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Bayonetta 2 – Wii U

Bayonetta 2 – Wii U

Bayonetta2Platform: Nintendo Wii U

Develepor: Platinum Games

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA): October 24, 2014

Genre: Action

Nerd Rating: 9/10

There is a fine line between something being ludicrous as opposed to being ridiculous. Both words are synonyms of each other, however the word ridiculous is derived from the word ridicule. If we are ridiculing something, then that means we are rejecting the concept of that something because we can’t accept it as plausible.

Japanese developers have a talent for being able to walk the fine line between something being ludicrous, as opposed to being absolutely ridiculous. The Japanese infuse the ludicrous with enough style, substance, and quirky elements  into something that is actually kind of cool. This allows us, as the players, to be able to suspend our disbelief enough that we don’t outright reject what we are being presented.

This suspension of disbelief is an absolute must. How else are we going to allow ourselves to be pulled into a reality where a hyper-sexualized witch, with two guns clasped in her hands and another two guns strapped to her legs, battles angels on top of an F-22 Raptor as it screams through the skies of New York City? Only an expertly executed combination of these elements would allow us to accept a level that comes to its climax with a mid-air battle against her own summon monster, a massive dragon-like creature who has run amok, climbing up the side of a skyscraper King Kong style – and to do this in its opening level.

bayonetta screen 1

Bayonetta 2 caps its opening level with a boss encounter that most games would save for their finale

Bayonetta 2 is the epitome of this marriage of style, substance, and that extra level of the outlandish. Its grandiose opening sets the stage for what is to come: an all out celebration of the Japanese way of developing action games.

The machismo on display in Bayonetta 2’s prologue is felt throughout every part of the games design. Bayonetta herself oozes a witty confidence in herself, without becoming annoying or overbearing like Delsin Rowe from inFAMOUS: Second Son.

Bayonetta has an extensive move list that she can string together into combos in her quest for stylishly dispatching forces of Heaven and Hell (Or Paradiso and Inferno as they are called in the game). The individual moves are very reminiscent of Virtua Fighter, so one move being punch, punch, punch; another being punch, kick, punch, and so on. The longer you can keep up your combo, the more Halos (The in-game currency that suspiciously resemble the rings that were collected in the Sonic the Hedgehog series) you will earn. Those Halos can be used to purchase new weapons, items, moves, or eventually, new costumes, thus adding to Bayonetta’s overall style.

Purchasing and equipping new weapons will alter the moves that are available, thus expanding your options in a fight. You can create two different load-outs for Bayonetta, which you can switch between at any time. It gets pretty spectacular being able to take on a group of demons with an enormous scythe-like claw, and then switch mid combo to a set of short swords, which give Bayonetta a lot more speed. Bayonetta also has her guns available for long range attacks, or juggling enemies that she has knocked into the air.

bayonetta screen 2

Expert dodging triggers “Witch Time”.

Long combo strings will also add to a magic meter which can be used to unleash outlandish “torture” attacks or the Umbran Climax, which basically supercharges your attacks for a brief period of time. Dodging an enemy attack within a split second of it striking you triggers “Witch Time”, freezing baddies for a few seconds, allowing you to pummel them with your slickest moves.

Your ability to gracefully dance between stringing together combos, preventing the amount of damage taken, and the time it takes to get through the level will determine the rank you receive after each chapter is completed. The higher the rank, the better the bonus reward you receive. Unless you are instantly amazing at the game, you will probably want to go back and replay some of those levels to try and improve your ranking.

The layout of Bayonetta 2’s levels are mostly linear, however there are a few branching paths that allow some light exploration. Those paths will lead to secret treasure chests or to a Muspelheim, which is a challenge room where you will have to defeat enemies within a set of challenging parameters; such as a time limit, or without getting hit etc.

bayonetta screen 3

Bayonetta and Loki as they prepare to break into the gates of Inferno

The multi-tiered story in Bayonetta 2 picks up after the events of the original. Paradiso’s armies are sent to Earth to find Bayonetta and retrieve her half of something called “The Eyes of the World”. An object that is used to determine the course of humanity, one eye being good, the other being on the naughty end of the spectrum. Stopping the Heavenly host usually be enough for anyone to handle, however Bayonetta’s companion Jeanne has her soul knocked clean out of her body during the opening battle of the game. Bayonetta learns that she will have to fight her way into Inferno itself , the gates of which are located within a sacred mountain called Fimbulventr, in order to retrieve Jeanne’s soul before it gets relegated to an eternity of torment. Bayonetta also has to deal with a revenge seeking sage along with a young lad that she meets early on in her journey, who has his own motives (albiet he can’t quite remember them right away) for reaching Fimbulventr.

The story takes a lot of twists and turns, and although it takes a backseat to the combat as far as being a compelling reason to play, it did do a decent job of becoming interesting as the game wound through its sixteen chapters.

Bayonetta 2 looks great for a Wii U title, making use of fantastic art direction and enemy design to create a lovely and visually unique exclusive for Nintendo.

