I am going to be blunt, and say that a lot of the big hyped games of this year that were released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been really disappointing. Sure, there have been a few of the big titles that were released like Wolfenstein: The New Order and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor that were really good, but games like Titanfall, Destiny, The Sims 4, Watch Dogs, and at least for me, The Evil Within didn’t live up to their hype. It’s funny to think how the big titles released by Nintendo and a couple of downloadable games have really been the games that won me over this year. I mean, think about it for a moment. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4, while having a lot more big budget titles coming to their console, haven’t really panned out in terms of reviews and appeal. Now you look at Nintendo, and while sales still could be better, their big titles have been selling well and have gotten the most positive reviews out of any titles released this year. For example, let’s take a look at what is quite possibly my favorite game of this year, Bayonetta 2, which is exclusive to the Wii U. I remember when this game was announced, I was hyped because Bayonetta is one of my all-time favorite games. Unfortunately, a lot of fans got extremely upset and annoyed that it was only going to be for one console, Nintendo’s Wii U. Even after a lot of gamers accepted the situation, since they found out Nintendo was the only company willing to help fund the game, people were still enraged. No offense, but if you are still complaining about the game being only on Wii U, you need to get over yourself, and if you actually want to support the possibility of a Bayonetta 3, then you should go buy this game and a Wii U. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get started.
The story picks up four months after the first game, and has Bayonetta going around the city doing some shopping for the holidays. Unfortunately for her, shopping is cut short as a group of angels start to attack her, while at the same time ruining her new dress. Of course, since Bayonetta is made of pure awesome, she beats down on the angels that are trying to end her life. After her friend Jeanne is killed, and her soul is dragged to Hell, it is up to Bayonetta, along with the help of her friendly weapons dealer Rodin, to literally go to Hell in order to retrieve Jeanne’s soul. Along the way, she will meet up with the ever-romantic Luka, a character from the first game, and encounters a masked Lumen Sage and a mysterious boy named Loki. At first glance, this story might not be something all that interesting, but when you compare it to the first game’s story, it is leagues better. It is more coherent, and a lot more heart was put into the characters. I love Bayonetta as a character in this game. She doesn’t feel like a female version of Dante anymore. She is cocky, confident, sarcastic, is comfortable with her sexuality, and isn’t afraid to pose or show off. I know some critics have been annoyed by her sexuality, but you know what? I disagree with them! If you want to talk about shallow female characters made for sexual exploitation, why don’t people tell the developer making the Dead or Alive series to stop using fan service and anime-inspired bodies, and actually make characters that have character? Or what about the one solo female soldier in Metro: Last Light? She literally has no character. I am just saying that I feel like Bayonetta gets a little too much flak. Does she have sexuality in her character? Yes. Can she bend back more so than any human possible? Yes, but does that stop me from liking her as a character? Of course not! She still has a personality, and I like her. It’s just funny how snooty we are as a country towards sexual themes, when a lot of other countries are much more open and accepting about it. Anyway, let us move onto the gameplay.
Bayonetta 2 is a fast-paced-over-the-top action game, where you will be playing as Bayonetta. You can unlock other characters, but I will talk about that later. You have three different action buttons for moves. You have the “Y” button for a simple attack using Bayonetta’s guns, the “X” button for punching attacks, and the “A” button for kicking attacks. The “B” button is, of course, your jump button. The game also sees the return of the witch time mechanic, where if you dodge at the right time of missing an attack, time will slow down and you can get in a lot of extra hits on the enemies. Also returning are punishment finishers, where you put enemies in torture devices to kill them, angelic records that give Bayonetta new weapons, and of course, those giant demon finishers you summon when fighting large enemies. It might not seem like anything has changed, but the combat has been perfected to a T. It is one of the most satisfying combat systems I have ever played, and is easily in my top three favorite combat systems. A new element in combat that has been implemented is called the Umbran Climax where you execute super-power moves that change, depending on what weapons you have on. Variety is the spice of life, and that is no different in Bayonetta 2, where you have small side challenges thrown into every level that will offer you rewards, and some levels have you flying on a jet and riding a demonic horse. There is a lot of replay value in this game. Not only do you have a nine-hour campaign that can easily go into 13 hours if you want to complete everything, but you have items to find, like the angelic records, health and magic upgrades, more playable characters, unlockable fan service outfits, and due to this being on the Wii U, you get unlockable Nintendo outfits that range from a Link from The Legend of Zelda outfit to a Fox McCloud outfit from Star Fox! That last outfit, by the way, unlocks one of the coolest Easter eggs ever! Outside of the main single-player campaign, you have a multiplayer mode where you can play co-op with a friend, and use various characters to complete different challenges. Sure, it might not be full-on co-op mode in the single-player mode, but it’s a fun side activity, like the one in The Wonderful 101.
The graphics in Bayonetta 2, while showing a few tiny rough spots, look great. There is so much detail and speed in the animation that it doesn’t matter if there are a few small odd-looking textures. The game is such a beauty to look at, from all the different levels that you will be going through, and all of the colors from the reds and black that the demons are covered in, to the gold and blues the angelic enemies are adorned with. Of course, there is a lot of blood, but it’s stylized, and doesn’t really come off as tasteless. The music is also wonderful, with songs that sound like they should be in some 1920s or 1940s jazz bar, and some songs that make the grand battles against giant demons and angels epic! The voice work can be considered corny, but it is so enjoyable, and it seems like everyone who was in the recording booth had a lot of fun with their characters.
I honestly don’t have much to complain about. I don’t have any major problems with the game, so I guess I will get into the more nitpicky elements. I wish costumes didn’t cost so much. It seems like everything cost so much that you can easily go three levels before you can finally buy a new outfit or a couple of moves. I also wish I didn’t need to buy second copies of the alternate weapons, because if I find the angelic record, I should be able to have the weapon available for both arms and legs. I also found the final boss to be disappointing. It is just a little sad that you go from the first game having you fight a huge goddess that you throw into the sun, to a normal-sized human being that you toss into a demonic dog’s mouth. The fight is satisfying as heck, but still, I wish they could have topped that final boss from the first game. However, those little nitpicks don’t detract from the game.
Bayonetta 2 is my favorite game of this year. It delivers on everything I was hoping for. It has a better story, better combat, Bayonetta is a better character, more variety, and while some snarky and cynical critics might think that this sequel doesn’t improve upon much, it pretty much perfects everything that the first game brought to the table. If you are a true fan of Platinum Games and of the Bayonetta franchise, you must get this game, and if you are planning to get a Wii U, buy this game alongside it. Plus, if you haven’t played the original Bayonetta, it comes with Bayonetta 2. This means you are getting two games for $60. After a year of what seemed like disappointing titles and overhyped third-party games, Bayonetta 2 and a lot of the games released by Nintendo this year are a breath of fresh air, and are actually worth the hype. If you love fast-paced over-the-top and super satisfying action games, and want to see a third game come to fruition, then it is mandatory for you to buy a copy of this game!
This game gets a perfect 10 out of 10.