BAYONETTA IS BACK AND KICKING ASS
If you are in the mood for a pure action game with similarities to great titles like Devil May Cry and God of War, then this is the game for you. Get ready because once you pick up that controller you are going to have a hard time putting it down. Bayonetta herself won’t let you. Right from the start, you know you’re in for a treat. With an action packed prologue that has you beating the living hell out of everything in sight,while jumping from jet fighters, Bayonetta 2 is an amazing ride.
Bayonetta, is an Umbra Witch who possesses the talent of Bullet Arts and is the bearer of the Left Eye that oversees the darkness. This game picks up right where the first game left off. Bayonetta 2 opens with Bayonetta and her clan sister, Jeanne Christmas, shopping in a metropolitan-like city. Next thing we know, they are fighting on jets and all hell is breaking loose with a gigantic battle against a dragon on the side of a skyscraper. Afterwards, something happens to Jeanne and Bayonetta sets off on a journey to save her.
Here is my only gripe with the game. The story loses you very early on and it was hard to even want to invest anytime with it. Now the cut-scenes are amazing to watch, all full of great moments, but trying to follow what was going on was rough. The characters also come off as rough. Bayonetta was great and I did want to invest time into getting to know her and what was going on with her, but the supporting cast comes up dry. I think this is done on purpose as Bayonetta seems self-centered and doesn’t give a care in the world for who’s around her or what destruction she is causing. This is addressed mid-way, but this game isn’t about the story. This is a game about gameplay.
I can’t remember the last time I played a game with such simple controls but such a deep combat/combo system that I kept wanting to go back for more. Bayonetta 2’s free-flowing combat is without a doubt the game’s best asset. Every punch, kick, slam, weapon swing to gunshot flows perfectly into the next. The combat is just simply amazing and sold me within minutes. Over the course of the adventure you gain access to several different types of weapons to attach to your hands or feet. Each set and combination has their own combos and movesets. By dodging enemy attacks at precise moments you enter witch mode. Witch mode is a type of bullet-time mode where time slows down for a short period and you can really lay into the minions of heaven or hell.
The controls felt both great and easy. You have a button to punch, one to kick, one to shoot and also a dodge button. Combining them with the directions pad and whether you are quickly hitting them or delaying button presses or holding them down, the outcome was always very satisfying. With every landing hit and successful combo you build up the Umbran Climax gauge. With the gauge full, Bayonetta will unleash high power demon summoning attacks that have a wide radius and will severely damage an enemy.
Now don’t let this deceive you. Bayonetta will get hurt and can perish. Each group of enemies have different moves and you have to pay attention if you want to live. Enemies have weaknesses and if you find one weapon set not working, be sure to try another out. Again, all aspects of gameplay and combat in this game are wonderful. Throughout levels there are collectables, health, and magic upgrades to help Bayonetta along the way. There is an item store where you can buy new moves, weapons and accessories.
Bayonetta 2 looks amazing. The game runs fluidly at 60fps and not once did I see a slow down or frame skip while battling it out. The colors are bright and welcoming considering the fact the game takes place in the heavens and hells. The stages and level designs were excellent and the camera was great capturing the action. The visuals work well in Bayonetta 2; they are a key part of the combat, allowing you to see when to dodge an enemy attack at the right moment and such. Bayonetta herself looks great. Yes, she is an exaggerated character who focus heavily on sexuality and flaunts it at every chance she gets. I feel like this is what makes Bayonetta unique. She owns this look and style — whether she has her leg over her head or running around practically naked because she’s… well fighting with her clothes. If you are new to Bayonetta series, Bayonetta uses her hair to create huge monsters and is also what her suit is made out of. Make sense? No. Yeah, I’m lost too.
Bayonetta 2 introduces online multiplayer to the series. This is called Tag Climax. This is a two player online co-op mode that pits you against enemies not found in the main game and is one of the best ways to gain in-game currency. Everything works well here and what’s great about this is you can wager currency against your online partner as to whom will get the highest score. Setting the pool bigger will result in harder enemies. These rounds last 6 matches and the winner is declared based on score.
There is plenty of replay value in Bayonetta 2 as well. After every battle you are awarded a medal based on the length of your combos and how much damage you take. Each stage is set up in verses and some can be missed I found out. There is an incentive to go back through the levels looking for all the secrets, getting platinum medals, and perfecting your fighting style. Once done with that, there are harder difficulty settings to conquer and Nintendo-based Easter eggs and costumes to find too.
Bayonetta 2 is a fantastic game. The campaign lasted me roughly 12 to 13 hours on a normal difficulty setting. I feel Platinum Games really did a great job here and show there is life in the Wii U. If you did not get a chance to play the first game in the series, a port of the original Bayonetta is packaged in the case on a separate disc as well. Both titles include exclusive Nintendo costumes, dual audio voice tracks, and touch controls. You are able to play the game with the touch screen on the Wii U control pad. Combat works with you using the stylus slashing around the screen at the enemy and tapping buttons in the comer.
The Verdict: 8.8 out of 10.0
This game has everything except a story, and that’s why I couldn’t go higher with the score. It’s not the fact that it’s a separate story in the Bayonetta universe, but it’s a direct sequel. If you have not played the first title in the series, then you will be lost. The game focuses heavily on events in the original and there was no explanation as to why in Bayonetta 2. Yes, they included a port of the first game, but I bought the game to play Bayonetta 2, not spend 15 hours with the first game before playing the game I bought. A quick 15 to 20 minute movie or comic narrative would of worked out great to bring new players up to speed as to what was going on and who some of these characters are. The cutscenes were awesome, but I just had no interest as to who these guys were. But like I said, I don’t think that is the meat and potatoes of this game — it’s the gameplay and action. Both are done amazingly and I can’t remember the last time I was so impressed with how I was playing something and how I was getting my character to react on screen. You simply have to play it to believe it. And it was simplistic too. The over the top action pieces and levels were the best I have seen in a long time. This game is just plain fun.
If you are looking for a solid title for you Wii U, this is your game. Now we need more of this for the console.
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Patrick Garrity is an Associate Writer for MONG and a Jersey native who loves video games and enjoys the industry. He loves rum and wants to be a pirate one day. Follow him on Twitter.