By Bryan Smith on October 26, 2014 at 2:25pm
Nintendo graciously let “Bayonetta 2” live on in the wake of funding absence, despite fan and critic appraisal and a decent number in sales. This begs the question: Is the continuation of the hack-and-slash game “Bayonetta” worth your attention?
I will be upfront: go buy “Bayonetta 2:” Get a Wii U and play this game. All gamers should be playing this game. I haven’t seen this much polish and love put into a video game in a long time. Not only do you get the sequel, but it also comes with the first “Bayonetta” updated for the Wii U. This game is jammed pack with non-stop climax action, and it won’t disappoint.
Gameplay and Combat Aced to Perfection
“Bayonetta 2’s” greatest strength is the gameplay, and it’s sublime.
Building off of “Bayonetta’s” already strong hack-and-slash action, the action has been fine tuned with even smoother controls. Everything returns from the previous game, either available from the start or unlocked through purchasing techniques. Most of the weapons return as well, either after being tweaked or acting as it once did before.
In addition to bashing angels’ skulls in with punishing and torturing finishers, new segments are introduced. Flying and fighting underwater debut here, and the integration is flawless. Normally when flying is introduced to a ground-based action game, I tend to cringe; flying and fighting at the same time usually don’t mix well. “Bayonetta 2,” however, decided to just make flying function just like fighting on the ground. No needed mechanics or comprehension of additional physics are required. Same goes with fighting underwater. There’s even a new transformation (dubbed The Snake) that allows for an easier, quicker way of moving.
Bayonetta and her cast of playable characters are capable of operating giant mechs this time around. Though a bit stiffer compared to regular combat and rather late in the game, these mechs are super strong and can wipe the floor with enemies that were once bosses. There are also demons to fight, mixing up the standard holy enemies “Bayonetta” is known for. The amount of adjustment and additions makes this game one of the most exciting and thrilling experiences I had in a while. The better sequel, in my opinion, is one that only adds to the quality of the first, never subtracting from it, and “Bayonetta 2” delivers on that front.
So Deliciously Over-the-Top
The first “Bayonetta” had slow moments where nothing happened, and it meandered to its next location. Here, the prologue has you fighting angels on a combat jet, fighting a monster-sized angel on a speeding train, and ends with you flying in the air fighting what was once an ally dragon as it scales a skyscraper. And it only gets higher with the action it throws at players.
The over-the-top levels may also turn off some gamers as well, at least in terms of Bayonetta and her quirks. Bayonetta is a rather sexual character, and she isn’t afraid to let everyone know, players included. I don't mind it though. Bayonetta’s sexual affinity is more of her own design, not for the sake of liking it for no reason. However, there are some shots that are clearly designed as fanservice. It can be slightly distracting at times for those who simply don’t like these levels of gratuitous sexuality, but it doesn’t dampen the overall experience; it’s just one little nitpick that may linger until you focus back on the fast-paced pummeling of enemies.
Story is ... Passable
I've always felt there are two kinds of games with stories: the ones you play games for and the ones you don’t. “Bayonetta 2” is more of the latter. Not to say that the story is awful by any means. In fact, I dare say the story is better and more interesting than the first game. However, that isn’t saying all that much.
Since Bayonetta is an established character, there isn’t any need to dwell on “X character having amnesia in the leading role.” She’s the wild, level headed woman who just loves things sexual and kinky. Another plus is that there is more depth to the last game’s villain Balder, making him a more interesting character because of it.
Unfortunately, there is still the cliché of having a character with amnesia. Loki (not the Norse trickster God), one of the new characters, is a kid with amnesia, and he impacts the story somehow. He barely adds anything of substance that Bayonetta with amnesia didn’t do in the previous game. The story here is as basic as: "something evil is going on, and Bayonetta is going to rain all sorts of punishment on enemies in her way."
First "Bayonetta" Is Still Great
As I have stated before, the first “Bayonetta” comes packed in the retail version of “Bayonetta 2” (and available digitally as well). It plays just like it did years ago when it first debuted on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (though without the problems that originally plagued the PS3 version). With Nintendo behind both games, there are exclusive costumes for Bayonetta to use. Those include Peach and Daisy from “Super Mario Bros.,” Link from “The Legend of Zelda,” and Samus from “Metriod.” While the “Star Fox” outfit is exclusive to “Bayonetta 2,” the other Nintendo-themed costumes are available for both games. The outfits even have cute additions to Bayonetta. For example, the Samus costume lets you do the screw attack when jumping, and the Peach costume transforms her giant arms and legs into Bowser’s arms and legs.
With this port of “Bayonetta,” the Wii U version is the definitive experience of the game. It offers great-looking visuals, runs extremely smoothly, and has additional goodies. The only downside to “Bayonetta” is that the same negatives still apply here, as the pacing slows down at times (both gameplay and story).
As Long as There's Still Music, She'll Keep Dancing
Platinum Games has once again proven they pour love and devotion into their games. The game delivers exactly what it promises, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I recommend this game to any gamer who just wants a fun, exciting video game.
And yes, it’s fine if you don’t like Bayonetta as a character; many other games have protagonists that people don’t like. I say unless Bayonetta really upsets you, don’t let her character be the reason to avoid this game.
Since Nintendo helped out a lot with publishing the game, the prospect for future installments of “Bayonetta" is exciting. With the amount of subtle and not so subtle winks at other franchises, the possibilities of other franchises (Nintendo, Sega, and others) are endless. There could be “Sonic the Hedgehog” costumes, “NiGHTS into Dreams” references, and enough fanservice to make any gamer smile.