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Joe Danger 2: The Movie Review

Sarah LeBoeuf | 20 Sep 2012 18:00
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Joe Danger seemingly came out of nowhere when it launched on the PlayStation Network in 2010, but the quirky racing title quickly won the hearts of many thrill-seeking gamers. The concept was simple: guide motorcycle stuntman Joe Danger through an increasingly complex series of levels while performing ridiculous tricks to try and outscore your friends. Joe Danger 2: The Movie takes what makes the original game fun and builds on it in almost every way. Usually, that works pretty well, but sometimes the overwhelming amount of content can result in frustrating chaos.

In Joe Danger 2: The Movie, Joe's now a big-time Hollywood stuntman, working with a director constantly barking orders and putting him through more and more extreme scenes. The most immediately apparent improvement over the first game is that the sequel simply looks a lot better. Joe Danger wasn't an ugly game, but the graphical upgrade to Joe Danger 2 really makes each stage pop. There's also a huge amount of vehicle variety. Gone are the days when Joe could only ride a motorcycle. Now he careens along on ATVs, bikes, skis, jetpacks, and even a difficult-to-balance unicycle, each of which comes with its own challenges and tricks.

The levels also feature a lot more variety than the game's predecessor, with different environments in each act of the movie and various completion goals. While most levels simply require Joe to cross the finish line, some have alternate requirements, like taking out a moving truck or crushing dangerous dinosaur eggs before they hatch. Building on the movie theme, levels have humorous titles like "Joe-rassic Park" and "Fast Action Hero." Each stage is fast-paced and built for stunts, and the more you do, the more your boost meter fills. Trying to find the balance between completing the level, getting bonus stars, and performing enough stunts to outscore your friends on the leaderboards is an addictive challenge that will have you replaying some scenes over and over again.

The amount of content in Joe Danger 2: The Movie generally adds to the fun factor , but there are times when too much is happening at once. Obstacles might be blocked in a multi-lane street, explosions or projectiles can make it hard to time jumps or switch lanes, and the director's shouts of "Duck! Jump! Up! Down!" can get lost in all of the noise. The pandemonium can result in many cheap crashes, and you might find yourself trying to memorize the path of obstacles over multiple failed attempts. This makes some courses more about trial and error than speed and skill, which is incredibly frustrating.

When you need to take a break from the main movie campaign, there are plenty of other things to do. Tutorial levels show you how to pull off advanced tricks and stunts without being tedious or boring. There's a new level creator that's easy to learn, yet allows for endless creativity and insane user-created scenes that can be uploaded and shared with the world. Though there aren't many user levels to choose from yet, there's plenty of potential for the community to get stronger.

In addition to leaderboards and ghost times, you can now compete directly against friends in four-player local multiplayer. The objective of these races is to score the most points, with bonuses awarded for crossing the finish line and not crashing. It's a fun way to go head-to-head with friends, but the multiplayer camera can be problematic. Much like in LittleBigPlanet, when two players go their separate ways, the camera only follows one, so if one player performs a crazy, death-defying jump while another is still racing along the ground, someone is going to get pulled out of the frame. That's a really cheap way to lose a race.

Despite its issues, Joe Danger 2: The Movie delivers on its ambitious promise. It's bigger and better than the previous game in almost every way, offering tons of entertainment and replayability. Even after you turn it off, you might still find yourself thinking about those stars you missed and strategizing how to navigate levels. And the fact that everything is playable, up to and including the credits, just shows how much fun went into making this game. Developer Hello Games has said that this will be the last Joe Danger, and if that's the case, Joe's going out on a great note.

Bottom Line: Joe Danger 2: The Movie has so much more content than its predecessor it almost doesn't feel like a sequel, and almost all of it is great. With tons of challenges to complete, multiplayer, and community content, you'll have plenty to do even after the credits roll.

Recommendation: If you were a fan of the stuntman's first adventure, Joe Danger 2 is definitely a game for you. If the first game passed you by, the sequel makes it easy and fun to ride, ski, and hover right in.

Game: Joe Danger 2: The Movie
Genre: Racing/platformer
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Platform(s): XBLA

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