Bayonetta 2 Review

Bayonetta 2, from Platinum Games, is a video game at its best. It’s something that never holds back, regardless of how nonsensical it becomes and still manages to pull something off that’s not only a pleasure to play, but reminds you of how boring everything has gotten.

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Taking place not long after the original game, Bayonetta is out shopping for Christmas when angels attack. Jeanne’s soul – her friend – is knocked from her body and dragged to Hell. Bayonetta sets out to retrieve Jeanne and from there, it all becomes very confusing and simply put, the story is literally around to take you, the player and Bayonetta from location to location.

At times, I found myself getting frustrated with how nonsensical the story is, but as time wore on and the end started to approach, something clicked. I was drawn into the light tale of good and evil, Gods and squirrels.

New character, Loki, joins Bayonetta as the ‘little one’ this time around and he’s infuriatingly irritating. His poor, “this is what Americans think the British sound like” accent plagues most cutscenes with healthy doses of the word ‘love’ when talking to Bayonetta dumped in. It’s a shame, really, because the character through all the confusion, seems quite interesting.

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Bayonetta herself, while in some cases is dealt with in an empowering, sexualized way, there are times that the way Platinum present her overt-sexualized nature where it comes across as childish and what might be “because we could” attitude. But, when it isn’t being creepily weird, Bayonetta is a fantastic character who – much like everything else in the game – doesn’t make much sense, is an absolute pleasure to be around.

Bayonetta 2 is a game that I’d describe when playing it, as perfect. Pulling off combos is incredibly similar to other games like it, but there’s something different that Bayonetta and this sequel do that others don’t: they make things accessible.

A huge amount of combinations are at your disposal from the get go and it’s going to be near impossible to learn every single one, but the game never penalises you for button mashing. In fact, it encourages you to mash your way through enemies, because at some point you’re going to do something cool and never really understand what you just did.

Of course, this isn’t to say that the game is simple. Bayonetta 2 might reward you for just killing enemies, but like any Platinum game, it rewards mastery even more so.

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It does this through giving you trophies based upon your score, from stone to pure platinum, your combos, amount of damage taken and the differentiation of your moves you performed are all calculated and taking advantage of the impressive amount of things you can do in the game to earn these medals is where this mastery of it comes in.

Along with mastering the way the game works, there’s a whole plethora of weapons to unlock through various LPs that you can collect in the world. Each one has their own style and can be stuck on both Bayonetta’s legs and arms, as well as being switched out at the touch of a button to differentiate the combo in motion.

It should be a thing that slightly halts the action, but you never notice the instance you do change, other than the speed of what the weapon might swing or fire at. Plus, with no additional combinations to learn (each weapon follows the same pattern, but will have different results), it just adds to the accessibility the game has.

My favourite thing in Bayonetta was the Witch Time dodging, where in evading an attack at the last minute will result in time slowing down, allowing you to dish out a ton of damage in a short amount of time. It’s back in Bayonetta 2 and it’s absolutely vital that you learn how to do it.

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Each enemy has their own tells, so along with figuring out Witch Time itself, you have to learn each individual enemy and their patterns. It might sound that Bayonetta 2 is quite the doddle and in respects, once you get things down, it does become easier to tackle, but Bayonetta 2 is a real hard game if you haven’t learnt things. It will kill you over and over again.

Though, it becomes a bit of a hassle when the Leopard Sprint (which turns Bayonetta into a leopard to get across areas faster and is mapped to the same button as dodging) gets in the way of pulling off a Witch Time evasion and you find yourself sprinting behind them instead.

New to Bayonetta 2 is an “Umbran Climax”, which is a smaller version of the Climaxes when defeating bosses or bigger enemies. Instead of the massive creatures instigating a quick time event and cutscene, your moves are empowered further. You can wipe entire waves of enemies out in one go, with absolute ease and when using it on a boss, it’s always dazzling to see a massive crow fly through the screen, dishing out insane amount of damage after a dozen swords have flown outwards.

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The exclusion of penalties for using particular items (especially ones that make you invincible) make for certain encounters – especially the last boss – an absolute cake walk. In other Platinum Games – The Wonderful 101 for example – will crush your scores for use of items that make the game easier for you. I found myself avoiding these items (other than healing ones) to get the purest experience out of the game.

But however you play Bayonetta 2, flinging yourself into the fray with your four guns strapped to each limb and making the magic happen, as you dash between enemies, torturing them or unleashing a Wicked Weave and then finishing off that one bigger baddie in Witch Time. It’s one of the best combat experiences in any game since Metal Gear Rising.

The thing with it though, is that Bayonetta 2 doesn’t just ooze sheer joy, it is sheer joy. It never fails to put a smile on my face, with a constant barrage of action, craziness and nonsensical ridiculousness being ushered through into my eyes and brain.

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This is all helped by the game’s scale and absolutely stunning visuals. A myriad of locations and places to go to, cities, ruins and Hell itself are all on the cards. Bayonetta 2 looks gorgeous and it’s all in part to the nonsensical nature of the game. Fighting on a floating ball or a jet plane, it just seamlessly goes together; even if it doesn’t make sense a majority of the time.

To go along with the scale of the game, the soundtrack mixes in Bayonetta’s staple of a cover of an old time classic (in this case Moon River) and angelic choirs. It blares as you obliterate enemies, getting more and more intense as the situation around you increases in absurdity. But it has to be said, it’s never better than when Moon River kicks in at the start and I wish the game featured more covers of big band songs.

Bayonetta 2 doesn’t care what you were expecting – other than if you’re a Bayonetta fan, then you know what you’re getting – it’s going to do what it planned to do and take you along for the ride. It’s a common theme within all of Platinum Games and Bayonetta 2 not only presents a fast paced, piece of perfection to play, it carries on the tradition that has been set.

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