Review: Joe Danger: Special Edition (XBLA)

Review: Joe Danger: Special Edition (XBLA)

Not having owned a PlayStation 3 prior to June, there were a lot of PSN exclusives that were lost to me, much to my chagrin and disappointment. I remember when Joe Danger was first released, half a year before our PS3 came into our lives. I found myself desperately wishing that it would eventually become a multi-platform title, because it just looked like…fun. Well, children, sometimes wishes do come true. As I hope to make painfully clear and obvious in the following paragraphs, having now played Joe Danger: Special Edition, I am absolutely ecstatic that Microsoft Game Studios and Hello Games took a second look at Joe Danger and brought an improved version of it to XBLA.

The first thing that will grab your attention when playing Joe Danger: SE is the precision and tightness of the controls. Whether it’s controlling Joe Danger’s forward or backward momentum when airborne, performing wild spins and tricks as you float effortlessly through the air, or navigating your way across the track, the physics and controls of the game take the somewhat arbitrary nature of certain other games out of the mix, making said flips, tricks, and navigation much tighter, smoother, and overall more successful. The first comparison that comes to mind is the highly acclaimed Trials HD. While a fantastic game, Joe Danger: SE is an improvement on the physics and controls. The style of the game is much more playful, as well. Matched with its precision controls, the almost cartoonish appeal to the game makes it that much more fun and enjoyable to play and replay.

Replaying is definitely a great feature of Joe Danger: Special Edition. With three different game modes, there’s already a lot of content to play from the start. Most of the replay value comes from the lengthy career mode. At first, subsequent stages are unlocked simply by completing previous stages. At the end of the first set of stages, however, you run into stages that require stars to unlock and buy your way in to the track. There are still stages that unlock by simple completion, but as you continue, the star-unlock stages require that you have a decent bank of stars built up. Stars are earned by completing various objectives in most stages aside from basic completion, and going through these levels in different ways with different objectives to earn these stars is where a big chunk of the game’s replay value comes in. Some of the stars are easy, while some are more difficult. Some, like the Pro badge, require you to get every single star objective in one run. These can be fiendish, but incredibly satisfying when completed.

Other modes include The Lab, Sandbox, and MP. The Lab mixes training with challenges with skill tests. The 25 stages presented in The Lab are shorter than your standard career mode stage, but are far more devilish in design, and become progressively more complex in how many skills and tricks need to be used effectively and efficiently in order to pull off sweet, sweet success. With various sets of stages, The Lab is a great way of unlocking some of the many unlockables within the game. Sandbox allows you to create your own confounding tracks filled with obstacles, big air, and high speed feats of daring-do for the titular character to attack. You can also edit existing levels, send your created/edited levels to friends, and play levels that your friends have created/edited. Finally, Joe Danger: Special Edition’s multi-player. There is no online multi-player, only a two player local split-screen mode. The real multi-player comes in challenging friends leaderboard scores across the various stages.

Joe Danger: Special Edition is one of those previously platform exclusive titles that I am very glad has been de-exclusivized…which is now a word, deal with it. It is, from what my vast network of informants tells me, what PSN exclusive Joe Danger should have originally been. Not having played the original, since I didn’t get my hands on a PlayStation 3 until June of this year only for certain PS3/PSN exclusive titles, I can’t comment on that. I can only comment on Joe Danger: Special Edition being exactly what it is: so awesome that only explicitly profane adjectives can do it true belgium justice. Unfortunately, in reviewing a game provided for review purposes, professionalism dictates a certain sense of decorum that seems to exclude profanity, so let’s just replace explicit profanities with the names of characters from Lord of the Rings. Joe Danger: Special Edition is Frodo awesome. There is so much Smeagol to unlock in this game, it’s Faramir ridiculous. The implementation of stars, the leaderboards, and the sandbox mode give Joe Danger so much Fangorn replay value, you’ll lose your Saruman.

Review

ProsCons
Awesome physics
Great personality
Lots of replay value
Local two-person split-screen
multi-player only
Rating
95 out of 100
I'm the Ambassador of Kickyourassador. I am the Walrus. I'm on a highway to the Danger Zone. I am the Kwisatz Haderach.I do things with words that have a generally geeky gist.

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