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Bayonetta 2 Review

"Purely platinum"
Did anyone expect Nintendo to save Bayonetta 2 from cancellation when it was first announced? Considering their pedigree and image, Nintendo would be the last publisher to have a sexy and sassy umbra witch be the star of one of their big holiday games for this year. Platinum Games are back again with this Bayonetta sequel even though Hideki Kamiya is only on a supervising role. The first game was one of the best character action games of last generation and fans have been clamoring for more for years. Bayonetta 2 lives up to the long wait and also one of the best action games of all-time.

The story this time around features Bayonetta and her former umbra witch rival Jeanne. One of their demon summons goes out of control attacking Jeanne and her soul gets sent to Inferno. Bayonetta has to go to Fimbulventr, the sacred mountain that contains both gates to Paradiso and Inferno (the universe’s heaven and hell basically), to enter Inferno’s depths to rescue Jeanne. Along the way, she runs into Loki, a kid trying to regain lost moments that is also heading to Fimbulventr. Loki becomes your buddy with his card throws and abilities for most of the game, but is targeted by the Masked Lumen. The Masked Lumen is your rival as you’ll run into multiple times in boss fights that remind me of Dante and Vergil’s battles in Devil May Cry 3. As you progress through the storyline, the game becomes more than just saving Jeanne once Loki and the Lumen Sages are thrown into the equation especially if you played the original.
Supporting characters Enzo, Luka and Rodin are also back as they have their memorable moments throughout the game. Bayonetta 2 has it’s twists and turns in the storyline and most of them you can see them coming, but the majority of the boss battles like the one in the image above are awesome and absurd in a good way. That is not surprising for Platinum Games’ standards but since most of the Nintendo-only audience are going into the Bayonetta universe for the first time, you’re in for quite a treat. For those that thought Bayonetta had crazy moments, the sequel pushes those crazy moments up to 11 and also right from the start of the game at the prologue level killing enemies on top of a fighter jet.

Bayonetta’s clean and crisp gameplay is superb as ever in the sequel with some new additions. From the amount of moves, options and weapon combinations once you gain more weapons, there is plenty of depth and freedom to mess around in Bayonetta 2’s combat. Her signature Witch Time returns where can she dodge enemy attacks at a certain time to activate slowmo for a limited period. The big new gameplay addition is Umbran Climax and it is basically Devil May Cry’s Devil Trigger if you’re familiar with similar action games. In other words, Bayonetta has more damaging attacks with her Wicked and Infernal Weaves that have more range for a limited time while recovering lost health. This uses her magic meter which can be used for torture attacks, also returning from the original, and accessories that are equipped that can help Bayonetta during battles. Umbran Climax is a welcoming addition and another tool that useful especially in harder difficulties.
Besides her trademark guns that are used on her arms and legs, Bayonetta has other weapons she can use to eliminate the opposition and they are as fun as her guns. As mentioned earlier, you can mix up weapon combinations on your arms and legs, so you have twin swords equipped on arms and a whip-like weapon on legs for example. Figuring out the best combinations for certain and tougher encounters adds another layer of strategy to the combat. Some weapons, however like the scythe and hammer of course can not be equipped on the legs. Also having chainsaws equipped on all the slots is just another of many awesome things you can do in Bayonetta 2. All the weapons are fun to mess around with as I usually like to switch things up every now and then.

