Platform: Wii U
Developer: Platinum Games
Bayonetta 2, developed by Platinum Games, published by Nintendo and SEGA as an advisor, sees the return of the titular character to consoles since four years ago in the first Bayonetta, where she flaunted her stuff against an onslaught of angels and getting mixed up in a confusing plot. This time she’s managed to annoy not just the holiest of holies, but demons from hell too. Just like her new hairstyle, is Bayonetta just like the first Bayonetta with a new ‘do? Or is there something else lurking beneath the surface?
The plot in Bayonetta 2 takes off just after the end of the first Bayonetta with the Umbra Witch partaking in a spot of Christmas shopping with her good friend Jeanne and bumbling oaf Enzo, but something doesn’t feel right. Natural disasters have been running rampart throughout the world, and the balance between the angels and demons is off. When the summoning of the demon Gomorrah to finish of an angel goes wrong, Jeanne gets her soul knocked out of her and is sent to hell. It’s up to Bayonetta to save her soul, with the help of the mysterious card-wielding boy Loki and the ever-so-charming journalist extraordinaire and returning character Luka. There’s also the mysterious Masked Lumen who shows up too. If the plot seems a little out there, it is. Things do pick up halfway through and there’s a tone of seriousness, which really does lend itself to the plot. After players have completed both games, everything generally makes sense. In all, there’s 16 chapters to go through. I would’ve liked it if the story was drawn out a bit longer, but the story mode still has a lot to offer.
A look must be taken at the main character, Bayonetta. Coming from the Umbra Witch clan, she’s made a pact with demons and is able to use their power. As a character, she’s quite confident, to the point when strong attacks and summons are used, her suit disappears, revealing her bare skin and she doesn’t even care. Compared to the first Bayonetta, this hyper-sexual nature have been toned down, but it’s still scattered throughout her character and the game. Scenes and gameplay elements of this nature aren’t on screen for too long if players are concerned about these tones, but the focus is definitely on the game-play, not the risqué shots.
While the story might be a little too out there for some, the crux of Bayonetta 2 is the gameplay, and what fantastic gameplay it is. As an action game, players move around various levels and smash hell out of forces of angels and demons with various combos with weapons that just like the last Bayonetta can be equipped to hands or to feet. While the first Bayonetta mainly played out on land, this time battles can also be fought underwater and flying in the air, which does provide the variety for different areas. There’s more weapons this time around with guns, swords, flame and ice throwers, a bow, scythe, even a… chain chomp from the Mario franchise?! All of this and more is just waiting for players to discover just how many different ways an enemy can be destroyed. Successfully pummeling foes will result in gaining magic energy, which can cumulate in a Torture Attack which can severely damage one enemy just like in the first Bayonetta, or the newly introduced Umbran Climax which increases the range of your combos allowing you significantly hurt many enemies. With so many ways to lay down the beating, players can spend many an hour to see what weapon works for them. Those who played the first Bayonetta will be also be pleased to hear combat is much more fluid this time around. It does make the game seem a little easier, but that might mean the first Bayonetta could have had less responsive controls.
In addition to unlockable weapons, there’s a multitude of items to obtain through Rodin’s returning shop “The Gates of Hell”. New techniques, upgrades, even outfits are for sale for the in game currency, halos. Players will spend a while earning halos to purchase everything they can.
If players want nothing to do with the story, or just want more gameplay, then the Tag Climax mode will make many happy. This mode is played co-operatively either with a CPU partner, a friend or a random person online. After collecting the card of an enemy during the story, players can battle the enemy on the card in a quick bout. Players can also bet halos to increase the difficulty as well as the payout if they win, with the halos going back into single player. Earn more points than your partner and earn a bonus. Tag Climax takes the very essence of gameplay and condenses it into bite-sized battles players can go back to again and again and again, with the ability to just power through the enemies of the game, or to take on a monumental challenge.
When Bayonetta isn’t fighting her way through foes, she’s exploring wonderful locations. Hidden in nooks and crannies are various journals that explain the Bayonetta franchise’s lore, Muspelheim portals that lead to battles with certain conditions like not being able to touch the ground or defeating all the enemies in a set time limit, and the resting places of fallen witches which when opened can yield various rewards. The environments are gorgeous to look at; the icing on the cake.
Some levels are dedicated to one giant boss fight, which is where Bayonetta 2 really shines. Giant creatures stand in players way, and it’s oh-so satisfying to take them down. There are quick time events that show up in the boss battles, but they don’t detract too much from the action already going on. Some of the boss fights against other humans feature a background with angels and demons fighting, with that battle depending on how your progress is going in the foreground. They sometimes interact with you, such as having to avoid collateral damage, but overall it’s largely aesthetic. Regardless, it is a very nice touch.
Speaking of nice touches, Bayonetta 2 is full of nice touches. There’s little references to other Platinum Games titles like The Wonderful 101, the Nintendo costumes that you can dress Bayonetta up in; a great detail of attention and thought was put into this game.
Bayonetta 2 could very well be my game of the year. While having hypersexual tones, the game has its deep moments and plays like an action game should – your fist or whatever weapon you have through the enemy’s face. A plot that has its touching moments, awe-inspiring boss battles, an online co-op multiplayer mode that stays true to the game’s core mechanics; This game is worthy to be played in any Wii U console.
Bayonetta 2, which comes packaged, both physically and digitally, with the first Bayonetta at no additional cost, has been released exclusively for the Wii U.
- A silly story that takes the time to take itself seriously
- Gameplay is fluid
- Tag Climax allows you to play again and again and again
- The little things
- Left wanting more