Review: Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)


Short summary: Gameplay-wise, there aren’t any substantial changes from the first, so if you didn’t like the first you won’t like this either. If you liked the first, you’d probably like this.


I haven’t actually finished it yet, I think I’m 3/4s – hang on….yep, looked it up on GameFaqs – of the way through it.

I was going to mention how I like brawlers and then probably fail to meaningfully tie that in to anything else I was going to say, but I haven’t played any Devil May Cry games, any of the modern Ninja Gaidens, and I have a copy of God Hand sitting around somewhere that I’ve only gotten to level 2 on so you may as well call me a liar. I did play the original Bayonetta, but only because it came (HEH. HEH HEH. HEH HEH HEH HEEHEHEHEHEHEhHEHEEHEHE HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GET IT!??!) with the 2nd. So I guess this post is from someone who doesn’t know shit about anything modern brawlers.

So I think the premise of the combat system is to give you a pile weapons and combos to mix and match and “stylishly” wipe out hordes of enemies? Sure, why not. I find the hundred jillion combos to be too overwhelming to the point that it sort of lends itself to button mashing. I guess they just want you to go nuts and let beginners feel like they’re wrecking shit? It’s frustrating because loading screens let you practice moves and combos and track how many times you’ve performed them, but since there’s so many it winds up being impractical for me to memorize them and work them into any sort of coherent strategy. Instead all those billion moves reduce down to timing dodges, using the special move to knock an enemy into the air when it’s convenient, drop-kicking them back to into the ground when it’s convenient, switching up weapons depending on what enemies I’m fighting and what the medal requirements are, and then just randomly spamming the shit out of punch and kick and watching animations happen. I will admit I’m enjoying myself, but there’s some depth missing that’s bugging me. Maybe if I were to really focus in on getting Pure Platinum on every level on the hardest difficulty that would change. I will also admit that it took me the entire first game plus up through chapter 9 in this one for me to finally realize to keep my FUCKING hand off the control stick when I want to lock a target on an enemy. I have this natural tendency to try and keep the control stick pointed in the direction of the enemy I’m attacking, and dodging and knocking the enemy around would cause the game to retarget nearby enemies and fuck up my attacks. So I could very easily just really suck at this game, brawlers, life. Also, my appreciation for weapons other than the swords has slowly grown over this game, since different hordes/Verses have different combo/time requirements, so in the levels I’ve replayed to try to get Pure Platinum I’ve had to make sure I don’t pick too powerful weapons and wind up with a low combo but also not too weak weapons so I don’t take too much time. But there’s still the problem of the button mashiness. As long as you can recognize enemy attacks and have good enough reflexes to dodge, there doesn’t seem (to me) any reason to favor any particular attacks or combos on various enemies.

Torture attacks still exist, but I honestly don’t use them that much. They don’t seem much changed from the first one. Instead, they give you a new UMBRAN CLIMAX ability that you can use as an alternative that makes every attack do SUPER wicked weaves until your magic runs out, and clobbering enemies across the screen is way more fun.

In both 1 and 2, it’s possible to more or less flub your way through the levels. You’ll die, but continues are unlimited, checkpoints are frequent, and you restart with full health. After playing through the first, I did get good enough that I really haven’t had to continue but a couple of times in the 2nd.

Visually, the game is a huge improvement over the first. I tried to find a screenshot of the opening of chapter 1 where you’re on the shore of giant town/temple with a big mountain in the background, but I guess everyone would rather take the world’s shittiest screenshots instead. You’ll just have to trust me that this game is packed with some really great vistas. Even better is that this game is almost non-stop Big Fucking Spectacles. Every single level has at least one really incredible sequence or boss fight that is completely over the top and insane. You can pretty much pick a Youtube video of any chapter at random and you’ll probably see something cool in it. Here’s one of the boss fight in chapter 4, it starts off in the middle of a cutscene (I spared you the boring parts) and then segues into the fight. Stay with it at least until the 14:30 mark, since that’s when the heaven and hell spirit animals get summoned to beat the shit out of each other in the background while you fight in the foreground. It looks AMAZING on a TV. Linked so you can see it in a larger player

If you thought cutscenes went on too long in the first one (and they did), this game still has the same problem. And oh god can they be torture. Every second that isn’t running with the Big Fucking Spectacle theme is boring unfunny unentertaining attempts at jokes, slapstick, and drama. It is god awful. This time around they replaced the horrible 4-year old with an equally horrible 9-year old Ali G combined with Gambit’s mutant power. EH, WOT IZZIT, LOVE? *playing cards* Here’s a video of the prologue cutscene. When you feel like dying, skip ahead to 6:30. That’s when the Bayonetta crane kicks a fighter jet into the sky and the video finally goes full retard and becomes watchable.

I haven’t tried the online multiplayer yet except with a CPU partner, but you just do battles against assorted bosses or enemies and it’s really fucking hard. There’s a low margin of error, but I guess it’s a convenient way to earn money. On the other hand, you might get paired up with someone who sucks and drags you down. I have no idea how the scoring system works at all. You play 6 rounds and I “lost” 5 out of 6, but then at the end I had almost double the points across the board as the CPU so I wound up being the overall winner. Huh?

Assorted thoughts I’m going to type out here instead of editing my post:

– there’s a couple of places with underwater combat and it’s universally terrible every time

– COSTUMES. The Nintendo themed ones are actually well done. Princess Peach (and I guess Daisy, since that one’s a pallete swap) is the best/funniest, but they all have some nice touches. With the Peach one, the wicked weaves are replaced with giant Bowser feet and fists, and halos are replaced with coins complete with appropriate sound effects. The Zelda one replaces the katana weapon with the master sword and halos with rupees. The Samus one replaces the panther dash with a morph ball that drops bombs when you jump, the butterfly double-jump is replaced with the screw attack, and your pistol with the arm cannon. The Star Fox one replaces your lip targeting reticle with the square reticle from Star Fox, guns with laser blasters, and I guess there’s a flying sequence I haven’t reached in the game yet that let’s you fly in the Arwing. Peach, Daisy, Samus, and Link costumes are available in Bayonetta 1, but for whatever reason they don’t have all of the same effects as in 2. The Bowser weaves, coins, rupees, and master sword are in 1, but not the Metroid stuff.

– The Bayonetta 1 port runs really well and at 60fps, but the visual difference between the 2 is striking

– In retrospect, Wonderful 101 is kind of a total conversion of Bayonetta. That game is all about brawling combat, you still have the same medal scoring system, it’s non-stop Big Fucking Spectacle, different weapons (in the form of heroes), crafting and similar special items, but it has a different camera perspective and control scheme. And some of what was done in Wonderful 101, like whole levels rupturing and exploding apart, shows up in Bayonetta 2.

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