Just like any other character action game, Bayonetta 2 is filled with replay value. The secret rooms are back along with collecting witch hearts and moon pearls to extend her health and magic meters. There are also tons of other collectibles to find and costumes to unlock. Rodin’ shop is available to buy weapons, items, accessories and more costumes for halos. The items don’t actually affect your rating compared to the last game other than not getting extra halos, so even in normal situations, you don’t feel restricted in using items that will heal Bayonetta’s health or magic, buff her damage output and even gain more halos during enemy encounters. The crafting system from the the first game also returns where you can craft more items from materials you acquire in the story. Multiple playthroughs are encouraged especially on harder difficulties along with going for pure platinum medals for every chapter. Especially with the gameplay so fun and crisp as well as over the topness that remains unmatched, I already completed this game twice (one playthrough is about ten to twelve hours depending on skill and difficulty) and still looking forward to play more finding everything that the game has.
Platinum Games are no stranger for making over the top games filled with memorable moments and this Bayonetta sequel is no exception. Every boss encounter seems like a final boss battle based on scale alone and defeating them with gigaton bonuses by your demon summons, but even the bosses at the beginning of the game are a taste of what is come as you progress through the storyline. The sexual innuendos and cheesy dialogue are also what to expect for Bayonetta and the rest of the characters, but that’s fine because I was smiling the entire time I’m playing through the story. The easter eggs and homages to other games that I won’t spoil are the best uses of fanservice I seen in any game.

Speaking of homages to other games, there are the Nintendo costumes that can be unlocked in Bayonetta 2. She can dress up as various Nintendo characters in battles and cutscenes, but Platinum went beyond the call of duty for these costumes besides cosmetics. I won’t spoil the details with these costumes, but if you paid attention to the game at all, you pretty much know what’s up and I hope to see more of these as DLC in the future.
The gamepad felt fine controls-wise for Bayonetta 2 as I didn’t have little to no problem at all with it. There is also a touch control option where you can just touch the gamepad and Bayonetta 2 will attack and dodge. Of course the traditional controls are there, but for newcomers that are overwhelmed with the controls, the touch options are there for easy mode. Off-TV play is also available out of the gate as well. Besides the gamepad, the Pro Controller is another viable option to play this game.

The other big addition in this sequel is an online co-op mode called Tag Climax. Two players can team up and take on various enemy encounters as verse cards betting halos, the in-game currency. The more halos you bet, the harder the battle is. The player with the most points at the end of a verse card wins the halos, but lose to the other player or die in battle and you’ll lose them. CPU AI can also be a teammate when waiting for a human one to join in and they’re formidable doing their part in battle. Teammates can be revived if they’re dead before Inferno taking them. Latency-wise, the game performs great and I rarely encountered lag during these sessions. More characters besides Bayonetta are playable in this mode, but some of them have to be unlocked. Tag Climax is a fun break from story mode especially being a faster way to accumulate halos to buy some of the game’s more expensive goodies if you’re winning battles consistently against your opposition.
Despite being only on the Wii U, Bayonetta 2 is a beautiful game to look at even when there is too much happening on screen. Some boss battles are that epic when another battle between angels and demons are happening on the background. Most importantly, the gameplay runs great at 60 frames per second so Platinum didn’t make the same mistake they had with the original game on Playstation 3. Sure, there is still some frame drops here and there and most of the cutscenes aren’t at 60 fps, but the game’s performance is fine. The soundtrack and voice acting are also top notch and Platinum remains the best in the business in terms of battle theme music if Metal Gear Rising’s “Rules of Nature” is any indication.

For many fans of the genre, there is a holy grail for Japanese action games: Devil May Cry 3, Ninja Gaiden Black, the original Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Add Bayonetta 2 to that list because it is just as good as those amazing games. It doesn’t reinvent the genre that much, but it is more of a refinement of an already superb original game. The sequel maintains the over the top factor from the instant you start playing the story to the end. Gameplay to no surprise from Platinum remains as clean and crisp as it was last time from the amount of moves and weapon combinations you can mess around with. The amount of fanservice and homages to other games are also the best I seen for any game in a while especially how the Nintendo costumes panned out. Then there is the entire first game as a bonus on it's own disc when you buy the game, so getting two of the best action games of all-time for 60 bucks is a pretty good deal. Bayonetta 2 is another masterful classic by Platinum and a must play for any Wii U owner along with fans of character action games.
  • Clean and crisp gameplay
  • Plenty of depth and freedom with the combat especially messing around numerous weapon combinations
  • Over the top the instant you start the game's story till the ending
  • Some of the best homages to other games and fanservice I seen in a long time
  • Tons of replay value with multiple difficulties and Tag Climax online co-op
  • None


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