Series: Viewtiful Joe
Viewtiful Joe as a series was mildly interesting, and while I didn't get around to playing the fighting game that it also created or watched the anime it made, I have to say I had my fill. Perhaps I just don't care for Viewtiful Joe because its based a lot on movie tropes or perhaps because I just didn't have a “good” experience my first time around; I can't say for sure. What I can say is that as a series I see Viewtiful Joe as a game that at least tries to innovate each time it was released, and it always seemed to be bursting with ideas on how to make gameplay better. In time, I think Viewtiful Joe would have produced something truly amazing that would grip any player to succumb to its quirky battle mechanics, but because it was cancelled that prediction won't come to any light on what would actually happen. Am I sad about the cancellation? Well ya, despite not being a fan of the series, I have to say that it really did go out of its way to be as quirky as it was and always tried to be different in some way. Capcom is a fool to realize how much actual potential this series had. Sure the story structure was too formulaic for my taste, but the combat was rich and it was something that could have been continued to be perfected. Just maybe next time make it a little more obvious on what I should do, you know? Personally I wouldn't recommend this series that much unless you're already interest in it, otherwise these games can simply be avoided. It's not that they are bad, just kind one less thing to do I, and honestly I don't think people are missing much.
What would I like the next game to be like?:
I would honestly hope for a episodic DLC type package for the next game. Something like Viewtiful Joe: Direct to DLC as a title or some other lame movie pun like that. I can really see this game working in the vein that Capcom is squeezing Phoenix Wright into or Ghost Trick on iPhones. Giving people a small taste of this combat system and making it very affordable would really spike this series interest. The episodes work well enough on there own, so there isn't much reason to just sell them individual or in a package, and its not like this isn't down Capcom's alley. I really think something like a DLC adventure for Joe would work well enough to save this series and make it look like a low risk to Capcom; I mean we still need the 3rdpart after all!
Game series ranked
Viewtiful Joe 2 >= Viewtiful Joe > Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble
Individual Thoughts on the games
Viewtiful Joe ~ Date beat Mark's Birthday
Having heard constantly about how amazing Viewtiful Joe is, I can't really say I was that impressed with it. I mean, during the time of its release it was given such praise and admiration from game critics that it seemed like it was going to be the next big franchise. But in reality its just a good game with some original ideas that work well. I suppose in this day and age where originality and quality are fairly rare I suppose it was a big find for critics, but for people that play a lot of games or are looking for something truly great, well I can't help but feel a bit cheated. I suppose I am making this out to be fairly bad, and really I shouldn't. Viewtiful Joe is a good game; it has a lot of vibe to it and so cheesy that it's hard not to love it for that. But Viewtiful Joe, I feel just doesn't always express itself well enough to players.
Honestly I think that's the biggest problem I have with it, is that it really expects you to just get it. Several properties of your moves or techniques are either not explained well enough or are just to brief to really understand it. For instance, when you crouch punch you will hit the enemy in the air if it lands successfully, however this same punch is also used to hit obstacles in the air, and you are expected to do this with in the second episode just after being told about the mechanics of your fast forward technique. This leads to a lot of confusion about how to actually get past a barrel right after you were just told about the fast forward technique because its a wooden barrel and you can set yourself on fire with it. Naturally I thought to get past the wooden barrel by constantly hitting it till I was set on fire and then it would burn up. Course this was not the case, and because I was not told about the properties of my crouch punch before hand I honestly had no idea what to do. And that's whats kinda wrong with this game, there are just certain parts through the game where you legitimately were never told something about a tech or ability you have, and don't know how to get past an area because you will only do this learned ability one other time at most. Just in terms of puzzles and brain teasers, Viewtiful Joe is kinda of an one hit wonder, the most any given puzzle boils down to is simply fast forwarding or more than likely slowing down time. Which isn't something I am mad at the game about, because the heart of this game is using these mechanics to create some really intense fights or scenes that look just Viewtiful. But this can often become a problem too, mainly because a lot of the boss fights themselves can strangely be repetitive and tedious. It doesn't exactly present itself has a big problem, because this game requires you to learn when to use the timing of your heshin techniques just right so you can maximum your Viewtifulness, but if you are just out there to beat a boss it can simply get down to doing two basic moves you know work for like half an hour because of how long these fights can take if you don't know your way around. And more often than not its the case the first time through, as you're not given much of a chance to figure out what works well or what doesn't with these bosses. There aren't a lot of big tells when you can hit a boss for maximum hurtatude. The game greatly benefits from replaying the game, and thankfully its short enough to be able to constantly replay it, but boy is it a lot more confusing fighting and scoring the first time around.
I suppose that's the charm of Viewtiful Joe though, its a game that is very much meant to be played again and again so you can learn the combat system and make yourself Viewtiful while doing it. The combat is honestly a blast to play too, thanks to the heshin techniques you learn. There is just something so satisfying seeing enemies getting beaten up in fast motion, dodging them in slow motion, and then going in for a close up for the much harder hits. The last boss battle was a great way to end the game as well, with much of it feeling like a bigger than life battle compared to the other bosses you face, although its a little more on the nose when you pilot a big giant mech the size of the moon. The story certainly won't win many awards, but at the least its cheesy enough to be endearing. The music and sound effects are satisfying to hear to throughout, especially when you hear the enemies crying out in slow motion. Really though, Viewtiful joe is just a different kind of game, and that's a good thing.
Viewtiful Joe is a very demanding game at times that requires a lot of skill and know how about the game itself in order to fully be enjoyable. The combat system takes a lot of practice and some getting use to, but soon enough battling in fast forwards and slow motions feels more natural and even more satisfying when pulling off techniques correctly. The game can still be somewhat tedious when you don't know exactly what to do or how to defeat an enemy quickly, but half the joy of the game is learning how to take down enemies fast and looking Viewtiful while doing it! Overall, Viewtiful Joe is a very refreshing experience that many gamers looking for a little more action in there life should look into.
Viewtiful Joe 2 ~ Date Beat 9/1/13
Viewtiful Joe 2 feels like an improvement on the first Viewtiful Joe game, but the changes feel fairly minor. Aside from the addition of Sexy Silvia and her new power of replay, the game plays nearly identical, and even have the same flaws as the first. The game is still very challenging, but this time around it feels a lot more manageable compared to the first. The store and constant save points mean the game doesn't make you constantly play the same sections over and over again, and lets you plot your purchases more effectively. Battles can still often feel tedious if you don't know how to hit the enemy for massive damage, but these areas are few and far between to make them a constant problem throughout the game. What is evident though is the games need to let you figure out how to do it all on your own though, often giving puzzles that are only solved once or twice in the game. Again these puzzles are puzzling not for the fact they are meant to be puzzles, but because the game doesn't give you enough tools to figure out how to solve it to began with. Trying a bunch of different moves and ideas till you exhaust any given option you know of till you either give in and look for advice or get a eureka moment. Viewtiful Joe 2's puzzles can often be like battles sometimes, being tedious, a bit confusing, and overall frustrating.
As I said before, Viewtiful Joe 2 is an improvement on the first game, and it improved the combat enough to make it all the more enjoyable. Playing as Sexy Silvia is different though, as she uses a pistol along with her kicks, and while it helps set her apart, it also takes away a lot of her combo potential out. This makes Sexy Silvia inferior to the already Viewtiful Joe, but what makes this worse is the fire mechanic that can only be put out as Joe. So if you are dedicated to using Silvia through out the reel sections, you will eventually be forced to switch to Joe to put yourself out when you're on fire. Buying items and moves aren't nearly as grind heavy as the first game thankfully, and you will usually be able to get a new move or item each time you visit the store in each given reel. The story this time is a bit more nonsensical however, but still cheesy nonetheless. The soundtrack also still manages to get the blood pumping and the fuel going, but its nothing to write home about. Really though, Viewtiful Joe 2 had a lot of potential to help get a franchise up and running, but with little improvements its understandable how this series just kinda died off unfortunately. There was a lot of missed potential with VJ2, and while I'd like to see more of the series, I can't say that gaming is missing much. VJ series is good as a whole, but it's not really that great as a series, and seems to not address its faults well enough.
Viewtiful Joe 2 improves on the originals formula of controlled viewtiful fighting, but it does little to actually improve the flaws the first had. Fights can still be very tedious if you don't know how to hit the enemy properly, and the puzzles are nearly as bad as the first with a lot guess work and wondering what exactly you do to solve this puzzle. Viewtiful Joe 2 had a lot of potential to be great, but it just ends up being a good affair.
Viewtiful Joe Double Trouble ~ Date Beat 10/1/2013
As much as I want to say that Double Trouble has a lot of really awesome and cool ideas; I'm more inclined to say its a very average game. In the other Viewtiful Joe games, the games were far more exciting and challenging because the A.I and puzzles were better. While at times they were also annoying to play against or hard to understand because of the unclear directions for puzzles sometimes, they at least give some memorable moments and challenge that is need in this day and age of gaming. The best way to really describe the combat in this game is that its a slightly better beat'em up style game, which maybe fine for some people, but it certainly isn't that great for Viewtiful Joe. Viewtiful Joe really differs itself as a game because the way you can use Joe's powers to spice up the combat or use to your advantage to get a couple more hits in. Double Trouble however doesn't seem to have a lot of enemies that actually need Joe's powers to take down however and a lot of the game can simply be played by button mashing and simple jump avoiding. That's not how Viewtiful Joe is supposed to be, and certainly made the games bosses suffer more for it despite having some pretty cool designs. Aside from slow, Joe's powers this time really aren't as responsive as I'd like them to be. Shaking, a new mechanic where you press one of the shoulder buttons to make Joe stop so you can start scratching the screen to cause things to get loose, is very unresponsive at times. Often when trying to shake an item on screen you usually hit it once or twice then suddenly make the shaking power stop in the midst of your action, usually by activating a different power, causing you to start the process all over again. Another action that worked much like close up from the older Viewtiful games was here too, but the way it actually worked seemed a bit counter intuitive to the whole control scheme. In order to close up on Joe or something Joe needed to touch you had to move your stylus or thumb vertically up then in order to exit said mode you move your stylus or thumb vertically down. While it certainly seems simple enough, when actually playing the game at a fair pace it became quite a hassle to active and deactivate, usually meaning that you just have to waste your Viewtiful meter. Finally the split mechanic is the only touch screen power that actively worked for me constantly and was overall impressive to use for puzzles. Often when getting stuck I just had to split screen somewhere and the problem would be solved. It wasn't used in combat very often though, so perhaps that’s why I found it easier to use as I wasn't panicking over pace.
Double Trouble's story however was fairly interesting compared to the past two Viewtiful games, but not nearly as fun as the past two were either. Its an odd mix of good idea, bad presentation. Unlike the past games, Double Trouble has little voice acting and movement during the cutscenes, although its more than likely due to the DS hardware. Either way, a lot of the life that Joe and his friends have seem to be fairly out of it without voice acting or movement. While I do think that a lot of ideas in Double Trouble are great, what basically it boils down to is that it doesn’t have much of a life to it, and this is the exact problem with the story as well. Although I will say Double Trouble does end on a fairly good note compared to the rest of the game. The music and soundeffects are also there, but nothing really new or interesting to set it apart from the rest of the series. Overall Double Trouble just kinda feels like an experiment from Capcom rather than an actual attempt on a Viewtiful joe game, but with a bit more polish on it I think it could actually be fairly good like the rest of the series. But for now, Double Trouble is the bottom of the totem pole in viewtifulness.
Double Trouble sets itself apart from other Viewtiful Joe games by having a lot more interesting powers and abilities to use via the touch screen however in turn it lost a lot of its life and style that the other two games present itself so well in. When it comes down to it, Double Trouble feels more like a half-hearted experiment of what could have been a good game, but just plays too much with the concepts rather than fixes the gears to really make them work. Thus it made what could have been a fun experience rather average with a lot of the enemies and items being rather dull or too easy to actually beat.
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