Game Review – Joe Danger 2: The Movie

Dan Jenko delivers his verdict on stylish racing-platformer Joe Danger 2: The Movie, available now on Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network (reviewed).

The original Joe Danger was so good that a blockbuster sequel was inevitable. Hello Games’ death-defying stuntman came out of retirement and shot to stardom in the first game, and now he’s the face of what is being pitched as the biggest and best action film ever.

The quirky, colorful art-style and in-your-face humour return, but this time around the talented people at Hello Games attempt to make the original Joe Danger look almost like a prototype. As you film the stunt-filled scenes which make up the game’s levels, you’ll not only be travelling around the world but driving (and even piloting) a variety of different vehicles.  Joe’s not just a motor-cyclist anymore, so expect to be controlling mine carts, jetpacks, unicycles, skis and more throughout the main campaign.

One of the original Joe Danger’s greatest strengths was its level design, with each stage providing a number of challenges that required exploration as well as speed. Joe Danger 2: The Movie is no different, with each scene coming with multiple objectives. Outside of collecting all the stars and finishing before the timer runs out, several levels come with their own, unique objectives (like ‘stop the missile launch’ or ‘take down all the bad guys’). This means the scope is significantly widened this time around, and you’ll never find yourself getting bored of doing the same old thing – which was perhaps the only true failing of the original.

The game’s ‘Movie Mode’ takes you across the globe, filming scenes that parody the likes of Indiana Jones and James Bond. One minute Joe is catching crooks and retrieving stolen loot as a New York city cop, the next he’s speeding away from an avalanche on skis SSX-style. The varied environments all look beautiful and crisp, with an unmistakable cartoon-style injected into each level to distinguish the game from the like of Trials HD and Excitebike.

Adding new vehicles means levels must be completely re-designed, and whilst the excellent bike-mechanics that made the first game so good steal the show, the other options are really refreshing. Mine cart levels are a test of reactions as you jump and duck over obstacles, while jet pack scenes offer more explorable vertical environments containing different collectibles. Some more standard motorbike levels would be nice, but this added variety does add to the game’s overall variety and helps make the campaign enjoyable throughout.

Movie mode will only take a few hours, but that’s not to say Joe Danger 2: The Move is light on content. There’s dozens of ‘deleted scene’ levels that offer a greater challenge if you feel like testing yourself, as well as local multiplayer that lets you race against your friends. The deleted scene levels are excellent, and require real skill to complete. The controls here are so good that you’ll never find yourself frustrated that the game isn’t responding to your movements – 95% of the time failure comes from a mistake you can see you’ve made – and this makes completing these difficult levels very rewarding. Local multiplayer is less engrossing and probably could have been expanded upon a bit more, but with that said these two extra modes do very well in increasing the amount of time you spend with Joe’s second outing.

The level editor that existed in the first game, or ‘Movie Maker’ as it’s now known, has been greatly expanded upon this time around. Making your own platforming masterpiece is easy enough, and the new-found ability to share your creations with the world gives Joe Danger 2: The Movie replayability on the scale of LittleBigPlanet or ModNation Racers. Hello Games’ have put systems in place so that the very best levels are played by the masses, and so much like in the previously mentioned ‘Play Create Share’ games, creation is very rewarding.

Combine that with online leaderboards for each stage (a few of which I topped, since I was lucky enough to play the game before the rest of the world), and Joe Danger 2: The Movie ends up being one of the most content-heavy packages on XBLA or PSN. The amount of time you could theoretically put into this one downloadable game is a lot more than many fully-fledged retail releases, and the game is good enough for you to enjoy yourself for the duration of that ride.

Joe Danger’s second outing is the big-budget action sequel that the original deserved. The focus of the first game is lost and this does take away some of the charm of that featured in the original, but otherwise Joe Danger 2 presents itself as the perfect sequel. There’s greater variety, more action and above all new ideas – making this grand blockbuster sequel something you should get front row seats for. Open up your wallets and get downloading.

 

FMV Rating: ****



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