PS3 Reviews: Joe Danger Review

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Joe Danger Review

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Graphics:

 

9.0

Gameplay:

 

9.5

Sound:

 

8.8

Control:

 

9.3

Replay Value:

 

9.4

Overall Rating:       9.2

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Hello Games

Developer:

Hello Games

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action

Joe Danger is the best downloadable game so far this year. …I figured I’d just hit you with that right off the bat, rather than introducing the game via flowery and elaborate explanation and detailing. It’s difficult to describe it, but perhaps it’s best if the old-school gamers think of Excitebike to the nth degree in a generation where digitally transferred technology continues to get better with every passing year. Essentially, this is a stunt-based action title with beautiful animations, a colorful and wonderfully refined palette, a surprising amount of freedom in both the gameplay and customization options, and sharp, reliable, accessible controls. There are a few drawbacks on the creation and multiplayer angle of this production but from a single-player viewpoint, there’s very little wrong with Joe Danger. In fact, I have to look long and hard to even spot a single, solitary flaw. Don’t believe me? Play it.

The graphics are some of the prettiest you will find in the digital download world. They’re not meticulously created with a trillion-dollar budget of a mammoth blockbuster, but Hello Games clearly settled on a realistic goal for the type of game they wished to produce. Then, they simply executed to the best of their ability and made the game sparkle in its own way. It really is amazingly colorful with a lot of great design and level-building ideas, the effects and animations are top-notch, and in some ways, it almost feels as if you’re playing through a level of Super Mario Galaxy…you know, only with ramps and springs, and some crazy funny dude on a motorcycle. The bottom line is that this display is beautiful and ultimately very pleasant to behold; you’ll never grow tired of the graphical depiction, regardless of the level or stunt in question. There are very few productions, downloadable or otherwise, that can boast this level of solidarity and consistency.

The sound is almost as good, as its sharp, clear and plenty robust. The lone setback is that the soundtrack can indeed get a little repetitive, especially when you find yourself playing for extended periods of time. But beyond that, you’ve got a hilarious announcer, diverse and fitting effects that accompany your high-flying insanity, and in general, everything sounds professional. It’s well balanced, in that the effects don’t override the music and vice versa; it all gels extremely well with the super-fluid and appealing visuals. The first time you tumble into the shark tank, you’ll find yourself laughing at the combination of the genuinely hysterical panic exhibited by Joe and the corresponding effects that hint at a cartoony shark attack. Then there’s the myriad of sound effects that go along with your motorbike tricks; snagging stars and pulling off awesome stunts is always satisfying, and that’s due in large part to the sound.

I am not the biggest fan of games that are oriented around stunts. I just don’t like the idea; I’ve never been very good at pulling off tricks on a motorcycle or anything of that sort in off-road racers, and I would never own a game that placed stunts at the core of the experience. And yet, I just can’t get enough of Joe Danger. I think it’s a combination of the fantastic controls and available level of freedom that makes it so much fun, but before I get to that, let’s do a quick review of the basics: Joe is a stuntman who suffered a serious accident and is now on the comeback path. You now take him through increasingly complex and demanding courses, rich in texture and variety, and you must speed, leap, and flip your way to victory, all the while attempting to satisfy as many of the objectives as possible. For each objective completed, you receive a Gold Star; these are used to unlock major events like Races. Obviously, for such a premise, the mechanics had best be excellent.

And they are. You accelerate with the R2 button, boost with the X button, and perform tricks by either tapping or holding down the R1 and L1 buttons. You will also hold Square to crouch (necessary for bypassing certain obstacles), and when releasing Square, Joe will hop. In other words, hold to crouch, just a quick press to hop; but if you hold it down and come into a spring that launches you into the air, and release the Square button as you hit the spring, you’ll double the height of your jump. You can even double-jump with another press of the Square button. Moving the left analog stick will also dictate tricks in mid-air, and you can even dictate the direction you move in mid-air, with the L2 and R2 button respectively. Now, it’s all responsive and it’s all necessary, but it does take some getting used to, and because you need all four shoulder buttons throughout the experience, you can easily get a bit confused. But the more you play, the more it becomes second-nature.

You’ll encounter ramps of all shapes, sizes and styles, you’ll go off jumps, go around loop-the-loops, fling yourself off springs, avoid obstacles ranging from spikes to shark-infested pools, and go after all the available Gold Stars. This alone isn’t enough to make it an elite title, but the following is: firstly, you’re not always pushed along the course like it’s a race. You can go forwards and backwards to your heart’s content. So if you missed some stars or you missed a target when landing, you can often times retreat and try it again (provided there’s not a very large obstacle in your way that you can’t re-bypass). Secondly, you don’t have to get all the objectives/Gold Stars in one run-through. For instance, say one level has three Gold Stars available; one each for getting all the little blue stars, getting each letter of the word “DANGER,” and beating the course within the time limit. So, feel free to go after them in any way you choose; once you get one and finish the course, that accomplishment will be saved. Hence, one run you can try for the stars and the next, try nabbing the necessary letters.

