A Supercharged Sequel
Enter Bayonetta 2, a game that nearly never launched but exists with a bit of help from Nintendo. Due to the system's existing selection of games, there was plenty of buzz surrounding the decision to release this title exclusively on the Wii U. However once the game was on the shelves, everything became clear. Bayonetta 2 is destined to be a true Wii U classic.
Prepare for Climax
As fans who have been there since the first game, we can say that the hype is well-deserved. Set in an indeterminate time after the original, Bayonetta 2 kicks things off with everyone's favorite gun-heeled witch atop a jet fighter beating up monstrous angels and taking names. Things only get wilder from there she makes her way to a speeding train and takes the fight to the skies while duking it out with big, bad Gomorrah at the side of a skyscraper. Bayonetta 2 is brimming with epic battles that require both brains and brawn. This hack n' slash title's free-flowing combat gives you the ability to string combos as infinitely long as Bayonetta's Umbran Weave.
The game's signature Witch Time mechanic is back and it's just as awesome as we remembered. For the uninitiated, this is a payoff which slows down the passage of time when an attack is dodged at the last possible moment. This then allows you to utterly devastate foes and add to your combo counter while they watch helplessly, moving in slow mo. Not satisfied with just Witch Time? Take it up a notch by maximizing the new Umbran Climax -- a technique which strengthens Bayonetta's attacks even further. Similar to Torture Attacks, the magic gauge will need to be filled to max before an Umbran Climax may be activated. Every single playable character can use this in both the game's Story mode and Tag Climax mode.
Something May Cry
The action gets frantic with all of Bayonetta's techniques and weapons but that's just the way we like it. Feedback is satisfying as you trigger effects with each move. Classic abilities return from the first game along with the heroine's different Beast Within forms. Double tap ZR to turn into a panther for a rush takedown or do the same move mid-air to sprout wings and summon a ring of deadly feathers. Just like in the first game, these augment Bayonetta's attacks and allow her to reach normally inaccessible areas.
With its unique design, the game not only plays great, it's also pretty stylish. A clean frame rate guarantees that animations flow without delay. Everything from the storybook-like cut scenes to the purple glow of Witch Time contribute to Bayonetta 2's good looks. The level design is also commendable, as are the enemies. In twelve chapters, you would have gone underwater and piloted a mech. This game doesn't re-use thematic stage elements much and that's absolutely stellar. Attention to detail is also apparent throughout as you see bits of organic armor flying about when whittling away at the baddies.
Flashy and Fun
The visual feast is made even more enjoyable thanks to a flexible control scheme. Go for touch controls, use the Gamepad or even the Pro Controller with ease. Choose your favorite from four configuration types and make the Lumen Sages regret ever picking a fight with Bayonetta. Due to its depth and combo-centric hack n' slash system, the mechanics are obviously geared more towards hardcore action game fans yet those new to the game still have something to look forward to. It's easy to learn the basics and it is possible to beat the game knowing only a few combos if you're fine earning low scores. But with near infinite ways of tackling enemies, you'll likely come back to polish your moves. It's hard to deny the satisfaction that comes with mastering aerial combos, even sneaking in a taunt or two. And if you're still not confident about your precision, you can always practice pre-stage in the loading screen.
Challenging and Satisfying
Not factoring in the game's online mode, you're looking at about 10 hours of wicked fun. Bayonetta 2 has all the makings of a true classic. It has a compelling hack n' slash system, drool-worthy graphics and elements that may be enjoyed by both genre veterans and newbies alike. Although she does have plenty of witchy tricks up her sleeve, the titular vixen is not overpowered. Distinct tells and attack patterns separate each enemy type and these require a keen eye to spot. The system is polished but you will need to learn how to dodge by instinct if you wish to activate Witch Time.
What we're trying to say here is that anyone can beat Bayonetta 2 but only the truly dedicated can master her combos to get oh-so-satisfying high ratings. There's something for everybody and although no game can ever be called perfect, this comes darn close to it.