By Will Whitehurst / November 4th, 2014
|Release Date||October 24, 2014|
|Genre||Non-Stop Climax Action/Hack and Slash|
|Age Rating||ESRB: Mature|
Just two years ago, renowned developer Platinum Games announced a partnership with Nintendo on the Wii U. I thought their first effort together, last year’s wildly inventive The Wonderful 101, was incredible, and it deservedly won Game of the Year in the Wii U category in last year’s oprainfall Awards. I also said that game was “Platinum’s finest hour.” So, imagine my surprise when their latest game―the sequel to one of my favorites of all time―also manages to Non-Stop Infinite Climax its way into the growing list of must-have Wii U games. That’s right, guys. Bayonetta 2 is finally here, and it manages to top not just its prequel, but, dare I say it, almost every action game before it in quality.
If you’re still one of those misguided people who think the Wii U will forever be a system for children, here’s a small word of advice: You’re missing out on one of the most wonderfully crafted hack-n-slashes ever conceived, where a scantily clad witch makes angels beg for mercy in the most over-the-top and outrageous level possible. Mature-rated Nintendo games are a rare breed indeed, and yet this game could not be more perfectly matched to the Wii U, as Bayonetta 2 captures that sense of fun and wonder one would expect from the franchise and wraps it in a truly fantastic package, with the first game’s madcap action, black comedy and crazy story all coming together once again in a bigger and better way.
Of course, most people probably won’t play Bayonetta 2 for the story, which mostly provides a setup for its action. After a frantic battle in the city, Bayonetta goes to Mount Fimbulventr, where she must (quite literally) go to Hell in order to retrieve the soul of her best friend Jeanne. Along the way, Bayonetta meets Loki, a Yugi look-alike who must also go to Fimbulventr for reasons he doesn’t know. Another intertwining plot involves the ongoing battle between the Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages, and the last living Lumen Sage is after both Bayonetta and Loki. And, as in the first game, Rodin, Enzo and Luka are there to provide comic relief, and, in Rodin’s case, plenty of items, treasures, and bad-ass weaponry for you to purchase.
Bayonetta 2‘s presentation is second-to-none, and puts the excitement front and center. Bayonetta 2 has visual flair in spades, serving as a nearly perfect graphical showcase for what the Wii U can do. Beautiful landscapes abound, with nice water effects, lovingly rendered European-style architecture and more, as well as fantastic art design. It is evident that Platinum took their time in making everything look realistic and fantastic. There is never a dull moment in the game’s environments, and this is especially prevalent in those grandiose boss fights. On top of that, the game runs extremely smoothly and slowdown is quite rare, even in the most graphically intensive boss fights. I could care less if this game ran in 720p, 1080p, or even 480p, as Bayonetta 2 is a bit like its heroine, in that it looks gorgeous without even trying.
Bayonetta 2‘s character and enemy designs are also nice, and there is a staggering amount of variety in both. It manages to keep the first game’s musical variety intact as well. Instead of the first game’s “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Mysterious Destiny,” we get “Moon River” as the main theme and “Tomorrow is Mine” as the battle theme, respectively, and they fit the game rather well. The orchestral music also sounds nice, and sets the game’s mood in a great way, but the switches to poppier-sounding music are also well-timed. The voice work is also great in both English and Japanese, but I have to side with the former in this case. As I said in my earlier review for the movie Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, there’s just still not much of a comparison. Hellena Taylor is Bayonetta, and I’ll leave it at that. Anyway, check out the amazing “Tomorrow Is Mine” below, because it’s better to get acquainted to this earworm early!
It’s evident that Bayonetta 2 is a much bigger game than its predecessor in scope, but it’s also quite hard for a game to match its predecessor when it was a refreshing action game all its own. Thus, many interested gamers will wonder how Bayonetta 2‘s gameplay fares, and this is where I tell you that everything in this sequel is not only bigger than the first game, but much more polished and intense, a bit less rough around the edges, and an even better experience overall! That’s high praise, you might say, but let me count the ways in which Bayonetta 2 manages to raise the bar for future action games and top pretty much every other game of its type out there.
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