Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) Review:

Bayonetta is still the yard-stick used to measure Platinum Games’ success or failure. It is a wonderful title, full of exciting, bombastic action, likable characters and super slick gameplay. Bayonetta 2 is better. The set-pieces are bigger, the action is crazier, the plot has more going for it and the gameplay is even improved. I put it to you, that Bayonetta 2 has raised the action game bar.

It all starts with a shopping trip. Bayonetta is enjoying herself, spending loads of cash on ridiculous items of clothing, and then it all goes wrong. You end up careering through the city on the top of a warplane, hacking and slashing your way through angels. It’s brilliantly bonkers stuff. You team up with Jeanne, Bayonetta’s now friend. It all goes to plan until Bayonetta’s failed demon-summoning attempt. What ensues is a frantic, glorious battle against a huge demon on top of a skyscraper. The visuals are gorgeous, and the slick, ultra-smooth gameplay never misses a beat. You beat the demon, but Jeanne is struck and dragged down to Inferno. It’s up to you to go and save her.

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Alongside this however, a mysterious Lumen Sage is brought to the present day by an equally mysterious floating blue guy, with the promise of revenge. The Lumen Sages were meant to be extinct! The stakes couldn’t be higher. This time, it’s personal. You travel off to the sacred mountain, Fimbulventr, in order to find the Gates of Hell, where upon you meet Loki, a mysterious young chap who likes to throw playing cards and call you love. This is where things get interesting. It’s all nonsense and ridiculous, but it’s one hell of a fun ride.

This is a game full of twists and turns, fantastic vistas and hideous places full of evil. It’s spectacular from start to finish. You’ll slice your way through angels and demons alike, using a brilliant variety of weaponry along the way (as long as you unlock it all). Bayonetta’s core powers remain the same as in the first game: you can sprint along as the panther, double-jump, dodge, and if you time your dodges well, enter witch-time. Mastering Bayonetta’s witch-time is still the key to victory here, as the amount of enemies on screen can get rather overwhelming at times. A perfectly timed dodge can give you a breather to either dish out a lot of pain, or to take time out to heal. Either way, you will need to learn how to dodge properly to survive the game.

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This is even more pressing when it comes to the games incredible boss-battles. These are always demanding, but expertly crafted, with a fantastic sense of scale and bombast. Most of the boss-battles took my breath away. Bayonetta 2 can be truly magnificent, and its boss-battles offer microcosms of most of what the game has up its sleeves. Outside of the intense, magnificent boss-battles, however, Bayonetta 2 has a bigger emphasis on exploration than its predecessor. I’m not saying that the game is full of exploration, but it has been expanded from the first title a little bit.

The gameplay is largely the same as in the original, but the combat feels a tad smoother. Your weapons feel more aggressive, too. Everything from your default gun shoes and fists, to your chainsaws, all the way to your bow and arrow, feels like it’s making a big impact and doing a lot of damage. Enemies explode in a cacophony of blood and halos (or gems when fighting demons). The combat is satisfying and a hell of a lot of fun, no matter your setup of weaponry.

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There’s not much wrong with Bayonetta 2, and finding flaws may seem like nit-picking, but if there was anything I didn’t like about the game, it was its voice-acting. Bayonetta herself, and a large portion of the supporting cast are voiced well, but Loki always sounded annoying and poorly acted to me. The character is meant to be something of an irritant to Bayonetta, sure, but his voice sounds like something out of an early PS2 game. Luckily, this is the only black mark on the game.

Bayonetta 2 is a very impressive game. It’s a huge amount of fun, it looks and sounds incredible and it carries a story full of excitement and emotion that excels in its ability to transport the player to a variety of expertly designed areas. Bayonetta 2 is the best in its genre and one of the best games I have ever played. It not only represents Platinum Games at their best, but also video game design at its best. I urge you to play this game if you already haven’t: you won’t regret it.


95%

Bayonetta 2 is spectacular from start to finish, full of excitement, super slick gameplay and an excellently designed world. Platinum Games are masters of their game, Bayonetta 2 their crowning achievement.

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