Bayonetta 2

Platforms: Wii U
Released: 09/20/2014 (Japan), 10/24/2014 (US), 10/24/2014 (PAL)
Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: Nintendo
Japanese Name: ベヨネッタ 2

Bayonetta is a game that was not likely to have a sequel. It’s true that the original game was fairly well received critically, but its sales did not measure up. Even though Bayonetta was a complete throwback to what some might consider the golden age of Japanese action games, those numbers proved that we could never go back to that age again. Sega was in no hurry to commission a sequel, so it was a big surprise that Nintendo ended up being the company to do so. It was no doubt a plea to the gaming public to notice that the Wii U did in fact have titles for the “hardcore gamer”, but the reasons don’t really matter. All that matters is that Bayonetta 2 brings Bayonetta back with a new look, new story, a new director (Hashimoto Yusuke, though the previous director Kamiya Hideki is on board as a supervisor), and improvements over the original title’s already great formula.

Bayonetta 2 - Link CostumeBayonetta 2 - Star Fox Costume
A big draw for Nintendo fans, one of Bayo’s Nintendo themed costumes! The hat doesn’t seem quite right though…All weirdness aside though, this is actually a pretty well designed Star Fox costume!

The first Bayonetta was an incredibly solid action game with fantastic mechanics. So all of the things that made Bayonetta great (or in some cases maybe just “distinct”) are back: The dynamic combo system, Witch Time (slowing everything down to allow for more hits), Torture Attacks, weapon customization (a different weapon can be equipped to each hand and foot), fight-based grading (which is still incredibly rigid), shop-based upgrades and even a limited amount of item creation via a sort of alchemy system. The sequel has even added a new mechanic called Umbran Climax which allows for increased damage and extra attacks for its duration. It also offers a nice alternative for use of the magic meter apart from the usual options. Those who became well acquainted with the finer points of combat in the first Bayonetta will feel like they’ve come home again. The general ramp up and height of the difficulty curve are much more easy for players who are not old action game pros as well, making the sequel an excellent place to jump in for someone who may have been too intimidated by the first game. If you really have no interest in learning the combo system at all, there is even an option to play using touch controls on the Wii U Game Pad (though not in multi-player mode). But fear not action game veterans, there is still plenty of challenge here for you!

Much like in the first game, the story is almost impossible to discuss in any sort of a reasonable way. And honestly, while it can certainly be entertaining, it’s not overly important to the overall enjoyment of this game. No one will be playing either game in this series for its story or writing, and that really is okay. The important thing about Bayonetta remains that it knows exactly what it is, and what it’s trying to do. Bayonetta as a character may not be a perfect representation of an empowered and sexy female character, but she certainly conveys that general idea. It should also be understood that Bayonetta strives to be cheesecake-y in all aspects from story, to characterizations, to even some of the moves. If you know what to expect and are okay with it, or even embrace it, then none of this should bother you too much. Perhaps making things a little easier to swallow are the dual language tracks that are now offered in the sequel. Previously there were no alternatives to the English voice cast, which will not all bad could sometimes serve to up the cheesecake factor a little too much. Since the production of the Bayonetta: Bloody Fate anime involved a Japanese voice cast, we now get that same cast available in Bayonetta 2 as well.

Bayonetta 2 - Samus CostumeBayonetta 2 - Jeanne
Her Arm Cannon is aimed at you!Even Jeanne gets a turn this time around!

There are plenty of attractive bonuses that come along with this sequel as well, namely a complete packaged version of the original Bayonetta on the Wii U! This version clocks in at a pretty solid 60 frames per second, unlike the previous versions on the XBox 360 and Playstation 3, making it basically the definitive version of Bayonetta. Bayonetta 2 also features an online multi-player mode, though it is somewhat limited being that it is based on challenges rather than just playing the normal game with a partner. There are a small handful of unlock able characters for completing various tasks, such as Jeanne, Rodin, Rosa and Balder. And since this is on a Nintendo platform, there are also a lot of Nintendo character-based costumes for the characters that will no doubt amuse long time Nintendo enthusiasts. The amount of unlock able content is staggering, and will keep players who want to see everything playing for quite some time.

Bayonetta 2 - Raft RidingBayonetta 2 - Giant Demon Fist Fight
There are still plenty of fun gimmick levels this time around, all of which involve riding on things!Sometimes you even get to take a break and play a big demon punching game, with Bayonetta’s new demon summon Madama Butterfly.

Above all, video games are supposed to be fun. The best compliment I can pay Bayonetta 2 is that I had more fun with it than I did playing any other video game in a very long time. The first game beat me down mercilessly with its difficulty as I got further into the game, but in Bayonetta 2 I felt that I was always playing in harmony with the mechanics, and managed to pull through even the most challenging parts without taking too much abuse (keep in mind I spent most of my time thus far playing on Normal, but then again I did the same in the first game). It truly is one of the best feeling action games of all time, and if you can appreciate its quirks you are likely to have just as great of a time with it as I did.