Bayonetta 2 Review: An Infinite Climax

Platform: Nintendo Wii U     Developer: Platinum Games     Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date: 10/24/2014

Disclaimer: During this review of Bayonetta 2, I won’t be talking about any of the perceived social issues within the game. Specifically, I’m not going to use this review as a platform to talk about the apparent sexism of Bayonetta. You want to chat with me about that, hit me up on Twitter. I’m here to talk about the game.

Earlier in the year, I named Bayonetta 2 my must-buy game from this year’s E3. I figured the game would be a sure lock as one of the best titles of the year, and it didn’t disappoint. If you’ve got a thing for fast paced action games with lots of style and an emphasis on reflexes, Bayonetta 2 is the new top of that genre.

Rocking a new haircut, Bayonetta is the star of one of the greatest action games ever made.

Rocking a new haircut, Bayonetta is the star of one of the greatest action games ever made.

If you’ve played Bayonetta, you know what to expect. And if you haven’t, you’ve got a great resource to do so, as Bayonetta 2 comes complete with the original game, remade for the Wii U with some added content. I’ve peeked around at the first game a bit, and it’s still got it, let me tell you.

But if the original game still has it, what does Bayonetta 2 have? You could call it more of the same – a frantic pace, great combat, and a sense of humour and style that keeps the game from getting too serious, even when the plot is in full swing. The plot is surprisingly interesting too, and it manages to tie up some threads from the original game and bring the whole thing together in a way I didn’t expect.

While more of the same is an apt description, there’s nothing wrong with that in the case of Bayonetta 2. This is a game that does everything the original did, but better.

For a fast paced game, it’s key for it to move smoothly, and except for a few minor hiccups with the game’s largest enemies, Bayonetta 2 kept up its 60 FPS. The game looks great in motion, especially Bayonetta’s combos and special attacks. For a Wii U title, the graphics are impressive and the art design elevates it up a higher level. The enemy designs are interesting and the game’s set pieces are incredible, especially since you’ll be visiting some breathtaking locations this time around.

This impressive battle against one of Bayonetta's demons? Yeah, this is in the prologue. This game gets to the point.

This impressive battle against one of Bayonetta’s demons? Yeah, this is in the prologue. This game gets to the point.

To complement the game’s excellent graphics, Bayonetta 2 sounds pretty good too. I played through the game with the English voice acting, but there is an option to turn on the Japanese audio. I liked the English voice acting, but I’m sure the Japanese voices are good too. There’s just something about Helena Taylor’s performance as Bayonetta that I love, and I feel like some of the humour would be lost just seeing it in the subtitles.

Musically, Bayonetta 2 is much like the first game – it has an upbeat soundtrack focused around pop music, even going back 40 to 50 years to grab some easy listening music to create an oddly nostalgic mood. In intense situations, the music will go towards orchestral or more rock oriented music. It’s a great soundtrack that consistently fits the mood of the action.

Now’s the time to discuss the game’s most important feature. The combat in Bayonetta 2 is largely unchanged from the first game, but a fresh set of weapons and a new mechanic keeps it exciting. I didn’t find a weapon in Bayonetta 2 I was wary of using, rather, finding unique ways to set them up and operate in tandem is a joy in and of itself.

Undine, a pair of elemental launchers, in action. This is just one of the new set of excellent weapons found in the game.

Undine, a pair of elemental launchers, in action. This is just one of the new set of excellent weapons found in the game.

The new mechanic I mentioned is called Umbran Climax, a kind of super mode activated with the L button when Bayonetta’s magic meter is sufficiently high. Upon use, all your attacks become stronger and akin to the Wicked Weaves that finish your combos. The weaves become even stronger during Umbran Climax, allowing you to attack large areas at a time and clear enemies out faster than ever before.

Since the combat hasn’t changed much, Platinum focused on making great enemies for Bayonetta to battle. They’ve created a whole new line of angels (and demons) to battle Bayonetta, and they’re all well designed and fun to fight. You’ll often be fighting wave upon wave of angels, finding new ways to tear through them. While the quick combat could be seen as a button mashing affair, learning Bayonetta’s combos is important – the right kind of combo can make a situation much easier than it would typically be.

I think it’s worth mentioning that Bayonetta 2‘s default difficulty does seem a bit lower than the previous game. However, I don’t know if that’s a result of my numerous hours playing the original game, including at its higher difficulties. So I didn’t have a huge challenge, and I ranked well on every chapter. I’ve yet to touch 3rd Climax, the game’s hard mode, and I know there’s an Infinite Climax mode waiting to provide the ultimate challenge.

Bring it on!

Bring it on!

It took me about 12 hours to finish Bayonetta 2. I’m sure newcomers to the series will take longer to get through it, or if you can’t pick up the frenetic pace of the game as well as some, you’ll definitely spend more time getting through it. I did miss a few things in my playthrough, so I need to go back and grab those. Some of the verses within chapters can be well hidden, whether it’s a regular battle or a portal to Muspelheim (where you’ll take on challenge rooms for bonus items).

Add in the sheer number of accessories and treasures to buy in Rodin’s shop, and it’ll certainly take some time to collect everything in the game. There are even unlockable characters, and their differences from Bayonetta can make tackling a chapter again feel like a new experience.

If I had to make one complaint about the game, it would be directed at its length, but part of me feels like the game is almost the perfect length – the plot doesn’t drag, the chapters don’t get repetitive, and it manages to stay thoroughly entertaining for its entire length. Bayonetta 2 finds ways to top the original game over and over again, and then figures out how to top itself a few minutes later. The game keeps throwing fun at you, and you should definitely accept its gifts.

Don’t be naughty – get this game. This may very well be the strongest game in the Wii U’s library to date, and another great addition to the library from Platinum Games. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got more Bayonetta 2 to play.

A review copy of this game was provided by the publisher.

A fantastic action game.

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