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Bayonetta 2 Review


See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 03/10/2015 at 12:00 PM by Matt McLennan

Bayonetta needs someone to play with, again.
RECOMMENDATION:

One of the finest third person brawlers released in recent memory. Comes with a free Wii U port of the first Bayonetta!

In the first ten minutes of the game, you are riding on top of a big fighter jet battling angels while a giant snake-like angel is flying around. The fight moves to a train against a grotesque angel with a whip arm, and then the demon you summoned goes berserk and sends your best friend to Inferno. This is just the start of a game full of great production values and stellar gameplay. It easily ranks as one of the best third person action games I’ve played since the original.

What makes Bayonetta 2 stand above other third person hack and slash titles is the sass and style of its titular main character. Platinum’s titular witch will spout one-liners within cutscenes and insults with sexual undertones towards her enemies. Bayonetta can equip a crazy assortment of weapons to her hands or heels, allowing for a wide variety of combo attacks. As with the last game, what keeps it out of button-masher territory is the element of Witch Time, where dodging an enemy attack at the right time will not only give you an edge in battle, but give you a slight score increase. Learning the different enemy cues and dodging attacks makes this game an absolute thrill ride, and the extra challenge of achieving Pure Platinum rank never gets boring.

A big flaw I noticed in the last game was that boss battles felt too long sometimes, even when Bayonetta was powered up. But now with a full magic bar, the Umbran Climax (essentially Bayonetta’s boss form from the first game), can be unleashed for crowd control. This makes the game feel more balanced and enjoyable since bosses no longer drag on.

Another big addition is the Tag Climax, an online mode where you and an online buddy can compete against each other in battles of your choosing after wagering Halos to increase the battle difficulty. There are six battles each, and the winner of each battle chooses a Verse Card of their own choosing and sets the Halo wager. This mode ran quite smoothly and was a ton of fun to play, but in order to fully enjoy the experience you have to play the story mode in order to unlock more battles.

There are still some minor problems that were not ironed over, but none too egregious. For example, the camera can still screw you over since some enemies don’t use sound cues to indicate where they are attacking from off-screen. Also, the optional touch screen controls, while interesting, are not suited for this type of gameplay since the action can get very hectic and fast. Finally, unless you are really used to playing Wii U games off-TV, playing this solely game with the Game Pad makes the action a little hard to see.

One step up from the original is the graphical design. There’s a stronger use of color in the environments and a diverse environmental design. Environments such as Noatun’s Venice-inspired locale and twisted and horrifying Inferno really make the levels interesting to look at and go through. The models for Bayonetta and the NPCs have a great visual flair to them, with the stand-outs being the angels and demons she fights. While there have been complaints about frame rate slowdown, I hardly noticed it.

There is also an improvement in the audio design. The battle music mostly uses the main theme song “Tomorrow Is Mine”, but it is far less ear-wormy then the last game’s attempts at making a J-Pop-sounding “Fly Me To The Moon.” The music tracks are varied depending on the setting or situation, and are never over-bearing. The voice acting is much more solid than in its predecessor, with outstanding performances from Hellena Taylor as Bayonetta and Mark Daugherty voicing new character Loki.

For a game that almost didn’t happen, Bayonetta 2 is a very solid sequel. With great gameplay, stellar production values and nice replay value, this is one of the best WiiU games of 2014. A definite buy!

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.

Side By Side - Bayonetta 1!


The biggest thing I noticed about this port is that it looks much better than the 360 release, without the visual hiccups that plagued that version. A second big difference is that Bayonetta can change into four Nintendo themed costumes from the get-go. While the Link and Samus costumes are great fanservice, the Peach and Daisy outfits might be a little off-putting since you are constantly seeing Bayonetta’s bare ass, but in return you get to summon giant Bowser fists and feet!

Unfortunately the visual improvements are given attention at the expense of gameplay improvements. None of those flaws were fixed, which is quite disappointing to me. For starters, there is still some input lag that occurs when enemies become enraged, and some of the Alfhiem challenge portals feel like an absolute chore to complete thanks to some of their handicaps and the still uncooperative camera. While Bee Media and Platinum Games went the extra mile to get this ported, I do wish they went the extra mile in fixing the lingering flaws.

At least it’s free though.


 

Comments

jgusw

03/11/2015 at 08:21 AM

I really have to get this game.

Alex-C25

03/11/2015 at 06:47 PM

Very solid review. I'm not gonna lie when I say I want to get Bayonetta 2 before Smash 4, since the original game was one I was very much interested but couldn't play because I didn't have a 360 or PS3. Just the original game on a console I own make it my top priority besides the good looking sequel.

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