In fact, for the more complex levels, you almost have to go through a course several times, because there are actual multiple courses to take. This leads me to the “thirdly” aspect of those defining game characteristics, and that’s the lane-changing. When you see a large green arrow, you simply press up on the left analog and Joe will swerve to the far lane, or push down on the stick and he'll come to the near lane. Now, on one side might be some coins you have to get (within a certain time frame), and on the other, there’s a hidden star. So you can either try to do one, backtrack, and do the other course, or you can simply finish and go again. Fourthly and lastly, there’s the inclusion of races, where you will go up against other super stuntmen; you’ll have to strategically use your boost and furthermore, perform enough tricks to refuel your boost meter to give yourself the edge. Just don’t crash! Oh, and I guess there’s even a fifth element: the ability to restart from a variety of different places on the course, and a quick press of Select will restart at all times.

It’s just so well done and so well put together. Perhaps the biggest downfall is what I mentioned in the introduction, and that has to do with the social aspect of the game. Thing is, you can create your own tracks from scratch (how sweet is that?), and you can send these tracks to any PSN ID you happen to know. But unfortunately, there’s no interface to search through available user-made tracks, which means you really can never see what other people have done. On top of which, the local multiplayer is limited to two-player split-screen racing over six courses, which is really sad because racing is only a small percentage of the complete game. However, the single-player experience is unbelievably entertaining and rewarding, and you won’t be finishing it in just a few hours. Add in the customizing options and that $14.99 price tag is nothing to complain about. Normally, this is a big issue for gamers but in this case, the game is worth every penny; I played 5 hours and was at about 25% complete. You won’t even have to wait long for the download; it’s a 261MB file, so you’re done and playing in about 10-15 minutes.

Joe Danger surprised the crap out of me. I’ll freely admit that. It’s just so much fun and so ridiculously addictive. I will say that some of the obstacles in the levels felt a little cheap, and that if you play it long enough, this one can infuriate you (but sort of in a good way). I saw that IGN gave it a 9.5 and I was a little surprised; but then I actually played it and I wasn’t really surprised any longer. I normally don’t cite other reviews but I will add that GameSpot’s 8 is only that low because they harp so much on the multiplayer lacking. You may notice in that entire review they mention almost no flaw concerning the single-player, and that’s about right…there really isn’t a flaw worth mentioning. Some small, minor ones, but that’s about it. You guys gotta try this, plain and simple.

6/12/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (34 posts)

ZettaiSeigi
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 10:35:27 PM
Reply

I've read good reviews about this game too. This game is a perfect example of games intended for digital distribution. I hope to see more games like this on the PSN!

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

tridon
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 10:36:15 PM
Reply

Such an amazing game. I've been playing it for four days straight now. Damn, some of those stars are hard to get, though.

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kevinater321
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 10:39:00 PM
Reply

Great game, great review. But i want Mod Nation racers review.

Agree with this comment 5 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:58:48 AM

Modnation Review:

It's every bit as cheap as racing in Mario Kart. The level of creation is awesome, but I doubt that you will think of any character that someone else hasn't already created for you to download without investing the time. No one will ever take the time to look at your "original" creation, anyway. There are already at least 20 "John Locke"s for crissakes. If you already have Mario Kart for any system that is SNES or above....don't bother.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 15 down Disagree with this comment

kraygen
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 1:34:52 AM

I have to disagree with you on almost every point. And even tho it's true that you can find most any mod you can think of, some of them have been done very poorly and you can always do better. Then if you want ppl to notice you, go to the modspot and talk to ppl. It's a social game.

Mario kart was fun, but it's nothing but racing, modnation is so much more.

Agree with this comment 10 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 3:08:17 AM

Ummmmm....You didn't disagree with anything that I said.

"The level of creation is awesome."

"Mario Kart racing feels cheap."

"You're wasting your time making mods that no one will take the time to see."

C'mon. How much fun is it to go out and beg people to download "your" version?

+Mario Kart is not racing. It's going around a track trying to collect "?" marks so that you can screw over the people/AI doing better than you.

People won't notice you, because they are too busy drifting in circles aroung the "Mod Center".

Don't get me wrong. I'm not defending Mario Kart...I was just hoping for more from Modnation than some skins and stickers.

Last edited by NeoHumpty on 6/13/2010 3:10:30 AM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 7 down Disagree with this comment

Random_Steve
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 5:08:43 AM

just challenge people to get your levels noticed, besides, people will speak to you, they may drift arouns, but they're only there to speak to people

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

sawao_yamanaka
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 7:03:20 AM

Got with kraygen. Modnation is fun simple as that. I make made mods for myself it really doesn't matter if people download them or not. I like it better than mario kart but to each their own.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

NeoHumpty
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 10:59:02 AM

Yeah, I'm really not just trying to sound like a d**k. To each his own. And I seem to remember from past posts that Kevinator likes some fairly different games than I do. I personally found it disappointing because I read some articles saying that they were making sure the racing would be an improvement over some other kart racers. Plus, there is no excuse for the excruciating load times before each race. I played the heck out of the beta, so maybe I was just burnt out on the creation aspect by the time I payed for the game.

