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Bayonetta is a character action/hack and slash game that lets you play as an Umbra Witch and beat the shit out of angels. It’s challenging, sexy, and action-packed. It’s one of my favorite games in the genre. From what I understand, we would have never saw a sequel if Nintendo didn’t step in to fund it. Developed by PlatinumGames and published by Nintendo, Bayonetta 2 was released for the Wii U in September, 2014 and Switch in February, 2018. I beat this on Wii U back when it came out and for this review, I played the Switch version.
Shortly after the events of the first game, Bayonetta is Christmas shopping with Enzo when Angels arrive. Jeanne and Bayonetta team up to fight them off but Jeanne is attacked and the depths of Inferno claim her soul. Bayonetta sets out to rescue her and along the way meets up with a boy named Loki who is being hunted by a Lumen Sage. Together, they strike a deal. Loki will help Bayonetta get to Inferno and she will help him get to the mountain of Fimbulventr for reasons he can’t remember. Several characters from the previous game return including Luka and Rodin and the voice acting is solid. Bayonetta is still a sexualized and badass protagonist who enjoys asserting her sexuality while kicking ass.
The gameplay and mechanics are almost the same as they were in the previous game. You can walk, run, jump, double jump, transform into a Panther, Crow, and Snake when underwater. Bayonetta can equip weapons in her hands and on her feet and you can switch between two weapon sets on-the-fly. You can punch and kick foes and perform combos and weaves. The better you do in combat, the more halos you earn which act as a form of currency. If you dodge at just the right time, you’ll temporarily enter Witch Time where enemies around you are slowed down. As you attack enemies, you’ll build up your magic gauge and you can use the energy to unleash special attacks like torture and punish attacks. You can also perform Umbran Climaxes where you unleash a barrage of Infernal Weaves and you can perform Climax finishers on certain foes like bosses. The camera does seem slightly improved compared to that of the first game but there were a few times where it would position itself in less than ideal spots. The gameplay is significantly easier this time around and the button mashing to perform special attacks is less tiring. And best of all, there’s no quick time events that can result in your death if you fail.
The game plays out in Chapters with multiple Verses per chapter and Verses are just battles. You’re rewarded with medals based on your performance in battles and the medals you earn determine the trophy you earn at the end of the chapter. As you defeat enemies and destroy objects, you’ll have the opportunity to earn or pick up halos. Unfortunately, there’s no Angel Attack minigame in Bayonetta 2 which is disappointing since I found it addictive in the first game. However, I was earning a lot more halos just from the standard gameplay this time around. Halos can be spent at the Gates of Hell to buy new techniques which are just moves, weapons, items, Rodin’s treasures which are cosmetic changes, and accessories which can be equipped to provide bonuses. Bayonetta 2 does support amiibos and you can use thirty two per day at The Gates of Hell. Certain amiibos will unlock new costumes and they all seem to reward you with halos and items. The amiibos can make things a lot easier because of how many halos you can be rewarded with in a single day. You can buy all the techniques, some accessories, and multiple Witch Hearts and Moon Pearls which permanently increase your vitality and magic gauge respectively all before the half-way point.
There are numerous weapons you can equip to help you defeat foes and items to consume if you’re struggling during a battle. Trying out all of the different weapons and combinations is all part of the fun and you’ll want to see what works best for you. There are long range weapons like guns, a hammer, swords, and if you have the right amiibo, you can use Chain Chomp as a weapon. Lollipos return and you can consume them to restore health and magic, one grants you a temporary shield, and another will temporarily increase your attack power. Compared to the first game, I didn’t use lollipops or any items nearly as often. I think I used a Green Herb one once to restore some health. Once you acquire the Witch’s Recipe book, you can concoct items using the resources you’ve acquired throughout your journey. In addition to lollipops is the Midas’s Testament item which will increase the wealth you receive.
You’ll engage many of the same Angels you did in the first game and new to the enemy roster are Demons. Some enemies are equipped with weapons that they’ll drop when defeated and you can pick them up and use them for a limited time. Angels and Demons both come in different forms and have their own names. Some are large, others are small, some can fly, and some can move and attack very quickly. If you’ve played the first game, the combat will feel very familiar and once you master the dodging, defeating enemies should be a breeze. The gameplay is a lot more forgiving in Bayonetta 2 which, ultimately, I like because there’s more room for error. I would usually take several hits from the quick-moving foes and bosses but I didn’t die once during the story. I’m usually not very good at games in this genre so it was nice not getting my ass handed to me in every other battle. Achieving platinum medals is easier but still requires memorization of enemy attacks and knowing when to dodge. Some foes like to strike multiple times in succession and it can be hard to know exactly when to dodge when engaging some of the faster foes. You’re usually always outnumbered and there is a chance to get attacked by enemies off-screen which can be annoying so it’s wise to always be aware of your surroundings.
Bayonetta 2 will take you to a good variety of locations including to areas in the city of Noatun and Inferno. You’ll also travel to some familiar areas in the city of Vigrid. If you do some exploring, you can acquire the collectibles like memory fragments, Umbran Crows, and Gold LP fragments. Gold LPs and LP fragments are also rewarded to you for winning certain battles and bringing LPs to the Gates of Hell results in new items. There are portals to the Gates of Hell scattered around the environments along with portals to Muspelheims which are just like Alfheims from the first game. These are areas where you must complete challenges for rewards. These include things like defeating all of the enemies within a time limit, you only deal damage during Witch Time, and defeating all enemies without taking a single hit, among others. Bayonetta 2 is filled with set pieces which are often exciting and break things up nicely. Many boss battles have you engaging them while flying, you’ll fight enemies while on top of a moving jet, you’ll even get to control a jet, ride a Climax Horse, and utilize Umbran Armor to take down foes. Umbran Armor is kind of a like a mech and these sequences are a lot of fun.
Visually, Bayonetta 2 is a pretty good looking game. It’s not as washed out as its predecessor. There’s a lot more color and the environments are well detailed. There’s a good amount of visual diversity and some of the battles are accompanied by busy backgrounds like NPC’s fighting for example. The character models and animations look good, enemies will show visible damage during combat, and watching them explode or get split in half is quite satisfying. I did notice some jaggies here and there but other than that, Bayonetta 2 is pleasing on the eyes. The soundtrack is full of a good variety of songs, many of which are orchestral, and there’s even a pop-sounding version of Moon River. The sound effects are great with satisfying sounds of strikes and each weapon sounds pretty good. Enemies will make noises and screech during combat and if you use Chain Chomp as weapon, it likes to bark constantly which can get annoying after a while. On the technical side, I experienced no major issues.
I love Bayonetta 2. It is less challenging than the first game but also less frustrating. There’s still plenty of depth to the combat and going for all platinum trophies will take you some time. There’s also multiple difficulty modes so if you’re looking for a real challenge, you might want to play through the story on Hard. The game does offer plenty of replay value and there’s even some end game content like the Witch Trials which should put your skills to the test. Furthermore, completing chapters will reward you with Verse cards which are battles for the Tag Climax mode. Tag Climax is an online multiplayer game mode where players can team up to fight enemies. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to try it.
I would absolutely recommend Bayonetta 2 to fans of the first game and the genre. It’s stylish, sexy, fast-paced, and action-packed. I, personally, think it’s an improvement over the first game. It’s more forgiving but it still puts up a decent fight and the combat has depth. Definitely check out Bayonetta 2.