When is a movie not a movie? When it’s Joe Danger: The Movie. Yes, this confusingly named game may have now adopted a ’2′ to help make it clearer, however it’s still the highly enjoyable and chaotic title that I got to see at last years Gamescom – but this time everything’s looking a lot more cohesive.
In the year that’s gone by, Hello Games have been hard at work on Joe Danger SE, as well as creating Joe Danger Touch and refining the massess of content that’s on offer in Joe Danger 2: The Movie. To put the content into perspective Sean Murray, managing director of Hello Games, estimates that the story mode found in JD2 is a similar length to that of JD with around 25 hours of gameplay to be found. If that wasn’t enough, a brand new ‘Deleted Scenes’ mode (that we’ll go into a little later on) also offers up another 25 hours of gameplay to enjoy. That’s before you start counting in multiplayer and the near limitless replayability prospects of every level on offer. As you can see, that’s an awful lot of content for any game to deliver, and thanks to the pick up and play nature of it, you can spread those countless hours over days of enjoyment.
So, “what’s new then?” I hear you ask. Well, in that intervening year, Hello Games have managed to connect all their crazy ideas into a flowing story for the main section of the game. With each of the five acts focusing on a variety of gameplay ideas, yet that all tie together and flow into one another – even featuring a fancy short film that shows your key moments, meaning if you fudged most of the levels your little segue film will be full of your blunders. The story levels unlock in your typical sequential fashion – much like how Joe Danger worked – but also serves as a real introduction to how to play the game, with a learning curve moving upwards gradually. However, Hello Games are more than aware that a lot of seasoned JD veterans will be swarming to pick up JD2 and so they’re definitely making sure that even the straightforward story offers enough of a challenge for them to enjoy.
“How have they done this?” you ask. Well, seeing as you asked so nicely I’ll tell you! At its core Joe Danger is all about timing, and so the later levels really require twitch gameplay mechanics – otherwise you’ll find yourself right up in the bum end of a fair few traps leaving Joe worse for wear. Another neat addition that permeates all the modes on offer is a persistant online leaderboard system which is represented as a green ‘ghost’ on your screen. This ghost is actually the best person in the world and their speed record through the level you’re playing on. Not only does this show you who to beat and how to go about beating them, but it’ll give you a reason to keep pushing to do your best on a level. If the thought of being the world number one and appearing on Xboxes across the globe doesn’t interest you, how about ghosts for your friends, showing you just where they mucked up as well as how they got their super speedy times? Well, that’ll also be in the game too, so you can gloat all you like when you best their times and scores. Another great advantage of this mode is that you’ll soon find yourself trying to essentially break the levels so you can get the fastest time through the levels.
Now, after you’ve invested countless hours in trying to beat opponents all over the world and you’ve worked your way through the Movie Mode, there’s still an entire section of the game you haven’t even touched yet! Heading over to Deleted Scenes you’ll find hundreds of levels that range from the ridiculous to the impossible, and every single level is unlocked right from the start for you to enjoy. Formed out of all the failed levels that couldn’t make it into the movie acts, but were too beloved by the Hello Games team to be thrown out into the cold streets to fend for themselves, the Deleted Scenes has absolutely no structure and so are single serving levels that expect you to know how to play the game already. Essentially it’s the challenge mode that fans have always wanted and, just like the story, every level has incredibly bad movie names thanks to fans on Twitter, so titles like ‘Good Wheel Stunting’ and ‘Beverly Thrills Cop’ – which may not make it into the game due to sounding like a very literal porn film – have found their way into the game.
To wrap up an already tantalising package is the four player same-screen multiplayer mode that ensures you’ll be having some incredible frantic fun as you race against your opponents and even punch them in the face to gain that extra inch. Conversely, you could enter multiplayer with the intention of working together to get the best high score around – which I can assure you is no easy task trying to make four people work together performing combos without a single one of them crashing, especially when you’re all on unicycles!
Once again the level creator makes a comeback, and with quickchange stations enabled in the main game levels, you could potentially create some incredibly interesting levels to share with others. Sadly, yet understandably, you won’t be able to create multiplayer levels to play with others on. This does make sense when it comes to having to tailor an entire level to the possibility of having four racers going at once.
With still a little way off release for Joe Danger 2: The Movie it certainly looks like one absolutely gorgeous title, and the last year of development has really brought the game on leaps and bounds, with so much to offer both newcomers and stalwarts alike. If you want to take a look at exactly why this looks like an insanely fun title, you can check out our video preview with Sean Murray and take a look at some of the features we mentioned here. For now though, feel safe in the satisfaction that this XBLA title will blow the socks off anything that’s been offered on the service before, and it’ll most certainly wow you to no end.