First Impressions: Bayonetta 2


Thanks to an invitation from Nintendo of Canada, I was able to attend a Nintendo Post-E3 preview event recently and get my hands on several of the company’s upcoming first, second and third-party video games for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS. Each day, I will be recapping my first impressions on several of the games I got the privilege to check out and post them here on GameSided. Enjoy!

I’ve been a great fan of Hideki Kamiya for quite some time. He directed Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe and Okami, which instantly puts him into any respectable person’s Top 10 game director list on those alone. Somehow, however, I did manage to let the original Bayonetta slip my grasp when it first came out. As an observer of video materials, I could see why it gathered a strong cult following; it was a hardcore character action experience paired with a strong, sexy heroine whose powers and clothing are fueled by her magical hair. It didn’t sell like gangbusters, but whoever liked it absolutely adored the game.

It was a big deal with it was first announced that Nintendo partnered with Platinum Games in order to publish Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive. It divided the fanbase between those grateful to hear that a sequel will live to see the light of day and those who were vehemently opposed to either Sony or Microsoft’s consoles getting barred from the experience. The important part is that Bayonetta 2 exists, and when being handed the controller to play the game for the first time, all other trivial banalities surrounding its development fell to the wayside.

Continuing the trend from yesterday playing Super Smash Bros on the Wii UBayonetta 2 runs at 60 FPS. This is crucial for a character action game, where pooling together hits, AoE, combos and dodging attacks is crucial not only to score, but to survival on higher difficulty settings. Unfortunately, the game did stutter through some cutscenes as it switched to a more “cinematic” 30 FPS, with minimal tearing, however this may be holdouts from an old demo that I’ve only had the chance to play recently. Either way, during gameplay segments, everything seemed smooth. That’s the important part.

The Wii U needs hardcore games that are attractive to the young adult-maturing adult demographic, especially with a lack of 3rd party support. It won’t be through brown-and-bloom, but from the enigmatic artistic style of titles like Bayonetta 2.

My time playing Bayonetta 2 was mainly spent taking down the “Devourer of the Divine: Gomorrah.” Formerly a summon in the original Bayonetta, here I was taking the giant beast down over several segments against all odds, as well as fighting some angelic creatures. Due to the fact that the game will utilize the Wii U GamePad, there will be a controller scheme option that uses touch controls in order to chain combos, as well as perform other actions. This is completely optional, but will definitely help newcomers get into the genre that may otherwise be intimidated by the difficult amount of buttons and combinations required to pull off elite play.

New to the game is Bayonetta’s Umbran Climax technique; just another of many examples within Bayonetta 2 of Platinum Games getting the word “climax” into a key gameplay mechanic. Dodging attacks, not taking damage and scoring big point chains will unlock the temporary boost, allowing our femme fatale to summon demons and harness power from the magic gauge. Not only does it improve damage, but further extends the reach of Bayonetta’s attacks.

What I could immediately gather from playing Bayonetta 2 for the first time, immediately after putting the controller down, was how succinct and deliberate the level I had played was. There was a lot going on in the background; you’re on a high-speed jet for a great deal of the level as you and Jeanne are fighting off angels that interrupt a city parade. However, the linearity of the level, despite moving around from small arena to small arena, allowed the player the opportunity to focus on the combat. The level’s story was intriguing enough, especially with a demon summoning gone wrong, but more than ever I felt Bayonetta 2 benefitted from streamlining the events and having the player adapt.

Due to the fact I was just playing the demo from E3, with the game finishing up its development, I wasn’t able to experience the quick matches or the Tag Climax, as the two-player online co-op would have been a great feature to test in a perfect world. However, from what I’ve seen in footage of Bayonetta and its gameplay/story style, the newest addition to the series was treated with the upmost respect from new director Yusuke Hashimoto. Bayonetta 2 may not be a Kamiya joint any more, but my time with the game indicated to me that the newest venture is in more than capable hands.

More from Previews

Platinum Games has seemed to carve perfection when it comes to the realm of the hack-and-slash action game recently, especially when it comes to Wii U. Wonderful 101 was a great example, despite the overall lack of consumer interest. The Wii U needs hardcore games that are attractive to the young adult-maturing adult demographic, especially with a lack of 3rd party support. It won’t be through brown-and-bloom, but from the enigmatic artistic style of titles like Bayonetta 2.

Who knows if the character action experience will hold up over the entire game’s length. The framerate and screen-tearing issues within cutscenes could be cause for concern, but hopefully are just concessions made to create a vertical slice for the public, as it would do a great deal of disservice to the otherwise silky smooth character movements. Overall, I’m glad to see that Nintendo summoned the courage to dig up Bayonetta 2 from the grave, and can’t wait to see what’s in store when the game is released on the Wii U this October.


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