Bayonetta 2 Review (Japan Version)


I’ve been playing a whole lot of Bayonetta 2 over the past few weeks without prior experience with the series, but with heavy amounts of hype running up to its release I was expecting big delicious things from the game. Handily, Nintendo included the original Bayonetta in with the package so that after having stormed through the sequel as quickly as possible, I had the time to go back and work out what in the hell was going on, then play the sequel again for clarity. I must say it was good; very good.

Firstly, I wanted to address the whole Nintendo exclusivity thing. I want to first announce that overall I am a fan of Nintendo. While they do have a tendency of being a bit dickish, messing around with people on YouTube who review their content (i.e. me), and releasing completed games in Japan first for no apparent reason etc, I sort of forgive all of this because over all they make bloody fun games. Bayonetta 2 is certainly no exception to this. While yes, the graphics aren’t what they could be on a next gen console, and there are a few frame rate drops when the screen gets too cluttered, overall I don’t think it detracted too much from my gaming experience. Without Nintendo there wouldn’t be a Bayonetta 2 at all, so you can’t fault Nintendo for that.

Nintendo also offered something else up in compensation for the less-than-flawless technology: unashamed fan service waiting to pleasure Nintendo fans on bended knee. While Bayonetta costumes have always been fun, this new releases gives players the option between Fox McCloud, Link, Princess Peach, Daisy and Samus costumes, opening up a whole new world of visual pleasure to unlock. Each costume is less of a skin and more a whole new way to play, with varied forms, halos and attacks. I think most important, of all playable costumes, is either the Arwing complete with SNES pew pew sounds or the Chain Chomp weapon complete with Mario hat and moustache. While it all doesn’t enhance very much in terms of game play, it’s certainly enough to leave the most casual Nintendo fan with moist under garments.

What I can fault Nintendo for is its attempts to make the touch screen controls happen. While the WiiU version of Bayonetta offers touch screen controls, which only comes with the singular achievement unlocked when you tap Bayonetta 10 times during cut scenes, it all feels laboured, much like how they tried to push the use of the frustrating Wii wheel in Mario Kart by giving die hard fans a tiny gold wheel next to their name. Thanks Nintendo, but I’ll continue playing this game without trying to figure out which part of the screen denotes “forward.”

Without giving much of the plot away, Bayonetta 2’s story is just as much of a Charlie Foxtrot as the original storyline. It took me playing the original game, reading the wiki, replaying the game several times and numerous explanatory comments from my YouTube viewers to work it all out. While Jeanne’s soul being sucked into the Inferno and Bayonetta having 24 hours to save her was a simple enough concept the grasp; as soon as she lands in Noatun the city leading to the Gates of Hell, the story goes off on about 100 tangents. Some of them include time travel, people seemingly coming back to life, people who are someone but also not them, and children who are also adults, all of which you have every right to be confused. The amount of time Fimbulvintur is enough to make your head explode without even fully understanding what Fimbulvintur really is; except that people want to go there, and other people want to prevent people from going there.

This confusion flows over into the game play. While being someone that likes to have 100% completion of things means that I can get a whole lot out of a game, which requires several playthroughs to fully grasp the story, plus discover the many secrets that there are left to uncover (some of the hidden verses seem downright annoying to find). You can spend forever searching around a level for a hidden verse only to find that you have to trigger a cut scene much later in the level, then track all the way back to the beginning in order to trigger that hidden verse. Smooth move, Platinum. However, this isn’t as frustrating as their choice to put the game play time at the end of each chapter.

Bayonetta 2 much like the original often feels more like a movie than a game. The cutscenes, while detailed and entertaining, drag sometimes for 10 -15 minutes at a time. When you get to the end of a chapter and see the time you were in charge of the game is somewhere near the 7-8 minute mark, and that in reality you have lost almost an hour of your time you can’t help but feel a little robbed. Some reviewers have been claiming that the sequel is longer than the original but I believe this is a clever developer trick. When you add up all the actual game play minutes  you are probably playing for a shorter amount of time overall, but, in my opinion, those minutes are of a higher quality.

That is apart from the finale. While when playing the original epilogue I did want to ram my face repeatedly against a wall, Bayonetta 2’s finale felt a little passionless and lack lustre by comparison. Don’t get me wrong, it is still epic, but the gameplay isn’t particularly varied and I only realised that this must be the final boss battle by the sheer amount of health bars on display. It felt more like the final battle with Jeanne from the original, than the epic finale everyone had been waiting so long for.


Despite my reservations, Bayonetta 2 is a good game. A very good game. Not life changing, by any stretch, but certainly a whole lot of fun. If you are not someone who likes getting 100% or discovering a games secrets then maybe leave this one on the shelf, and for a game which borrows and improves upon so much of the original if you didn’t like that one you probably won’t like this one much either. On the other hand, if you like adventure, RPG, games with achievements based on skill level, and interesting storylines then give it a go. Maybe it wasn’t the sequel we were all waiting for, but it is definitely pretty damn incredible.

Look for our English version review near the end of the month, which will include our final score.