Bayonetta 2 Review

By all sensible and logical business reasoning, Bayonetta 2 shouldn’t exist. The first didn’t sell anything worth a damn, despite it (insert ‘probably’ here for the  opinion-as-fact-Nazis) having the best combat system of any third person action game made and being absolutely bashit mental in many of the right ways (and, unfortunately, some of the wrong ones). It tapped into niche gameplay mechanics lots of people don’t care about and made obscure references from SEGA games anyone under 30 may not have played. It didn’t help that SEGA can’t market their way out of a paper bag.

For a long time fans of the first game held empty hope for a sequel, secretly resigning themselves to a future without one. So when it was announced that there was indeed going to be a sequel and it was exclusively coming to Wii U there was a strange elation/disappointment dynamic for a lot of people. It’s a sad fact that without Nintendo picking it up out of SEGA’s dumpster there would be no Bayonetta 2, so be grateful.

Bayonetta 2 doesn’t alter the template too much from the first game, but when Platinum got it so right it’s difficult to see why they would. Just in terms of aesthetics Platinum are practically untouchable. That much you can see from the first game, Vanquish and Wonderful 101 to name three but Bayonetta 2 takes that cool and turns it up to deafening levels. Character design, environments, colour pallette, animation, weapon design, enemies, costumes. I could go on. But I won’t. If you bought the edition that gives you the first game you’ll see the difference in fidelity between them. The first Bayonetta looks very washed out compared to the vibrancy of the second. This may be a byproduct of porting from older systems, but the difference is immense.

The story is usual type of nonsense we expect; Umbra Witch Bayonetta is off on some ridiculous journey to save her fellow Witch Jeanne from Inferno after one of the Demons that Bayonetta controls escapes its portal and kills Jeanne.

A screenshot from Bayonetta 2.

Sporting a new slinky, impish haircut and an amazing array of retorts that will either make you chew your knuckles or bark with laughter, you lay waste to the denizens of Inferno and Paradiso while listening to some God-awful accents from insufferable secondary characters. So far, so Platinum and by God it’s glorious.

The gameplay remains much the same but tightened within an inch of it’s life. All new animations mean combat flow is improved and the already impressive combo system has been expanded upon. The wonderful thing about Bayonetta’s combat is that any cack-handed chimp can chain together a string of punches and kicks and it looks spectacular. Mash that pad and you’ll make it through the game fine, but the real trick is to do it all flawlessly, with variety and style. Each combat section is graded with medals from Stone to Pure Platinum depending on time taken, combo multiplier and damage taken, and it’s here where the replay factor is with Bayonetta.

The desire to actually be good at the game is immense, and the combat is so much deeper than would you would initially guess (if you hadn’t played the first game, obviously). The Witch Time dodge, Dodge Offset and even the use of Taunt being essential to racking up the combo multiplier. There’s the addition of a magic meter consuming Umbran Climax move you can trigger instead of Torture Attacks, as well as switching between weapon sets mid combo. I could try to explain it all in depth here, but I don’t have a word count high enough and I’m still rubbish at the game myself.

There are people out there who won’t play it because they don’t (or won’t) own a Wii U, or don’t agree with the powerfully overt sexualisation of the main character (I’ll leave that discussion to people more intelligent than I), or they simply don’t get on with third person brawlers. They’re missing out on one of the most inventive, gorgeous, sheer-off-of-its-tits experiences modern gaming has to offer.

Bayonetta 2 is an outright fantastic game. It’s another very good reason to own a Wii U and it outclasses practically every other game of this type by a considerable margin.