I don't remember much about the first Bayonetta, but I know I loved playing it, so checking out the sequel was a no brainer for me and I'm so glad I did.
For those who don't know, Bayonetta is a hack and slash style game which is full of manic action and upbeat Japanese music and a story that quite honestly I don't really understand. But who cares, because from the moment you put the disc in you'll be hooked by its colourful, fast paced action, even if - like me - you don't have a clue what's going on.
To give an example of just how crazy this game is, it starts off with a christmas shopping trip and Bayonetta's friend being sent to hell. Then there's the huge fight which takes place on top of a Jet Fighter against a bunch of angels. By this point I had given up hope of ever knowing what was going on and just went with the flow.
So I'd given up on following the story already and this was just the prologue, but not to matter as combat is the main focus of the game, which is something Platinum had to get right and boy does it ever. It just feels so natural and easy to pull of the moves you want to and if you combine them with a perfectly timed dodge you'll even be rewarded with Witch Time, a slowing down of time which allows you to get a few more hits in on the enemy. That's not the only new move though as Platinum introduces Umrbran Climax - a demon-summoning attack that strikes hard and wide. Adding to this, there's also combos which are easy to pull off and easy to learn thanks to the button combinations being shown on the loading screens. You'll certainly need all of these attacks, because the enemies won't hold back.
There are lot of different enemies, each out for your blood. The small/standard minions are difficult enough, all having a different pattern of attacks, while the bosses never behave the same, each being more deadly than the next. You really need to be on your toes with these guys and even then, that may not help. No matter which enemy you are up against, the action is always so fast paced that it's often hard to take it all in. Added to this some of the visuals on display during these moments will probably blow you away, but never distract you from taking the enemies out. Everything just seems to flow and blend together into one perfect moment. It's quite the spectacle - it's fair to say that Bayonetta is back and she's more kick ass than ever.
What was great about Bayonetta 2, even at the early stages of the game was the action was free flowing and easy to pick up. You're basically thrown in to the action, given an idea of how to fight and left to it against some of the nastiest looking enemies in gaming.
Controls in Bayonetta 2 are quite mixed, so it's up to you how you'd like to take the game on. You can use the GamePad and fight using taps, holds, and swipes or you can use the standard control scheme, which is a lot better, especially if you plan on pulling on dozens of combos.
When a chapter ends, you can give your fingers and eyes a rest, sit back and see how you've done. This is thanks to the rating system which scores you on your time and use of combos and punishes you for using too many continues (hey I couldn't help it, this game is hard). Rewards for performing well include extra currency, multipliers, new techniques, accessories, costumes and more. So it's a nice touch and a welcome break in between the action.
Away from the main action there is also a new online only, scenario-based co-op mode. As you complete sections of the main campaign, you'll unlock these smaller scenarios which you can take on with a friend. They generally take a short time to complete and see you taking on some of the game's tougher enemies. It's a nice addition, although quite rightly the single player is where it's at.
Bayonetta 2 is a wonderful looking game. The art really is incredible and certainly had my jaw dropping on quite a few occasions, which in my opinion is a great achievement. Often the game feels like a eccentric painting come to life and with the music which often accompanies the action in the background, it's hard not to get sucked right into the wonders of all it has to offer.
I've still no idea what really went on during the course of the game, but I know I never quite experienced anything like it before, well not since the original Bayonetta anyway. Bayonetta 2 is without doubt the best action game to grace the Wii U yet, in fact it's probably the best action game to hit this year.
Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta
(Version Tested: Wii U)
+ Fantastic Art Style
+ Fast Paced Action
+ Plenty of Diverse enemies
+ Brilliant Combat
- Can be difficult to follow story