The witching hour strikes again. Brimming with intricate battles that take place in, on and all over epic set pieces, Bayonetta 2 finds our sassy heroine battling angels and demons in unearthly beautiful HD. You’re bound to love how it feels to string together combos with unimaginable weapons and to summon demons using Bayonetta’s Umbran Weave in this frantic stylized action game.
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The video game industry is known for having iterative sequels. All though story elements or visuals may change, developers often times stick with a formula that works, if the prior game had such a thing. But some of the most interesting sequels are those that don't play it safe, reinventing what was successful for the last title. This move can be just as revolutionary as it is daunting.
Bayonetta 2 doesn't at first feel like a reinvented sequel, because on it's surface the game shares many similarities to it's predecessor. And in many ways I feel as if it surpasses said title through the aforementioned tactic of iterating on what the original title set out to do.
Graphically, the Wii U's demon slaying blockbuster pops much more than the first game. Despite the increase in hardware power being minimal at best, the visuals feel more vibrant than ever thanks to a more fitting shift in art direction and color scheme. Bayonetta 2's world may look very similar, but their seems to be small elements of expressivity and character emanating from many simply serviceable components of the last game. Along with areas illustrated in more than just 50 shades of grey (exaggeration), this game feels more in line with the energetic charm the series is known for in my opinion.
The first game's story was somewhat cliché at first, but evolved into a multi faceted and century spanning, world shattering epic. With such large shoes to fill, Bayonetta 2 doesn't completely fumble the ball here. Sadly things aren't as cohesive as the first game but you are given more than enough world building to satiate fans of the first title. Without the over used amnesia plot device from the original game, new players just aren't given the same easy introduction to this expansive world like before. We still are given more than enough over the top chaos, plot twists and fun new characters, I just don't think it's as digestible as Bayo 1's story. A final element I'd like to add is how crazy the "final act" of the title is and how well it sets up what's to come. Following up such a narratively huge title was bound to be messy, but thankfully 2's story does more than enough to service players and future entries in this seminal hack and slash franchise.
The core movement based, acrobatic action is still here all be it with a few major changes. Additions and subtractions that begin to separate this game "handling" wise from the first by a decent margin. New moves and weapons make there debut here, with combative tools designed for sending your combo counter to the moon. Where it can play among the stars. I'm not sorry, that was sorta clever. In my opinion however, the problem lies in the ease ability of racking up said combos. Part of it I believe is the changes made to how stun locking works, but the crazy range/weave transitions most weapons offer also doesn't help. To some, such changes may appear to accent a weapon's move set. But in my opinion, I found it far too easy to rely on such gameplay accentuations as a crutch. Allowing myself to fly through the title without evolving my playstyle in order to fit the particular combat challenge. The first title may have been unforgiving at times, especially for new players but that made the taste of victory all the sweater. Couple this with the new Umbran Climax and you have a combat system that allows players to finish the game without seeing what this virtual combat sandbox truly has to offer.
After you've seen what both titles can be, it's hard to not feel unsatisfied by being able to easily exploit the combat loop. If the game was meant to be played only using two weapons and mashing the same few moves out over and over, the title wouldn't be filled with so many other engaging options. And that's the thing, they are engaging and quite fun to use. But I personally see a majority of interactive experiences as more fulfilling when I'm forced to learn, required to overcome. If such elements we're intentional, I'd say it deflates what the original title did and diminishes what I believed to be the entire point of the series. To kick angelic ass in an over the top, sexy fashion while a remixed Sinatra melody is blasting in the background. To grow with the game, unlocking moves as you go and learning how to demolish an entire plane of existence's denizens like a complete bad ass. But how am I supposed to feel like one if I'm not required to change the strategy I started with 5 minutes in?
That's not to say the entire combat system is shit however. Most of the other elements that worked in the original are still here and better than ever. With the game later facing you off against demons as well, the title feels even more versatile in it's combatants than Bayonetta 1. Couple this with the new enemy weapons, player weapons, items, and even a chain chomp, the game's core action is just as bombastic and frenetic as ever.
Even small elements we're seemingly improved upon and show Team Angel heard the last game's criticisms. QTE's are easier to do without going away completely, moments of instant deaths that first time players may experience in Bayo 1 are almost entirely gone here, and the special stages of sorts are arguably more refined and enjoyable this time around.
With a secondary arena mode and so much more to unlock, I'm definitely going to always come back to this one. You'll get your money's worth for sure and likely have a great time. But unless the higher difficulties somehow eliminate the optionally repetitive combat loop, I'll likely always slightly prefer it's greyer, less flashy predecessor.
A shining beacon in a year when most games were either incomplete on arrival, barebones, or god forbid, developed by Ubisoft, Bayonetta 2 fell into our ungrateful laps. We don’t deserve a game as good as Bayonetta 2, especially after the general public managed to avoid both Clover and Platinum studios’ earlier masterpieces. The gameplay is just as solid, if not, more so, than the first game. The dialogue is just as witty and fun as before, powers and enemies are creative, and the art design manages to salvage the Wii U’s shortcomings hardware wise. There’s not a lot to complain about when it comes to Bayonetta 2, and it won Least Worst for a reason. All we can say is to go out and give it a shot. Congratulations, Platinum. You’ve won our hearts. Again.
The best way to describe this game-fun. If you liked the first game, it's more of that and many of the good parts. I would say the base difficulty is definitely easier than the first game and it's easier to get a high grading compared to its predecessor. Overall, a pretty good time, and I'm looking forward to how they handle the third game.