The world's greatest action movie is about to be made, but for that you need the world's best stuntman; step aside Hooper and Vic Armstrong, we need someone who can pull off death defying leaps, loops and hopefully, safe landings; we need Joe Danger.
Increasing his repertoire from his trademark bike Joe needs to negotiate set action pieces across some of the movies most dangerous moments, taking part in spy capers, cop chases, alien attacks and adventure movies, culminating in the final chapter, the directors cut.
Played as a mixture of a racing game and a platform game, Joe is required to make it to the end of the scene in the par time, with the director shouting orders to make sure you perform ducks, jumps and extra stunts and hitting the nitro at the right times, make a mistake and its back to the start of the take.
Joe's signature motorbike returns, hitting loops and timing jumps to avoid traps and punching other stuntmen but there are also plenty of other vehicles for Joe to show off his skills with including a jetpack that will have Joe soaring to new heights and bashing targets and runaway minecarts where quick thinking track switches are required to get to the end. Joe will also don skis during the alpine levels, be it trying to outrun an avalanche, stealthily avoid laser alarm traps or even jump on the back of a snowmobile, whatever the film needs, Joe's your man. Most of these vehicles are controlled in similar ways, with the right and left triggers for accelerate and reverse, A for boost and holding and releasing X for ducking and jumping.
The levels are just packed with jumps, traps, loops and many other hazards, making the first playthrough quite a fretful event, but as you learn the levels, you'll soon be getting cocky, pulling all manner of stunts to keep your trick combo going, racking up some impressive high scores. Seamlessly integrated into the levels are leaderboards and ghost replays, with friends and rivals names appearing on screen and in my case, charging ahead of the pack as I make my way through the level with the final result showing what percentage of other Joe's you have beaten.
Difficulty is quite evenly spread in the game, to get through most of the levels in movie mode will not take too long, however to gain all of the stars that unlock the games numerous extras will require plenty of replays from collecting all of the stars to finding the hidden DANGER letters dotted through the levels.
As with any movie release there will always be parts that end up on the cutting room floor and Joe's movie is no different, with our stuntman also taking part in some scenes that didn't make the final cut. These Deleted Scenes are a lot harder than the main mode but are fun all the same with Joe dressing up as a giant jelly, taking control of a unicycle or even a spot impersonating Elvis with a jet pack with assault courses that will test your stuntman skills and nerve but also add some fun mini games into the mix, human ten pin bowling anyone?
Included in Joe Danger 2 is a track editor under the mode Movie Maker, allowing you to throw all sorts of hazards for the world to try out and even rate. Since the gameplay is essentially 2D with 3D visuals it is very easy to drop and move items from the menus and with a unique take on a tutorial it is very quick and easy to pick up and create, share and race.
Following the developers close connections with the gaming community multiplayer was a late addition to the previous game, not so for Joe Danger 2 as this includes four player local races from the off with a stay on the screen approach, earning points with stunts and tricks as you race to the finish line. I was a little surprised with the omission of real time online action but this is not really the sort of game that suits it, rather you have the ghost saves mentioned earlier that appear on every track you play acting as the opposition if you want online action.
Joe Danger 2 improves over an already classic game and is a clear labour of love for developers Hello Games and yet another must have for your digital collection.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
Review Policy (Version tested: Xbox LIVE/Xbox 360)