Poetry in motion.
Bayonetta 2 is a game that, by all intents and purposes, should have never happened. The original was a mild success, and while there were plenty of fans clamoring for a sequel, it appeared it was never going to happen. Then Nintendo stepped in. They funded the game, making it exclusive to the Wii U. I still think this was a smart move, bringing such a niche title that likely never would have happened otherwise, to a platform starved for more games; not to mention one with such a pedigree.
I loved the original Bayonetta, and it is certainly a bonus that buying its sequel (at least in physical form now) grants players access to it. Digitally I was able to snag it for $5 since I purchased the sequel, which is a steal for anyone who has never played either. This duo of games is a masterpiece in the character action genre. Both finely tuned with precision controls, and easy to pick up and play combat. The original on Wii U is the smoothest version of the game yet, complete with special Nintendo costumes for our lollipop-consuming protagonist to wear.
Platforms: Wii U
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Multiplayer: 2-player online co-op
Bayonetta 2 capitalizes on what made the original so great, while mostly sticking to the mentality that more is better. The 10-hour campaign is jam packed with ridiculous cut scenes that defy any form of cohesive storytelling. I know there are players out there dedicated to this lore, but when events include surfing a tidal wave while a dragon tosses churches and fighting angels atop a fighter jet, (and these are the tame moments) it is hard to take seriously. The cut scenes are deliciously ridiculous though, and watching them is almost as much fun as playing.
The one thing I have always loved about Bayonetta is that it is easy to look awesome. Combos flow so smoothly into each other, and anyone can do some incredibly amazing attacks just by pressing a few button combos. Also, for those without patience, the easy-auto mode returns, allowing players to simply mash one button over and over as the combos vary and rack up. The Wii U version also has a touch mode that can be played with the stylus; simply swipe over enemies to do attacks. It works quite well, but doesn’t give the same satisfaction as performing the combos traditionally.
Deep and refined.
There is a lot to Bayonetta’s combat. The standard attacks can be mixed up, not only with button presses, but also new weapons on both her hands and feet. Equipping a pair of chainsaws on my feet, while opting for guns on my hands opens up a whole new range of moves and attacks. There are tons of weapons and combinations in the game, and even the costumes change up some of the cosmetic attacks. For example, donning the Fox McCloud suit shoots lock on lasers, while Samus can roll up into a ball when moving.
Bayonetta 2’s campaign is certainly ample, but the real value comes from mastering and unlocking all the goodies within the game. There are multiple difficulties, and of course the rating system. Each encounter is graded based on performance. It gives incentive to keep trying, but it also earns halos, which are the game’s currency. As I mentioned earlier there are a ton of weapons, moves, and costumes to buy in the shop, and grinding enough halos to get them all will take substantial time.
There is also an online mode that can be played co-op with a friend. These are gated off areas of the main game, and mostly consist of fighting off groups of enemies or bosses, and are really just quick diversions to play with friends. Each mode is unlocked by playing through campaign, so I would recommend doing that before venturing into the online portion.
More than just a pretty face.
The game looks great. The style of Bayonetta has always been what makes it great. Massive bosses and interesting enemy designs keep things interesting throughout. Also, it helps that it runs at a blistering frame rate. I rarely saw dips below 60 frames per second, which is impressive considering how much insanity is always flooding the screen. This is one fine-looking game.
Bayonetta 2 is more than just a good action game, it is a fantastic addition to the already stellar Wii U lineup, and yet another reason to own the console. The fluidity of the combat and the unique visuals really help this title stand out among other action games, and I am extremely happy it got the chance to be made. Sure I would love to see a third game down the line, but for now this package will satisfy fans for months to come. A definite must own.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.