changed. All of the buttons weren't used, so it makes it easier on the gamer when they want remember how to perform certain moves. Not much to say, but 10!
The voice acting is great, but the sound effects are few and far between. There are only a few basic sound effects to listen for...the punch contact, the bullet zing, and the VFX sound effects. Which are cool, but do get annoying after a while, once you hear them over and over and over again. The actual soundtrack is okay, with a 70's/80's techno style approach to the music, its fun to listen to, and that's about all you would want.
Replay Value 4/10
After you've completed the game, you'll be so relieved to have finished it once, it will seem like a chore to have to do the whole thing again, especially on ADULT mode if you played through on KIDS mode (which is pretty darn hard for KIDS). Though fun to play through once, if it crosses your mind to play again, then do so, but I strongly recommend not to, since you will become rather bored seeing the same things over and over again.
Final Score 6/10
Though Viewtiful Joe is very nice to look at, and seems interesting at first (very much so), you'll soon realize its the same thing over and over, and the level designs are a bit too linear, with few to no secret rooms to go through your first time through. If you like platformers, this may interest you, but don't think just because you're a fan of platformer that you will love it. Otherwise, rent it first, and if you like it, buy it. If you think it looks like an automatic classic, you are wrong...remember, rent and try before you buy.
Over all its not a fialure, but not what it could have been.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 10/09/03
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