PC ¦ PlayStation 3 ¦ Xbox 360 ¦ Wii ¦ DS ¦ PSP ¦ Others ¦ DGC Grade Table

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble PSP

Published by Capcom
Developed by Capcom
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble, an introduction.

If gamers were asked to pick one of the best new franchises that have appeared in gaming over the last few years it's a fair bet that Viewtiful Joe would be a favourite choice. Few could have imagined how refreshing the original game could have been on the GameCube . In fact our only real complaint with the original game was that it showed no regard at all for deaf gamers as all of the dialogue wasn't subtitled. This disappoint was, unfortunately, also applicable with the second title in the series, Viewtiful Joe 2. Now the series has arrived on the PSP but will it be any better for deaf gamers?

What's the game about?

Captain Blue has decided enough is enough and it's time to hang up his cape and retire from being a superhero. Naturally the news has come as a bit of a shock to movie fans everywhere and a successor needs to be found. Of course with this being the wacky world that Viewtiful Joe lives in simple auditions and screen tests are not appropriate and in order to decide who should replace Captain Blue, it's been decided that Joe and his rivals must battle it out on various film sets with the winner getting the part.

What's good about the game?

Red Hot Rumble is filled with the usual mix of insanity, humour and free-flowing action that the Viewtiful Joe games have come to be known for. The game offers a Story Mode, Trial Mode, CPU VS Mode and a Network Mode that allows 2-4 players that supports Ad Hoc play (and mercifully you can play with up to three friends with just one copy of the game as it supports game sharing). The game offers 21 playable characters including Dante from Devil May Cry (exclusive to the PSP). The game has a variety of control schemes and I was pleased to find that you can use the directional buttons as well as the rather horrid analogue stick that the PSP is blessed with.

The Story Mode is the heart of the game and it's here you'll do battle to win the parts in movies. Each movie has several stages. During a stage you'll have a multitude of challenges (that seem to come and go so fast it makes your head spin at times). The overall winner is the one who finishes with the most coins. Initially you'll only have one opponent but later on you'll have multiple opponents to contend with. You'll have access to the VFX powers (after collecting VFX Orbs) and each character has their own special moves. Aside from the Story Mode there's the Trial Mode which allows you to attempt a series of time limited challenges ranging from the very easy to the very difficult. CPU VS Mode allows you to jump into a four way battle with AI opponents whilst the Network Mode allows similar, but against human opponents.

What's not so good about the game?

Unfortunately Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is no better in catering for deaf gamers than the first two games in the series. We'll talk about this in more detail later on but suffice to say it's a big disappointment. Another issue we have with the game is that at times the action just seems a little too quick . We had trouble keeping track of our character at times, particularly in four player battles. Our major complaint with the game is that it all feels rather disorientating at times. Objectives seem to come at you thick and fast and do their best to make your head spin. It's definitely not a game to play when you want to unwind late at night.  

How does it look?

Few developers can make a game look as polished as Capcom and in places Red Hot Rumble looks outstanding. The cutscenes are absolutely fantastic and identical in style and appearance to the clip of Viewtiful Joe: The Animated Series that's been included on the UMD. The main game retains the look of the GameCube and PlayStation versions of the first two Viewtiful Joe games. Despite the frenetic speed the game flies at, there's never any hint of slowdown which is very impressive. The load times are actually quite respectable for the PSP which is good to see.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

As we mentioned earlier, Red Hot Rumble is very disappointing for deaf gamers. The basic tutorials (or rehearsals as the game calls them) on offer are in text and you'll see text instructions for the challenges in Time Trial mode. Captain Blue's comments before missions in Story mode are also shown in text. However that's as good as it gets and none of the cutscenes are subtitled. During battles there's plenty of comments from the competitors and none of these are shown in text, which is disappointing. In fact deaf gamers won't be able to follow any of the dialogue that moves the story forward, which seems unfair in many respects.

Final thoughts.

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble looks great and from the screenshots alone you would regard this as a must purchase for your PSP. However, after playing the game for a while you'll notice some rather large fundamental problems that are difficult to ignore. At times it's difficult to keep track of your character in four player battles and during the Story Mode the alternating objectives do their best to make your head spin. The game is still disappointing for deaf gamers too which is also another cause for complaint. If you absolutely must have a portable Viewtiful Joe game I suppose it's possible to gloss over most of the game's shortcomings but if you haven't played either of the first two Viewtiful Joe games on the GameCube and PlayStation 2 I would recommend these over the inferior Red Hot Rumble.

Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is ultimately a disappointment. Playing four player mode is made more difficult than it should be as it's difficult to keep track of your character at times. In the single-player game things can also get a little disorientating as objectives seem to switch constantly with very little warning. Not to mention of course that once again it's a poor experience for deaf gamers.