We live in an age where many video games are trying to be more cinematic, and attempt to evoke the feeling of a tightly-directed film. Unfortunately this occasional comes at the cost of gameplay. There have been few games in recent memory that have succeeded in making themselves feel cinematic without heavily compromising their gameplay. Among those few is Viewtiful Joe, and its one of the best.
Viewtiful Joe's unique presentation is reminiscent of both American comic books as well as Japanese sentai heroes. With the combination of its fluid combat and unique time-manipulation mechanics it resulted in a game like no other. This game loves slow-mo sequences in action movies, as well as any shot that makes the good guy look cool. It succeeds at implementing shots like this into both its narrative and gameplay.
Viewtiful Joe does have a story and characters in addition to it's great gameplay. Now, while neither are by any means deep, the characters are all distinct and memorable. The story is also surprisingly poignant in a simple yet effective way.
Joe himself is one of the best kinds of heroes in gaming, and one that is all too rare today -- being the kind of protagonist that loves being a hero more than anything.
Viewtiful Joe is a game that proudly trumpets the moral that old-fashioned heroes will never go out of style and manages to reflect this in both it's gameplay and plot. It is a classic cheesy action flick in playable form and it loves being what it is.
Hey, if you don't believe us, just ask Tom from Toonami: