Bayonetta 2  Review

Bayonetta 2 Review

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I don't think I enjoy Bayonetta, and its sequel, for the reasons gaming's hardcore community do. While I'm aware of the insane depth to the game's combat mechanics (up-close melee and gun-based combos that pros can go to town with), and indeed dabble with some of the more advanced play options, it's the sheer craziness of it all that I love. As this Wii U exclusive sequel has proven, there really is nothing else like Platinum Games' Bayonetta.

Show the opening minutes to someone unfamiliar with either the series' style or the development studio and I'm really not sure what reaction you'd get. With its combination of crotch shots, outrageous combos, near-nudity, fighter jets, F-bombs and a secondary character that I can only describe as every version of Joe Pesci mashed into one, onlookers will either be baffled (perhaps offended) or completely sucked in.

Many non-Wii U owners will lament the fact that Bayonetta 2 is exclusive to Nintendo's troubled console, in part due to the fact that they're not getting a whiz-bang version on PS4 and/or Xbox One. It's safe to say, though, that the lack of horsepower hasn't held back the dev team's lofty visual ambitions – although it manifests in a rather odd way. Bayonetta 2 is the ugliest, most beautiful, over the top game I've ever laid my eyes on.

During the utter chaos of battle the screen is a mass of angular shapes bashing each other, the fight moving from solid ground, to underwater, to mid-air, at times with other fights taking place in the background. In one outrageously flamboyant fight, two summoned creatures are slugging it out as a backdrop to the more fluid acrobatic combat you're in control of. Whereas more processing power would have certainly allowed some smoothing out of edges, there's no shortage of WOW here. To make things even better, the whole thing moves along at a silky smooth fast frame rate.

Enemy design is incredible, and the introduction of new foes is handled in the same stylish way as in the original, displaying the kind of flair usually only seen in WWE. And the frequency at which they are introduced is relentless. To begin with it's fair to assume that after a while you'll have seen them all, the game then relying on recycling them at various points, but no, more and more are revealed, each as bizarre and brilliant as the last.

For a large chunk of the game you're joined by Loki, a young boy who dresses like the most stereotypical rapper ever conceived, and voiced by someone struggling to pull off an English accent having only had a child from Croydon to go on. His inclusion initially seems to be for no reason other than to annoy the hell out of you, his lines and delivery so awful I spent most of the early moments hoping the Umbra Witch would put a bullet into his head.

He does, inevitably grow on you, both as a character and as a gameplay device, at times fighting alongside you. As Bayonetta finds fondness for him, so will you, although his role in the game's story left a fairly sour taste in my mouth. If you're after cliched twists, you've come to the right place.

Unlockables up the wazoo mean that there's plenty here to warrant a second, third or more playthrough, and Platinum has packed in the kind of bonus items fans will lap up. New costumes, items, moves and more mean you're unlikely to see everything the game has to offer for quite some time.

Story mode is joined by co-op mode, Tag Climax. Here you play online or against the CPU across 52 stages (unlocked through earning cards during the main story) wagering in-game currency for big rewards – the more you wager, the tougher the challenge. A variety of characters and costumes can be chosen, but this is a mode geared around serious players rather than people who are playing for the ride.

Bayonetta 2 is a system seller. It's a Nintendo-published game that is rarely seen, and a game that will legitimately make non-Wii U owners jealous. It's everything I want from a hardcore Nintendo title, offering genre-leading combat and eye-popping visual spectacle. The fact that Bayonetta 2 delivers the goods is no surprise. Nintendo being the firm behind its continued survival, however, is a surprise we should be very grateful for.

I'm a hardcore gamer who needs a hardcore controller

bayonetta211 -

If you're a die-hard Bayonetta fan you may well be buying a Wii U just to play this game. As far as reasons to buy a new console go, this is up there with the best, but your switch to the Wii U GamePad or the Pro Controller might present a few issues – especially for a game that asks for such rapid and well-timed button presses.

Switching from the familiar button placement of the Xbox or PlayStation pads to the monstrous gamepad or Pro Controller is tough. Even simple things like hitting the correct button as shown on the screen can cause moments of panic as you realise your digits don't sit where they normally do. Movements of your thumb, second nature most of the time, suddenly require more focus and, shock horror, a glance at the pad itself.

The GamePad does make use of the touch screen, but the functionality is geared entirely around complete novices. You can make use of prods and swipes of the screen to blast through enemies with ease, taking away almost all of the game's considerable challenge. If (and I expect this won't happen often given the game's audience), a complete newcomer to action games wanted to give the game a go, this isn't a terrible option, but you're not really 'playing' Bayonetta 2 this way.