The music is an eclectic mix, ranging from a smooth, smokey sounding jazz while in Rodin’s shop, to an otherworldly epic nature while battling some of the bosses in the game. There is even a remix of the classic “Moon River” in the prologue level, which again illustrates the point about the fine line between ridiculous and the ludicrous that Japanese developers are so skilled at walking. Bottom line: The soundtrack is great and you will be listening to it on Youtube after you finish the game. Heck, some of the hidden items will actually unlock parts of the soundtrack for you to listen to in the gallery section that becomes available after completing the game.

Bayonetta 2 also offers an online experience called Tag Climax. Players can go online with friends, randomly found partners, or even a cpu partner in order to battle some of the games enemies that are unlocked through Verse Cards found during the game. For added stakes, Tag Climax has players bet some of their Halos against each other prior to the battle. The player that receives the higher rank during the fight gets the winnings. It’s a pretty interesting way to keep people playing after finishing the single player game, and can also be a lucrative way of earning lots of Halos.

And you will need lots and lots of those little Halos in order to unlock Bayonetta 2’s cooler items. What game with this much emphasis on style would be complete without being able to unlock new costumes? Platinum Game’s partnership with Nintendo yielded some awesome Nintendo themed outfits that were definitely worth unlocking. Tell me what Nintendo fan wouldn’t want to take some time to unlock Samus’s Power-Suit from Metroid, or see Bayonetta’s take on Princess Peach’s dress? Those little extras do cost you though, to the tune of 100,000 Halos per costume. Before you can unlock any costumes though, you have to purchase another item called a Super Mirror (And for Nintendo themed outfits, the Super Mirror 64) which also costs 100,000 Halos. So your price to unlock Bayonetta’s first alternate outfit is 200 grand. Of course, you can play through the game without unlocking any costumes, but to do so would be to deny yourself some of the best stuff in the game.

bayonetta_link_costume_small

Yes. That IS Bayonetta in a Legend of Zelda costume!!

bayonetta playboy-2-10-26-14-6

Nintendo also teamed up with Playboy (Yes, that Playboy) to promote Bayonetta 2. Model Pamela Horton did the cosplay honors.

It’s hard to find anything about Bayonetta 2 that I didn’t enjoy. There were one or two instances while battling a group of enemies that I would kill off one, and then another would nail me from behind because the camera doesn’t swing around on its own. It was also somewhat annoying during the levels that had another character accompanying Bayonetta, that if I deviated from the correct route to go explore, that other character would continue to his next stopping point and then continuously admonish me to hurry up. It would have made more sense if they had followed Bayonetta and then changed their dialogue to reflect that they were off the beaten path.

Those are very minor gripes though, and don’t really do anything to diminish just how stellar Bayonetta 2 is.

Platinum Games have done an amazing job of creating an outlandish, intense, sexy, action experience. Every element of the game is dialed up to a garish degree, that had me sometimes shaking my head and laughing; but always with a smile as I took in the spectacle of it all. It’s also a radical departure from what we would normally expect as a Nintendo published title.

Bayonetta 2 stands as an instant classic. A game that belongs in the library of every Wii U owner.

More importantly though, Bayonetta 2 is one of the best, if not the best title to be released in 2014.

Nerd Rating: 9/10

Written by The Watchman

The Watchman


The Watchman is a journeyman gamer who has seen and played a good chunk of gaming history.
He’s also an actor, a reporter, a pro wrestling connoisseur, and some say he’s a cat whisperer.
If you have any questions or just want to drop me a line, hit me up at thewatchman@nerdbacon.com
Or follow me on Twitter @DavetheWatchman
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5 Comments

  1. @Sarus – Thanks for the compliment! I actually never played the first Bayonetta either. I’m really tempted to pick up Bayonetta 2 (I rented it from gamefly) because it also has the remastered edition of Bayonetta 1 included. And yes! You should get a Wii U! I had been on the fence for so long about it and I finally got a real good deal off of craigslist. I have had zero regets about picking it up so far. They have some fantastic exclusives, and 2015 is going to be amazing. We know there is a new Star Fox coming, We have the new Zelda out by the end of the year, and I really think that Splatoon is going to be something very special.

     
    • Yoshi’s Wooly World (is that right?) and Mario Party 10 are dropping too! And just maybe we’ll get a Super Mario Galaxy 3 in time for Holiday Season 2015!

      Wonderful 101 is an interesting game for those with the patience for it.

      One more reason to get a Wii U: It’s FREE to access the internet through the console. Netflix, Amazon, whatever, is all freely accessible, unlike the PS4 and XB1 that require subscriptions to their respective services.

       
  2. @Cubist – I know man. This year is going to be brutal on the ol’ wallet too. I have a list of no less than ten games that are pretty much “must haves” and plenty more that I might have to pick up. And honestly, we probably are aware of only half of the stuff that will be out this year.

     
  3. I really need to check this one out. Buying new games lately has gotten expensive! Now I’m torn between this and Hyrule Warriors after playing it at a GameStop the other day.

     
  4. Sarus Vakarian
    Sarus Vakarian says:

    I’m a fan of the first Bayonetta, and all of this hype about Bayonetta 2 makes me want to go out right now and get a Wii U.
    This is a really awesome, well-written review 🙂

     

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