I made a beeline for the Bayonetta 2 demo at PAX Prime 2013 on Friday, and from the moment I picked up the game, I was not disappointed. Bayonetta is not for everyone—the style is over-the-top, and many themes and elements tend to put some players off—and this carries over into Bayonetta 2.
The demo runs roughly 15 minutes, and is split into three verses which are mainly comprised of the scenes that take place in the trailer released at E3 back in June. Before you start playing, the player is given an option to use the regular controls on the Wii U pad or to use the touch screen instead. If the touch screen option is chosen, you then use the stylus to essentially draw out your attacks. This did not appeal to me personally, so I went for the more traditional route.
Each verse highlights particular combat stylistics; the first being your general Bayonetta-style mass amounts of enemies getting you familiar with the controls and movement. The second verse takes place on a train and involves more dodging and precise attacks targeted against one enemy. You do move off the train, but continue to fight the same enemy in a similar style of dodging and attacking. In the last verse, you fight a monster called Gomorrah, and during this fight you make use of your flight ability. The player does not need to trigger this themselves; it is done automatically at the beginning of the verse.
Another new feature for Bayonetta 2’s gameplay is her new attack, “Umbran Climax”. This attack is similar to Bayonetta’s “Serious Mode”, which she uses when fighting bosses in the first game. “Umbran Climax” is activated by pressing the L button on the Wii U pad and it is only useable when the magic gauge is full. This significantly increases Bayonetta’s attack power, as well as allows her Infernal Demons, such as Madama Butterfly, to manifest. There were a few other new demons making their appearance in the demo as well.
Personally, I don’t care for Bayonetta’s new haircut and costume, although I know many people who are ecstatic over the redesign. Despite my dislike for the new costume, it doesn’t quite matter since Bayonetta seems to be wearing less more often. While in the first game she was practically naked for all of her bigger attacks, Bayonetta wears something almost like a body suit as opposed to going full-blown naked. Do not fear though, she does bear all at some moments. I think we can thank Nintendo for the lack of nudity, although they did not get rid of the wonderful raunchiness of some scenes, poses and attacks completely.
I found Bayonetta 2 much easier to follow visually, and the character felt easier to move around and attack. The graphics were gorgeous in the cinematic scenes as well as in the gameplay itself. Speaking of gameplay, unfortunately in the demo, the new two-player feature was not being used. Jean did make an appearance in the demo to help Bayonetta out, but like the trailer, she seems to have lost her soul in the process.
I spoke with someone from Nintendo about a prospective release date, but they didn’t have any answers. Hopefully, Nintendo will be announcing the release date soon!