Viewtiful Joe 2, known in Japan as Viewtiful Joe 2: Secret of the Black Film (ビューティフル ジョー2 ブラックフィルムの謎, Byūtifuru Jō Tsū: Burakkufirumu no Nazo?), is a video game and sequel to Viewtiful Joe. The game was developed by Clover Studio and published by Capcom in 2004 for GameCube and PlayStation 2 (PS2). The game's story begins precisely where the original Viewtiful Joe left off, with the beginning of an alien invasion of Movieland by a villainous organization called "Gedow". The group is led by an unseen being known as the "Black Emperor", whose proclaims his goal to collect the special Rainbow Oscars, seven statuettes which contain the "power of the happy ending". Straight from their previous adventure, superhero Viewtiful Joe and his new companion Sexy Silvia quickly charge themselves with stopping Gedow's evil plans. Very similar to its predecessor, Viewtiful Joe 2 is a combination of 2D and 3Dcel-shaded graphics with action, platforming, and beat 'em up gameplay elements. Using either of the characters Viewtiful Joe or Sexy Silvia, the player must utilize "VFX Powers" in order to battle enemies and solve puzzles. Any integral part of the gameplay, these special abilities include being able slow down, speed up, zoom into, or replay the onscreen action. Also akin to the original game, Viewtiful Joe 2 sold modestly but garnered considerable praise from critics due its stylish graphics and gameplay.
The Replay VFX Power allows Sexy Silvia to attack three times in succession for triple the normal damage.
Viewtiful Joe 2 is a 2D beat 'em up which combines side-scrolling and platforming. The player takes control of either of the characters Joe or Silvia to complete tasks within each stage, such as defeating enemies and bosses, and solving puzzles. Within Movieworld, Joe has "VFX Powers" such as Slow (similar to bullet-time), Mach Speed, and Zoom at his disposal to defeat the enemy. He is joined by girlfriend Silvia, who has also acquired VFX powers. However, Silvia has "Replay", which allows her to record and repeat an event three times in succession, instead of Joe's Mach Speed. The Replay power must be used wisely, as although it allow the player to do three times the amount of damage on an enemy, being hit while using it will incur three times the amount of damage to the player. During the game, the player utilize a gameplay mechanic called "Viewtiful Switch" in order to swap between Joe and Silvia at any time. The two characters share both their amount of health and the VFX meter. Holding the switch button down for a certain amount of time enables the two player characters to use a special attack involving the transformable robot Six Machine. At intervals between stages, V-Points can be spent to purchase new moves for either Joe or Silvia, or to improve their existing powers, which includes making Joe's Mach Speed more effective or upgrading Silvia's Desperados. V-Points can additionally be spent to give the player more maximum health, add extra lives, or be used to buy power-ups such as the VFX Turbo Charger, which slows the drainage of the VFX Gauge. Aside from the main game, Viewtiful Joe 2 also contains an optional gameplay extra called the "36 Chambers of Viewtiful", a series of stages which test the player's skills. The objectives include defeating a set number of enemies or scoring a number of V-Points within a time limit, and dodging an onslaught of swords without dying.
Picking up from the end of the first game, an alien fleet dubbed "Gedow" has begun an invasion on Movieworld in an attempt to gain the Rainbow Oscars, seven statuettes that claim to hold "the power of the happy ending". When Viewtiful Joe and his new fighting partner Sexy Silvia arrive at the battlefield, they're first forced to watch as Captain Blue himself is turned into one of the Oscars, then suffer as the Gedow throw them off into an unfamiliar part of Movieland out of spite. With the fate of Movieland in the balance, Joe and Silvia quickly spring into action.
Viewtiful Joe 2 was developed by "Team Viewtiful", a part of Capcom's subsidiary Clover Studio. The game was produced by Atsushi Inaba and directed by Masaaki Yamada. Hideki Kamiya, the director of the original Viewtiful Joe, contributed to the storyline scenario of the sequel. At the time, Kamiya was signed on as director of Ōkami, but he wanted to write the story of Viewtiful Joe 2 to ensure continuity. Kumiko Suekane once again supervised the character designs, and Masami Ueda and Sayaka Morita co-composed the game's soundtrack. Suleputer released the soundtrack on a double album titled Viewtiful Joe + Viewtiful Joe 2 Original Soundtrack in Japan on December 22, 2004, which includes the musical scores from both games. Development on Viewtiful Joe 2 began in the August 2003, shortly after the release of the first Viewtiful Joe on the GameCube. The game was officially announced by Capcom on April 21, 2004. Despite Inaba's statement that he does not like to create sequels, he said that he did want to create another Viewtiful Joe game to include several elements that they could not fit into the original game. Inaba also noted that the team took into account the difficulty of the first game and attempted to make Viewtiful Joe 2 accessible to both casual and hardcore gamers. The GameCube and PS2 versions were developed simultaneously and feature the same content. In early previews of the game, Silvia and Joe were shown onscreen fighting at the same time, hinting at cooperative gameplay. This feature was later dropped. When the Replay VFX Power was announced, Inaba was asked if any other VFX Powers would be included in the final game. He answered, "In terms of adding more -- there simply aren't enough buttons on the controller". During the game's release in North America, Capcom and IGN held the "Be More Viewtiful! Sweepstakes", a contest in which entrants could win merchandise including either version of the game, a t-shirt with an "HMD" design, a skateboard, and a Viewtiful Joe 2strategy guide by BradyGames. A desktop LCD clock was also released by Capcom during the game's North American debut. A demo of Viewtiful Joe 2 featured on North American PS2 preview discs made news when it was reported that playing the demo would cause a bug to completely erase all data on any inserted memory cards. Sony Computer Entertainment of America issued an apology and gave those affected a choice of several new PlayStation 2 games.
This section requires expansion. Reviews for Viewtiful Joe 2 were generally positive. The GameCube and PS2 versions hold Game Rankings scores of 85% and 84% respectively.Metacritic currently lists the respective versions at 86 and 85 out of 100. Famitsu magazine gave the GameCube version of Viewtiful Joe 2 a 28 out of 40 and gave the PS2 version a 27 out of 40.IGN gave a rating of 9.0, citing the game's deep and satisfying gameplay, and that "all sequels should be this good". During Capcom's fiscal year 2004, Viewtiful Joe 2 sold 270,000 copies in North America and 80,000 copies in Japan. The game sold poorly in United Kingdom, failing to enter the 40 top-selling games during its week of release in the region. Although the ending for Viewtiful Joe 2 suggests an immediate continuation to the plot of the series, a Viewtiful Joe 3 has not been produced. Two spin-off games (Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble and Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble!) were released in 2005. Clover Studio was dissolved in 2007 and all its intellectual properties defaulted to Capcom. Many of Clover's key members including Inaba and Kamiya formed the third-party developer Platinum Games that same year. Capcom has stated that they have no plans to continue with the Viewtiful Joe series. Kamiya has expressed interest in finishing the story of the series, however unlikely that may be.
A very solid follow up that lightly improves on the original. Being able to switch between Joe and Silvia was a nice addition, and Silvia is clearly the better of the two with some really cool moves that differs from Joe. The puzzles here are actually tougher than in the original, and the boss battles are still intense. Not as great as the first game, but very good anyway.