NS Review: Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Platinum Games obviously enjoyed making this game, and would probably enjoy the fact that I was genuinely surprised that they could surpass the original title in almost every conceivable way. Almost everything, if you excuse the cliché has been taken to the next level. The boss fights, the set pieces, the combat, the enemies and locations; all are completely phenomenal. But, before I run away with my excitement, let’s try to look at this from a slightly more unbiased viewpoint.
In terms of story, this sequel has a lot in common with the previous title in that the game is one completely insane plot strand leading to another. The basic plot (discoverable by watching almost any trailer) involves Bayonetta’s best friend, and fellow Umbra Witch, being dragged down to Hell and Bayonetta’s quest to save her. But, obviously, nothing is ever that simple and returning or new characters spring up to drag the plot away on sometimes unbelievable tangents.
Visually, this game is leagues above almost anything on Wii U, and is a marked improvement on it’s predecessor. The environments are beautiful and/or awe-inspiring (depending, of course, on what world you are currently fighting your way through) and feel like a true enhancement on the original game. The enemy design is once again incredible, with the additional wonders of the demons of Hell and their darker design templates adding to the already incredible levels of variety in the first game.
I have to add, however, once again the music lets down Bayonetta 2 being the perfect game. Although a definite improvement on the largely forgettable soundtrack of the first game, it is still lacking in a soundtrack that remains with the listener after the play session is over. Maybe I am concentrating on the music too much; but when games of a similar genre, i.e. Devil May Cry, pretty much nail their soundtracks, this feels like a bit of a step backwards.
The gameplay of Bayonetta 2 is much the same as the original, but with one key difference; it is much more fluid. You may be jumping from one completely crazy set-piece to another, but the combat has been refined to feel a lot easier to control without sacrificing the difficulty that the genre is known for. In other words, Bayonetta is easier to control and her combos are easier to execute, but the game itself doesn’t feel easier. In terms of the combat, all the previous dynamics are here; Witch Time, Torture Attacks, Punish Attacks, and the wonderfully over-the-top Climaxes. To this array of absurd attacks, Platinum Games have also added the stupidly over-powered Umbran Climax that can be activated instead of using a Torture Attack and temporarily increases Bayonetta’s attack range and power. As another fantastic addition to the game is the online multiplayer mode, Tag Climax, which is both competitive and co-operative at the same time. This mode creates some interesting dynamics of needing the other player alive to help, but also wanting them to fail.
But none of this would be worth it without a reason to use the halos you reap from killing enemies and I am pleased to admit that this game truly surpasses the original. With a great amount of outfits to purchase (unnecessary but still wonderful), techniques and relics, the game doesn’t skimp at rewarding you for hunting out the hidden trinkets. Then there are the returning Nintendo-exclusive outfits from the previous title’s Wii U edition, with the addition of the incredible (and admittedly ridiculous) Fox McCloud cosplay outfit, complete with Arwings instead of the standard guns on Bayonetta’s arms and legs. Bayonetta 2 stands as a wonderfully ‘full’ game, for the lack of a better term, with lots to see, do and find adding to the re-playability.
There’s only so much I can say about Bayonetta 2 without repeating myself. It is the many enhancements I mentioned above, and a few others that I won’t spoil, that combine to make this game feel like a more-than-worthy sequel and a brilliant game in it’s own right. One that I would place as one of the Wii U’s finest. Furthermore, if you loved the first Bayonetta, this sequel will not disappoint.