Bayonetta 2 Preview

Wow… just wow. It’s possible that in the four and half years since the original game’s release you’ve forgotten the pure insanity that Bayonetta brought with it. It’s safe to say that within moments of its sequel starting you’ll remember.

It’s should really be no surprise that the game begins with Bayonetta, or Cereza if you prefer, doing her Christmas shopping with the foul mouthed hood Enzo. Actually that bit sounds vaguely normal, so it must have been the following moment, where Bayonetta kicks a jet fighter into the sky to stop it crashing into a toy shop, that I thought things were getting a bit crazy, or perhaps the point where an angel tastefully slices off Bayonetta’s ordinary clothes with a sword, allowing her to ‘suit up’. Yes that was it. You remember that her suit’s made from her own hair, right? It’s still best not to ask exactly where it all sprouts from.

– ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW –

One of the most interesting points about Bayonetta 2 is that without Nintendo it seemingly would never have seen the light of day. At first glance it’s nothing like what you’d expect them to associate with, bearing instead all the hallmarks of it’s developers Platinum  and Sega’s publishing heritage. I actually wondered whether some kind of witchcraft had caused my Wii U to metamorphose into a Dreamcast 2, as Sega’s style of blue skies and outrageous action came to the fore. However, this is an embattled Nintendo fighting it’s corner, so they’ve secured an exclusive title which is utterly different to the majority of their in-house output and immeasurably strengthened the Wii U’s software line-up for this year in the process.

Bayonetta 2 is a decidedly Japanese action game, and one that thankfully doesn’t seem to have tempered any of its character to become overly westernised, at least from this hands on with the first few levels. What we do have is a return to the world of the Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages, Paradiso and Inferno, and Bayonetta and her angelic foes. It’s clear that Platinum haven’t lost any of their sense of style, with the opening sections displaying an eye for action, comedy and fashion that frames their heroine perfectly. Bayonetta is sporting a new outfit, and a new haircut, though once the action kicks in, you’ll be hard pressed to notice as upside down, baby-faced angels of various sizes attempt to slaughter you with golden lances.

Unless your thumbs are particularly uncoordinated it’ll be you doing the majority of the slaughtering though. Bayonetta keeps all of its immediacy, with punches and kicks combining with gunfire and summons to create an endless combination of death and destruction. As with the original game anyone can pick up a pad and play, but the combat system rewards those willing to put the time into learning the correct combinations and timings.

Bayonetta 2-1

The Wii U exclusive features extend to a new touchscreen mode which essentially turn Bayonetta 2 into a graphically rich mobile title played on the gamepad. Killing angels and traversing the landscape with a stylus is certainly very accessible, and whilst it’s unlikely to be a gamer’s first choice it’s nice to see a studio putting some extra thought into the Wii U’s unique capabilities, particularly as a potential gateway from mobile to console titles.

Bayonetta provides a number of interesting ways to dispatch your foes, starting with the standard ‘Love In Blue’ twin guns which form an essential part of early combos. You can once again expand your armoury as you progress through the game by collecting golden LP’s and taking them to shopkeeper Ronin to turn into new weaponry. Early highlights include the insectile Kafka bow and the lethal Rakshasa twin blades which make Bayonetta’s acrobatics even more vicious. The game allows you to equip your weaponry to two separate equipment slots which you can then switch between on the fly allowing for even more creative methods of mystical murder.

Nintendo is still keeping the overarching story under wraps, though Bayonetta 2’s opening sees a summon go out of control, causing former adversary and fellow Umbran Witch Jeanne to be dragged down to Inferno, with Bayonetta then setting out in an attempt to bring her back. The universe is seemingly out of balance and it’s this which caused the fatal summon, all of which is perhaps related to the events of the first game which saw the conflict between the Umbra Witches and Lumen Sages maintain the balance between good and evil. One thing that is for certain is that Platinum have brought back a number of the memorable supporting characters from the first game, including Enzo, Luca and the stoic demon shopkeeper Ronin, which should keep fans of the original very happy.

Bayonetta 2-2

Thankfully, for those who haven’t had a chance to play the original Bayonetta, Nintendo have you covered by bundling the first title in with the sequel for free. It’s a promising move, especially when the series hasn’t previously appeared on a Nintendo console and had notable performance issues on PS3. If the port is of a high standard, and frankly the Wii U is clearly more than capable, it’ll make the Nintendo console the definitive place to enjoy the series. The fact that it’s a more thematically mature series as well is a huge boon to the console, and perhaps we’ll see Nintendo stepping in more frequently in this manner.

In my time with Bayonetta 2 it’s clear that Nintendo really could have something very special on their hands. The combat is tight, the graphics and animation are excellent and the story and characters are thus far fun and engaging. Alongside Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2 should be on every Wii U owner’s radar this autumn. Nintendo’s console may not be receiving many multiplatform titles this holiday season but its exclusives genuinely have the potential to make the system a must-have for gamers.

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

12 Comments

  1. The original was good but not system shifting good. Seems an odd decision to limit it to the Wii U. Nintendo are either paying them over the odds for the exclusive or Sega have finally gone full retard.

    • Everybody knows you never go full retard.

    • Not this again… Sega cancelled the game, Nintendo were willing to fund it. The game would not have been made without Nintendos aid.

    • I think the only reason why Sega is mentioned in the same breath as Bayonetta 2 is because they published the first game. I don’t know if they own the IP, but I don’t think they’ve had any involvement in the game’s development outside of that.

      My understanding is that Nintendo are simply the publisher for Bayonetta 2, with the same kind of relationship between them and Platinum as between any publisher and private developer. The only difference is that Nintendo will only publish it for their own platform. Without Nintendo’s involvement, this game would quite plainly not be getting made.

      • Sega have acted as an advisor for the title as apparently they own the franchise. Their logo pops up before Nintendo’s and Platinum’s at the start.

        Otherwise yes, from the sounds of it the game simply wouldn’t have happened – lucky Wii U owners!

      • The sequel wasn’t getting made because the original was awful on PS3 and didn’t sell well anywhere else.

        Soo.. uhm why does this even exist? Because Nintendo needed an exclusive, and cheap one at that, no other reason. It’s a sequel that no one bar rabid fans wanted.

  2. “One thing that is for certain is that Platinum have brought back a number of the memorable supporting characters from the first game, including Enzo, Luca and the stoic demon shopkeeper Ronin, which should keep fans of the original very happy.”

    Not really kept me very happy – It’s not on a console I can play it on!

  3. This is actually one game that may make me buy a WiiU.

    • So far it’s certainly very good – and if you enjoyed the first or are into Devil May Cry style titles it’s definitely worth considering.

  4. @tuffclub-I’m going purely from memory here but think reason PS3 original was awful was due to fact it was’nt done by same team as the 360 version and Platinum games took the flak so badly they made PS3 lead development platform for Vanquish.

    @Dominic:Wii was often refered to as Dreamcast II, so your not far off the mark in thinking Wii U could be more modern version of what sega were hoping to achive-mix of ‘powerful’, easy to code for hardware, with unquie selling points and games wise, focusing on fun in so many titles.

    I was never a fan of original, but nice to see Wii U getting a quality exclusive, makes for an ideal ‘2nd console’ for many out there.

  5. Once the new Zelda game is out, I’m snapping up a Wii U. Their exclusives are too much to resist now!

Comments are now closed for this post.