It’s been a long time since we last saw the controversial Bayonetta in action. Last E3 we got a small snippet of gameplay from Platinum Games, but the game has been mysteriously MIA since. Well, at E3 2014 Bayonetta returned in fashion in Bayonetta 2. The Wii U exclusive is the real deal, and Nintendo gave us an impressive hands-on look at the hack-and-slash title.
Bayonetta 2 is hands-down a Bayonetta game. No concession was made to get the fast-paced, hack-and-slash franchise onto the Wii U. There was cause for concern when Bayonetta 2 was first announced that the Wii U might not be able to handle such a game, but Platinum Games has done an amazing job on the console. The game played without a hitch and the framerate never dropped. Even when the screen was completely filled with enemies, giant bosses and flashy attacks, framerate held steady. A blessing as games like Bayonetta 2 require an excellent framerate because every split-second matters and can be the difference between success and game over. Nobody wants a repeat of the first Bayonetta on PS3.
The demo I played had Bayonetta running through an ancient city. She’s ambushed by angelic centaurs as she approaches a church, and this is where the fun begins. Combining fist, gun, and kick attacks alongside dodges and torture moves, I was quickly able to dispatch the enemies. From there I was instantly thrown into a boss fight against a very large enemy. Don’t freak out Bayonetta fans: bosses are still absurdly big, and there’ll probably be a boss the size of Jupiter and the Sun combined by the end of the game.
Gameplay is fast and fluid. Tapping the face buttons allows you to chain together wicked punch and kick combos. Tapping L to dodge at the right time sends Bayonetta into ‘Witch Time,’ slowing time down for a few seconds. When enemies are low on health, players have the option of using a finisher, which summons a torture device to finish them off. It’s bloody and awesome. New to the franchise is the Umbran Climax. Much like Rage of Sparta in God of War, the Umbran Climax gives Bayonetta tremendous strength for a short period of time.
Visually, the game looks the part. Besides the aforementioned framerate, environments and characters are pleasantly detailed, and the effects used for Bayonetta’s attacks and Witch Time are sublime. It doesn’t look as good as a next-gen hack-and-slash title like Ryse: Son of Rome, but it bests the first Bayonetta. However, it’s a lot more fun than games like Ryse: Son of Rome, and that matters more than graphics.
Speaking with a Nintendo representative, I was able to get some new information. Bayonetta 2 will support the Wii U Pro Controller as well as the Gamepad. Players who have a hard time with these types of games can opt to play on the touchscreen, which makes it much easier. Those who don’t want to play that way can easily disable the Gamepad’s touchscreen. Bayonetta 2 will be accessible to anyone, but will also be downright challenging for genre veterans.
Nintendo made Bayonetta fans happy when they announced that the first game will release alongside Bayonetta 2, and be completely free for those who pick up the sequel. I only got to test out the game briefly, but from what I saw, it looks as though the Wii U version will not be going down the PS3 route.
Bayonetta 2 is exactly what the Wii U needs. A Third-Party, M-Rated title that injects a sense of action and excitement into a console that desperately needs it. Mario and Zelda are great, but Wii U owners need something more than just the same old franchises. Bayonetta 2 fits that perfectly, and what I played has me excited to dust off my Wii U come October and take down some angels.