Bayonetta 2 Review (Wii U).

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The first Bayonetta game made quite a splash upon its January 2010 release, being one of the games that introduced Japanese developer Platinum Games to many gamers, often for the first time. The action packed over the top third-person beat em up gained a great detail of praise and deservingly so. That said, it wasn't without it's shortcomings and flaws and with a sequel rumoured/dismissed for years, fans felt we might never get to see the continuation of Bayonetta and her ridiculously awesome killer hair. Thankfully Nintendo came to the rescue. Bayonetta 2 is exclusive to Nintendo's Wii U and for an understandable reason, with the news that Sega had decided to drop support for Bayonetta 2's development we worried the much anticipated sequel might never see the light of day.

Riding atop a jet fighter, nothing unusual there then.
Riding atop a jet fighter, nothing unusual there then.

Whilst the original Bayonetta was much loved, it was far from a massive seller and went somewhat under the radar. Those that appreciated its precise combat system, insane action set-pieces and most importantly of all its unique style were obviously happy to hear development was still going ahead, even if it did mean exclusivity to Nintendo's struggling home console. Its a good thing then that the investment and faith to keep the development rolling along as returned not just one of the best Wii U games to date, but one of the best games in recent years. Bayonetta 2 is simply splendid.

In many ways Bayonetta 2 feels like an evolutionary step forward from the fundamentals laid down in the 2010 original. It certainly feels familiar (especially if you've just played the Bayonetta re-release on the Wii U, launching simultaneously with its sequel) and that's a good thing, as there wasn't a whole lot wrong with how Bayonetta played. Instead Platinum Games turned the volume up to eleven and refined a great deal of the overall structure to the game. Make no doubt about it, this is some of the best beat-em up action on any system to date and for me personally can only be equaled by the equally superb Ninja Theory developed Devil May Cry. Action constantly feels responsive and fair, resulting in moments that are as exciting to watch as they are to play and a story that doesn't linger or outlast its welcome.

Fighting atop a jet fighter, now your just showing off Bayonetta.
Fighting atop a jet fighter, now your just showing off Bayonetta.

If there's any real knock against the controls, it'd be the fact that using the larger Wii U gamepad feels clumsy and tiresome for a game that requires such perfectly timed button hits, while you can of course play Bayonetta 2 this way, I'd recommend folks look into getting the Wii U Pro Controller if they don't already own one. Other than that everything else performs just as brilliantly as you'd expect. One thing to note in regards to the Wii U gamepad is the new touch screen controls which basically act as an easy combo mode for those looking for a slightly less difficult introduction to beat-em ups. Both Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 feature touch controls and they work reasonably well, though obviously you'll only want to rely on this if you're not willing to learn the superb combat Bayonetta as to offer and you really should learn that superb combat.

Bayonetta still finds herself fighting all manner of creatures from the familiar angels to the intimidating demons and a great deal more. One of Bayonetta 2's real strengths lies in how varied the enemies are that you'll face up against. Whilst the original 2010 release may have feature only a selection of enemies and bosses, Bayonetta 2 is continuously throwing new and exciting monsters to fight and enormous bosses to figure out and destroy. It results in an experience that never feels boring and keeps you on the edge of your seat. There's even a selection of extra combat bonus rooms to tackle throughout the world which upon completion can earn you some useful rewards. Mastering combat in Bayonetta 2 is essential, but it's also so damn fun, especially with the new selection of weapons introduced, all of which provide new combos and tactics in battle. You know when combat mechanics are the real star of the show when you find yourself watching a cutscene eagerly waiting in anticipation when the action starts up again, it's just that good. Though the ability to remove all cutscenes from your second, third or fourth playthrough would be nice, you can skip them but it can be a bit of a nauseous to do so.

Not sure I'd want Odin delivering me presents as Christmas.
Not sure I'd want Odin delivering me presents as Christmas.

An online Tag Climax mode has been added to, teaming you up with another player, friend or computer controlled player to tackle 6 verses (chapters) chosen through the use of cards which are unlocked through the single player campaign. Players can even bet Halos, Bayonetta's currency to see if they can earn a better rank than their opponent, which they can then spend on the large selection of unlocks, techniques and other goodies found in Odin's Gates of Hell. Speaking of unlocks you'll find some fantastic additions, from Nintendo costumes which drastically alter not just the visual appearance of Bayonetta and friends but also affect in-game mechanics. Seeing Bayonetta dressed up as Samus, rolling into a ball with the added ability to drop bombs is a charm that never went away through my playtime. Plus the fact that costumes don't disappear in cutscenes makes investing your time to get them all that little more worthwhile, especially considering they can be worth a good amount of halos.

I could go on and on about Bayonetta 2, but I'd probably do it a disservice to ramble on about one of the best beat-em ups I've played. As a fan of the original it's everything I'd hoped for and more, building upon what were already solid foundations. Nintendo's decision to back the development of Bayonetta 2 has been proven to be a smart one, yes it might not make the millions like some franchises out there, but I seriously think that come ten years time it's games like Bayonetta 2 that will be remember the most fondly by gamers. I only hope that Bayonetta's latest adventure is not her last. If you own a Wii U, you owe it yourself to check out this simply splendid game.

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