Review: Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Bayonetta 2 starts off in much the same way its original forerunner did; You are dumped in the middle of a chaotic frenzy that instantly brings you as up to speed as you can be in its delightful disorder. Platinum Games have stuck to the winning formula that made its predecessor the iconic classic it is today and has, dare I say, managed to improve on it by making Bayonetta 2 one of the best action titles your money can buy.
Once you have finished off the brief prelude section you are thrown into the main story campaign, which is a rollercoaster ride of over-the-top sexual innuendos, zany characters and fully fledged nonsense. The story takes place only a few months after the end of the first game with Bayonetta doing her holiday season gift shopping and looking as posh as ever. Within moments you are fighting off enemies on a jet wrapped up with a ribbon. This is probably the most ‘normal’ thing that happens in the game.
The hack and slash fighting dynamics aren’t forced down your throat, leaving you with a rewarding sense of achievement once you have pulled off a new combination of moves. The difficulty level increases gradually throughout the game along with your combat skills. The Umbran Climax is a new powerful combat technique that allows you to unleash insane attacks as well as the ability to summon demons. In order to do this you will need to have a full magic gauge. While the Umbran Climax is handy, in many instances, the Witch Time is without a doubt the highlight of the fighting mechanics. If you manage to time your dodge perfectly at the last possible moment time will slow down significantly giving you a brief advantage and the opportunity to unleash a devastating Climax finish. The combo’s you learn and execute during the Witch Time moments are dazzling and gratifying making you want to master the dodging at all times. Everything to do with the mechanic of the action in the game flows beautifully, unlike the story.
This is Bayonetta after all and having the story not flowing is a good thing. There are multitudes of moments where you need to sit back and just comprehend what you just witnessed. The “WTF?” moments are plentiful and I often found myself laughing out loud at the utter ludicracy that occurs more often than not. The campaign itself takes around 10 hours to complete with hidden battles and challenges that can be revisited. This of course helps with the replay value of the game. Adding to the games longevity there are the medals rewarded after each battle that will have you wanting to revisit and master various sections of the game. Not forgetting the variety of Nintendo Easter eggs and costumes providing all the fan service you could ask for.
The games only downfall is its online mode that feels like an afterthought at the best of times. The co-op Tag Climax mode isn’t much better. Having said that the online is a great way to earn Halo’s which is the games currency. This can be used to unlock moves as well as plenty other items for Bayonetta to use during battle. The online matches last for about 2 minutes and essentially recreate specific challenges, or from the campaign, with the winner receiving Halo’s as their reward.
Bayonetta 2 cements itself at the top of the action genre with its combat system near perfection. The visuals are as good looking as Bayonetta herself and the soundtrack is even better than that of the first game which in itself is an impressive feat. Not only is Bayonetta 2 the best game for the Wii U this year, it could very well be the best game the console has or will ever have.