You know what really would have changed my whole outlook on it? If they just would have made the shield last longer when you use it. It is very disproportionate against how many times you get hit, ruining any chance of skill determining who wins.

Last edited by NeoHumpty on 6/13/2010 11:01:20 AM

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kraygen
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 1:18:52 PM

How long your shield lasts depends on how much boost you have, all you have to do is hold down the circle button. If your boost meter is full your shield can block anything, might take all your boost, but you have to learn when to hit it and when to hold it down and watch your boost meter.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Mista
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 10:48:18 PM
Reply

I've seen two 9 reviews so far and this one, another great PSN title I'll be getting. Hopefully I win that Mod Nation Racers giveaway, it's on the buy list but will take a free game ne day.

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mexgeo86
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 10:52:19 PM
Reply

I'm loving this title. It seems 'simple' at first but as you progress you realize there is quite a bit of skill needed to perfect clear the stages. Overall a great title for the PSN.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Cpt_Geez
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 11:04:52 PM
Reply

Joe Danger got a 9.25 and snagged game of the month in game informer. I might give this game a try.

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Superman915
Saturday, June 12, 2010 @ 11:25:54 PM
Reply

classic game. will be picking this up as soon as I make a little room in the ol' 80 gig.

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fluffer nutter
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:00:53 AM
Reply

This game is a lot of fun. So much fun that you forget about the 14.99 price tag.

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Shams
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:02:28 AM
Reply

I'm torn between this and the Soldner-X sequel. I guess I'll get both.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:57:18 AM

Yeah, get both.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Banky A
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 4:59:02 AM

Yesss love Soldner-X2.
Thanks again Ben.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Milonakis
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:41:38 AM
Reply

Hizah for psn games.

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kevinater321
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 7:56:07 AM

Well said my friend.

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sawao_yamanaka
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:48:33 AM
Reply

Awesome game been playing it since i got it

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

kraygen
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 1:37:11 AM
Reply

I'm glad it turned out to be as good as we were all hoping, I get tired of being disappointed by games that you're expecting to be awesome. Tired of the hype, I just want some goodness.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

FatherSun
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 1:46:49 AM
Reply

Great fun. Simple and effective. As far as the missing features, they are nothing a few updates can't easily fix. Custom soundtracks would settle the repetitive music issue and a level search would complete the package. Would you rescore if they patch those in Ben?

Last edited by FatherSun on 6/13/2010 1:52:29 AM

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fluffer nutter
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 11:06:30 AM

Hello Games did comment that they will continue to work on this game, making improvements, and adding new things, as long as the interest is there. They even commented about the possiblity of custom soundtracks.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 6:42:00 PM

We don't re-score anything, just because we believe a developer needs to produce a game worth buying the first time around. The option to make games better is always a double-edged sword; it's great on the one hand but on the other, it can allow designers to be a bit lazy.

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phade2blaq
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 2:12:14 AM
Reply

I do not put much stock in game reviews ! I prefer playing a demo of games so I can form my opinion as to whether or not that game is something that I'll enjoy !

Joe Danger looks like a ton of fun but since there's no demo, I can't spend $15.00 bucks on a game that I may or may not like !

I did that twice and now I have 2 PSN games that I do not like because I bought them without having the benefit of playing a demo !

Last edited by phade2blaq on 6/13/2010 2:16:50 AM

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PAKINIPS
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 4:41:29 AM

Amen to that.

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sawao_yamanaka
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 7:08:58 AM

@phade2blaq
Then why read reviews. Joe danger has gotten enough good reviews. Remember they are a small group and don't have enough time to make a demo they said so themselves on the playstation blog. If all those gameplay vids don't look fun then its not for you. Its rare for good psn games to come out that are this good, this game is one of those.

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___________
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 2:37:48 AM
Reply

honestly i cant find one fault in joe danger.
its so addictive, never have i enjoyed a game this much.
it just astounds me that 4, yes 4! people put this masterpiece together.
just goes to show more is not always better, M$ got beaten by 2 freaking uni students for crying out loud!
honestly if this does not deserve a 10, than i cant think of anything that does!!!!!

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kevinater321
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 7:57:30 AM

I don't think i have ever heard you think so highly of a game. I am going to get it tonight :D

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Mamills
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 12:23:33 PM
Reply

GAME IS AWESOME!

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frostface
Sunday, June 13, 2010 @ 5:24:43 PM
Reply

Just got this game and I'm hooked

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spiderboi
Monday, June 14, 2010 @ 10:01:26 AM
Reply

Good price. May get this in the future when another downloadable catches my eye (not much into side-scroller shooters so no Soldner)

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CharlesD
Monday, June 14, 2010 @ 1:54:43 PM
Reply

Ended up getting Joe Danger, and I definitely don't regret the purchase. It is packed with fun and the level designer option is also a joy. I just wish you could design longer levels and had a bigger toolbox, but that's not really what this game is about soo I suppose it is to be expected.

Anyways, the screen-shots don't really do the game justice. The color and depth in the real thing is much more rich and evident.

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