If there is one thing that can be said about Platinum Games, a company involving key employees with a rich history of the game development of some of our favourites, it’s that they really understand how to create truly enjoyable games for their fans. Unafraid to make a product that may not make the financial return that other companies prioritise, you can easily feel the passion that overflows from the final result, as you experience a product that is the creation of a childhood sitting in front of the glowing square box as you’re trying to finish that game before school the next day. Bayonetta 2 is another such title that feels like a passion project, throwing away the chains that hinders many games from greatness in achieving the required profit in exchange for something greater. This in one game that has focused on pure entertainment and joy for the gamer at heart.
Bayonetta 2 serves as a smart and sexy sequel that knows what it wants, and learns how to please on a level beyond pretty graphics and cheap gimmicks. It offers no sacrifices as it tries to retain what made the original memorable, and even serves to push forward towards a greater experience than it’s predecessor. It feels like a non-stop action climax of a game, and achieves so with style and grace, showcasing what insanity Platinum Games can deliver for the action genre. To understand the extent of insanity it could deliver, you are fighting on top of a jet fighter against angels, as it flies through the city. You see Enzo, one of the main characters, freaking out as he somehow drives his car on the side of buildings, while our favourite angel turned bartender, Rodin, smokes a cigar while wearing a Santa Clause outfit. It could send shivers down your spine thinking about it, and it’s not even Chapter 1 yet.
To play it is an experience, but it’s not exactly something that you can’t button mash to overpower enemies. Bayonetta 2 demands a level of skills and timing the likes that one may find when playing a fighting game. “Witch Time” makes it’s return as a means to control the battle, as with correct timing distorts time itself to allow you to unleash an unholy barrage of pain that can delight the hardened veteran. New to the series, however, is “Umbra Climax”, a new mechanic that you can activate with a full magic gauge. It enhances the thrilling excitement of the fight as you dominate foes with powerful attacks enhanced by “Umbra Climax” and is a welcome addition to the over-all gameplay experience. Beyond that, Bayonetta 2 knows what it’s doing and does it well, it’s exciting, fast-paced, and you feel very much like you’re in control at all times.
Perhaps its greatest achievement is what it provides as a sequel. It achieves a better build on the foundation set by the original, while it improves on the shortcomings of the original. Issues you may have experienced with the original have been combatted, including the cheap deaths from quick time events. Even the pacing has improved to an extent where now, no levels have a feeling like it drags on. Everything is perfectly paced and crafted and it’s an example of how fluid and exciting an over-the-top action game can be. However, the story itself is not without fault. It’s not surprising if you find yourself scratching your head during certain elements of the story. While the story is solid, some of it could have been clarified, and may require you to delve into it a little deeper to understand it all. There are some touching moments that will tug at the heart strings, and powerful scenes when characters resolve, with a plot twist that makes the scene. The story is a joy to travel through, but it requires you play both to understand what is going on, as it’s not exactly spoon fed to you.
Regardless of the plot issues, Bayonetta herself has grown and developed better compared to the first title. Bayonetta 1 explored the common trope of a protagonist suffering from amnesia, but you never developed a real feel for the character itself, but in the sequel, she knows who she is and what she wants. She feels more relatable as a character, and you will find yourself feeling for her. This has a more powerful impact, when early in the game your friend and comrade Jeanne is killed and taken to hell, and you have a drive to rescue her. There are major stakes, and it’s a motivational drive to go through the game, instead of just for the sake of running down heaven and hell. This only continues on as more characters are introduced.
The most shocking matter regarding the game itself could be the wealth of unlockable content the game offers. Countless costumes with some inspired by Nintendo’s greatest is a welcome addition, as well as the various weapons included. In an age of Downloadable Content (DLC), it feels like you’ve purchased a Game of the Year edition. With the inclusion of Bayonetta 1 for the Wii U as well, it’s sad to think that such value is not the norm among other companies. Platinum Games has consistently identified how to treat the fans and gamers, with a package that feels almost too big to handle. The game even includes a co-op mode, fighting alongside an online friend to earn currency and what-not. However, it feels a little lucklustre when the players are not there and it’s almost an easily missable experience.
Bayonetta 2 may be just one of the greatest games of the generation, but it’s no doubt one of the best in the Wii U library. The game alone is enough of a reason to purchase it. Any fan of the action genre or over-the-top action will fall in love with Bayonetta 2, and all of its assets. It manages to cut all the loose ends and feels like the complete package any gamer would want from a video game. It is something we’ve experienced in our younger years, as opposed to a world of DLC and half completed games at launch. Platinum Games has truly created a masterpiece that simply cannot be ignored, and stands there as one of the best of its generation.
Bayonetta 2 is a non-stop, exciting, action-filled adventure, as you dominate both angels and demons with skills and timing that makes you feel like you are in control at all times. The previous instalment’s weaknesses are well combatted, to bring a worthy and superior sequel that is slightly held back by a little confusing plot. Despite this, at a relatively cheap price of 69.00 AUD, it serves as an example to what modern action games can be like, and is fast-becoming one of the best games of the Wii U library.