I didn’t get a chance to actually play Bayonetta 2 at E3 2014 this year, but I did see a good chunk of the demo while standing in line. I really wanted to try it out but I just couldn’t find the time to get around to it. Even so, I finally got a hands-on demo for myself recently, and let me just say this game is beautiful. PlatinumGames has really outdone themselves on their stylish effects this time, and though Hideki Kamiya isn’t at the helm (he’s supervising), the game still looks amazing, and it plays great too. Just what you’d expect from the guys that brought us titles like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Vanquish.
Over the course of the demo, I witnessed great water splashing effects, beautiful lighting, and awesome particle effects. One such moment was when Bayonetta (real name Cereza) was inside a large, somewhat dilapidated church. Pools of water were abundant and the stained glass window colors reflected on the water and the floors. Each step taken sprouts a flurry of purple butterflies and each defeated enemy is carefully crafted with a bloody display before exploding into golden rings. The game is much more colorful this time around and this makes it even easier to spot the brilliant displays all over the environment. The game oozes style and finesse and the action is plentiful as Bayonetta retains her fast and frenetic combo attacks from the first game. You’ll also shift gravity to other planes as you traverse the environments, ending up walking on walls and other structures as you do various platforming and exploring in this colorful world.
Just from the demo, I found that I fought better with Bayonetta’s blades rather than her guns, as hitting the R button would change weapons. Most of the controls remain similar to the previous game, and it retains the Devil May Cry style gameplay we’re used to. The loading screens before missions still let you practice your attacks and combos, and the game still has the suggestive dialogue and clever quips that Bayonetta fans would be used to. You still run through the levels and do various parts in segments, being graded on your performance based on your combos, how much damage you receive, and how long it takes you to finish. The ratings are given to you in a series of medals, Stone being the worst to Pure Platinum being the best.
I have to admit that I only played the first one a little bit, so it took me a bit to get into the combat again and I’m glad that Bayonetta 2 will come with the first game as well, as it would be the perfect way for me to get into the series. Even so, despite the combat taking a bit to get into, I was still admiring the beauty of the game. Bayonetta 2 was announced pretty early on for the Wii U, and it’s easy to see why it’s taking so long. Every bit of the gameplay moves smoothly and is filled with life and energy. Bayonetta still delivers devastating finishing moves as well, and it changes when using the weapons of your enemies. One instance, Bayonetta is pole dancing around a spear she picked up, and another she’s using her hair based witchcraft to hang enemies and rip them apart in a colorful display of blood and special effects. And for the people that played the first one, Bayonetta still has her infamous climax moves, as well as her Megaton attacks.
Outside of the combat, we have cutscenes that progress the plot and show more of the snarky dialogue from the infamous witch. In the demo, we’re introduced to a new character Loki, who reminds us of Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh (complete with Millenium Puzzle and cards), though with a completely different personality, as he takes no shame in being rude to Bayonetta upon meeting her. With a foul mouth and a short temper, Loki takes no time getting into trouble to progress the action. Most of the cutscenes display in-engine and show off a lot of cinematic flair, though there was one exchange in particular where Bayonetta and Loki were fighting in a series of still frames, with awkward pauses and odd actions. It was a bit jarring and I don’t remember the ones in the first Bayonetta being this unusual. Maybe it was just this one time, and even so, the way it was done was still pretty stylish, as hands of a clock would wipe to the next transition. Many of the in-game cutscenes would be used to introduce a miniboss or boss fight, which would pit Bayonetta against large monsters and mysterious foes alike, one of which was a headless giant with his head on his sword’s handle.
Many of the minibosses are typically larger than Bayonetta, but also slower, so you’ll get many attacks in on them and hit their various weak points until you build up to your climax. Using the L button unleashes the Umbran Climax and releases powerful attacks from dimensional rifts, usually in the form of giant legs or arms made of hair, or even entire creatures that would perform brutal finishing moves on the enemy. Unfortunately, I ran out of time during my demo so I wasn’t able to fight the Masked Lumen Sage in the final stage, but from what I did play, I was excited to play more so I could get a chance to get comfortable with the combat. With fabulous details and effects and fast-paced action, Bayonetta 2 seems like it will be a strong entry in the Wii U’s library, and the fact that it comes with an enhanced version of the first game makes it a great deal for anyone. Bayonetta 2 comes exclusively to the Wii U on October 24th with an MRSP of $59.99, in both physical and downloadable versions.