Viewtiful Joe 2 Updated Hands-On

We try out a new demo of Joe and Sylvia's upcoming adventure, and get a chance to try out some new VFX powers, including team powers and replay.

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TOKYO--A new demo of Viewtiful Joe 2 is presently being shown in Capcom's booth on the TGS floor. The demo of the sequel to one of Capcom's sleeper hits on the GameCube shows off the refined gameplay and interaction between Joe, Sylvia, and their environment. We tried out the demo to see how the new adventure is shaping up on the PlayStation 2.

The demo opened up in an Egyptian-themed area in which Joe and Sylvia must track down an enemy. To reach their foe, the pair must team up and use their unique abilities. The level we played seemed to have a pretty straightforward layout--requiring the player to solve puzzles and collect key items. The enemies in the level were formidable, but not the sharpest tools in the shed, so they weren't especially difficult to dispatch. Actually, there were things in the level tougher than the enemies: the puzzles.

A unique twist to the demo was the ability to swap between Joe and Sylvia on the fly. You'll certainly have to do this as you continue to try figure out the best way to deal with a given challenge. The puzzles require you to multitask with your VFX powers, causing you to double up on them. Like the first game, the sequel eases you into your powers. In this case, the new replay power is introduced to Sylvia, whose kick becomes an ideal showcase for it. When you're first introduced to the power, you'll simply have to trigger it and strike a gate three times in order to progress. The power causes the blows you land, in this case Sylvia's kick, to deliver up to three times the damage normal attacks do. Later in the game, you'll have to mix up the replay power and kick with the slow power as well, which keeps things really interesting.

The graphics in the game seem to be coming along fine. The unique art style and shading system that help give the cel-shaded graphics their personality seem to be doing fine on the PlayStation 2. Joe and Sylvia both look sharp and animate smoothly. The same holds true for the bizarre assortment of enemies you'll encounter. The environment looks good but is a bit sparse, which is a change of pace from the busier city locales seen in the first preview of the game. The audio stays true to the fun spirit of the original and manages to keep things lively. Joe and Sylvia have a lot on their minds and are never at a loss for a bon mot or two.

From the looks of the game so far, developer Clover Studio seems to be on the right track to create a rich follow-up to the original game. There appears to be a lot more to do in the game and a much more-inventive approach toward using your powers. Viewtiful Joe 2 is currently scheduled to ship later this year for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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