There's no question that the Pro Controller is the best option here, simply because it's more comfortable to hold for long periods. Whichever controller you choose, just be aware that the first few hours will have an extra learning curve in which you curse the button layout and naming Nintendo opted for.

9 / 10

  • Looks wonderful in motion
  • Depth is there for hardcore
  • Brilliantly entertaining from start to finish
  • Some minor controller issues

Click above for enlarged Bayonetta 2 Screenshots

11 Comments

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Julz77's Avatar

Julz77

For those of you who don't own a Wii U (and those who do!), I recommend checking the anime adaptation, Bayonetta: Bloody Fate. The story, music and voice cast is largely the same, but there are unique events which make the plot really enjoyable and work better as a movie. There's a trailer here - http://www.mangauk.com/post.php?p=bayonetta
Posted 21:25 on 04 January 2015

BrySkye

I had a little chat with Tom about this via Twitter, but just gonna mention it in more detail for others, because the Wii U Pro Controller does have some issues on the hardware front, which is very unusual for a Nintendo product.

Basically, the Pro Controller can have issues with wireless interference and bandwidth. The more bandwidth being used in your home, the more prone it becomes.

It was something I'd noticed very occasionally in Mario Kart 8, where very occasionally hitting the shoulder button to powerslide would fail to generate a response.
But it really came home to roost with Hyrule Warriors, especially when I was livestreaming it (and having the stream live on my laptop so I could monitor chat).

Under normal conditions, don't be surprised if every so often, the Pro Controller simply doesn't respond to a button input.
You probably won't even notice when mashing buttons.
Going for precisely timed combos though, it can be a real problem.

At it's very worst, the Pro Controller can get completely out of sync with the console.
We're not talking about a microscopic amount of input lag which only the most elite and hardcore of gamers would whine about.
I mean there will literally be an entire second between inputs and response on screen.
Not just buttons, but stick inputs too.

Eventually it got to the point where I had to switch to the Gamepad, which is free of these problems. It was difficult to re-adapt, but worth it.

So my advice is try the Pro Controller, but if you ever get a nagging feeling something isn't quite right, or see that something obviously isn't right, there is a good chance you're suffering from this.
I'm not risking it. I'll be using the Gamepad from the very start and getting used to it that way.

Ultimately, it seems that to ensure reliability with the Gamepad (which is ALWAYS on and connected to the Wii U, even if you turn the display off), the bandwidth for other controllers is marginal and very vulnerable.

We might here a lot more about this when Smash Bros is released with its local 8 player.
Posted 10:45 on 24 October 2014
toadproduction's Avatar

toadproduction@ Endless

Yep! Tried the demo at the weekend and was completely sold.
Posted 20:40 on 21 October 2014
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Blimey - I honestly didn't expect this, and thought it would fall flat. Kudos to them.
Posted 15:34 on 13 October 2014

Woodfella

"I'm a hardcore gamer"

gaahhhhhhhhhhh *wince*
Posted 14:25 on 13 October 2014

Woodfella

Was this really ever in any doubt? Shiny Bayonetta!

That kid n this sounds like Bayonetta's version of George from Metal Gear Rising, remember that guy and his accent?!
Posted 14:23 on 13 October 2014
Endless's Avatar

Endless

For the record the demo alone is fecking awesome and it's about time a game looked as good as Nintendo manage to make their own games look.
Posted 14:21 on 13 October 2014

pblive

Great review, Tom. Really looking forward to this. pre-ordered way back and Amazon upgraded it to the special edition.
Posted 12:51 on 13 October 2014

Grammartron

Aaaaaaaaaand there's me wanting a Wii U.
Posted 09:24 on 13 October 2014

dereknorth

I have a Wii U and I've certainly had enough enjoyment out of it to justify the cost. I will likely skip Bayonetta (not my type of game, generally speaking), but with Mario 3D, Pikmin3 and Captain Toad and Zelda next year, there are enough joyous moments of appreciating thoughtful game design that I'm glad Nintendo keep doing their thing.
Posted 08:43 on 13 October 2014
noahgraham's Avatar

noahgraham

Good review Tom! I haven't got a Wii U yet but it's nice to see the backlog keeps growing with quality games worthy to be called a Nintendo exclusive.
Posted 08:32 on 13 October 2014

Game Stats

Bayonetta 2
9
Out of 10
Bayonetta 2
  • Looks wonderful in motion
  • Depth is there for hardcore
  • Brilliantly entertaining from start to finish
  • Some minor controller issues
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 24/10/2014
Platform: Wii U
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Action
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 1,135 47
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