By: Jac Bakley, Video Game Critic
Happy Friday, everyone. I’ve decided to play a more recent game this week: Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U. Before I begin, I want to make a couple things clear: I’m not a huge hack n’ slash fan, so I’m sorry if my thoughts on this don’t seem very enthusiastic. Also, I haven’t played the first Bayonetta, so I won’t be able to compare the two in terms of gameplay or overall presentation.
Bayonetta 2 was released for the Wii U in 2014, serving as a sequel to Bayonetta, which was not released on a Nintendo console until it was included with some copies of the former. Developed by Platinum Games and published by Nintendo, this game is considered to be vastly superior to its predecessor. Like I said, I can’t tell you how, since I haven’t played the first game. But let’s see how the game holds up on its own.
At the start of game, you are given three different story mode options. Each option gives you a different experience with story mode- one focuses on story, one is more keen on action, and one is for those who would like more thrilling battles. We’re going to talk about the action mode.
The story is that the city of… Somewhereville (its name is never mentioned) is celebrating Christmastime, and they are one day attacked by angels during an air show. Bayonetta, a British witch with supernatural powers, accompanied by her friend Jeanne, springs into action to stop the angel invasion.
As previously mentioned, the game is a hack n’ slash, similar to Devil May Cry. You take control of Bayonetta, and you are equipped with twin revolvers with unlimited ammo, as well as witchy magic. X and A both do melee attacks; both will unleash attacks of dark magic. Y will fire the gun, and B makes Bayonetta jump. You can do a double jump by pressing B again while in midair, and you can safely flutter back down to the ground by holding B after jumping. You’re usually swarmed by enemies during combat, but your target will be the angel you’re facing, and you’ll be automatically locked onto them during combat.
If your timing is right when the angels try to attack you, you can press ZR and Bayonetta will jump out of the way. This move will also allow her a free shot at what tried to attack her. However, you’d better watch for an enemy trying to kill you, because the doesn’t give you any indication to dodge, and sometimes if you don’t dodge at the right time, you’ll just take a hit anyway.
When an enemy is close to death, you can press a combination of two buttons, which will unleash a “torture attack.” This is a brutal attack in which Bayonetta traps enemies in a spell and earns extra points when she kills them with it.
You will gain magic points by attacking more and more enemies. Once your magic meter is full, you can press L to unleash an attack called “Umbrian Climax.” This is when Bayonetta unleashes her dark magic to create a giant vortex that will deal severe damage to any enemy it hits. This attack will also cause Bayonetta to regain some health, kind of like the Ninpo in Ninja Gaiden 3.
You will earn points following each battle with hordes of enemies. The number of points and coins you receive depends on how much damage you received, how many combos you performed, and how much time was spent battling enemies. The aforementioned coins can be used at a store, which is run by Bayonetta’s devilish friend (quite literally) Rodin. Rodin will sell you health and magic powerups, spells, and different weapons. Unfortunately, these weapons are not available to purchase from the beginning. I don’t know if they’re DLC or if you need to make certain achievements to earn them.
You will frequently fight larger enemies, which could be considered boss battles. These monstrous angels have their own health bar and take more hits to kill, unlike the normal enemies, which could be killed in only a few seconds. Some bosses have two or three layers of energy in their health meter, as indicated by different colors on the bar. They’re not any tougher than the normal enemies, but since they require several more hits to kill and won’t hesitate to hit back, you’d better make sure you’ve got your finger on ZR at all times.
After the first boss, which is a dragon demon, the majority of the game will take place in Noatun, a city in the Middle East. Bayonetta can now turn into a panther, which will ramp up her running speed, and you press ZR twice to turn her into one. Doesn’t seem to serve much purpose other than giving Bayonetta faster running speed. You can also pick up new weapons, including giant golden nunchucks. These will serve as a replacement for your gun for a limited time.
So that’s the overall gist of the gameplay. The combat doesn’t change much, but the enemies do have different designs and attacks. But let’s talk about other aspects. First, let me mention our main heroine. Ignoring her shock-value oversexualized design, I absolutely love Bayonetta’s character. Unlike other protagonists, who are often more serious, no-nonsense, or just plain unlikable, Bayonetta is bold and sassy, and I absolutely can’t get enough of her attitude. Whenever she’s dodging an enemy attack, she’ll often make a smartass comment about how they failed to hit her, and I love her comments. She’s kind of like Sonic the Hedgehog, which is not surprising, considering Sega originally created Bayonetta. Unfortunately, she’s the only likable character in this game. The others range from annoying to “eh.”
Now let’s discuss some negative aspects of the game, even though there aren’t many. The cutscenes are a little inconsistent, sometimes alternating between beautiful full motion videos and slideshows with limited animation. Also, for some reason, the voice acting is echoed. I have no idea what the reason is for either of those.
So that’s Bayonetta 2. Even though I’m not a hack n’ slash fan, I kinda enjoyed playing this, mostly because Bayonetta’s attitude kept me interested. The graphics are great, the music is okay, and the gameplay is action-packed and very satisfying. This is a must-have game for Wii U owners.
Rating: 9/10, Amazing