Everything you know about the previous Bayonetta has returned in full form, but with new additions that makes the experience even better.
The plot of Bayonetta 2 has much more presence than in the previous title, and it doesn’t take nearly as long to get started. While there are a few elements of the first Bayonetta’s plot that play into the sequel, you don’t need to play it in order to get the full enjoyment out of Bayonetta 2. On the other hand, Bayonetta 2’s plot doesn’t take nearly as long to get started, giving players an opportunity to be invested in the story.
Between the two, Bayonetta 2 is by far an easier title, and Bayonetta veterans may find themselves taking the difficulty up a notch or two. Mistakes are far more forgiving than in the previous title, but too many mistakes can land you down and out. If you find yourself struggling, you can pick up some helpful items, weapons, and accessories at the shop, Gates of Hell. You’ll probably find yourself using a few continues here and there, most players should be able to run through the game in around ten or twelve hours.
Almost every battle is visually stunning, and I never found myself getting tired of taking down enemies. Don’t worry about losing your place when battles become massive and climactic; the camera takes care to keep Bayonetta as the focus of the action, and enemies won’t surprise you with sudden off-camera moves. The quick-time events of the first title have mercifully disappeared, opting instead for the button-mashing mechanics from the torture attacks used when taking out smaller enemies. Some may see this replacement as making the boss fights too easy, but executing them feels far more satisfying.
Bayonetta’s combat system makes a return, but with a few tweaks. Witch Time is still a critical element of combat, but the window of opportunity is much larger than in Bayonetta. Anytime Witch Time is activated, time slows down around Bayonetta, allowing her to pummel her enemies with devastating combos. Players will be using far more Umbran Climaxes, or super-charged attacks, much more often. Most of the combat is set around your X and A buttons and when you press them mid-combo. As flashy as the combos look, they are incredibly easy to grasp. If you still feel like you need a bit more time to grasp Bayonetta’s combat, players can enter a practice mode between chapters in order to get a better handle on the timing.
Being a Wii U exclusive title, the team at Platinum Games has decided to make use of the touch screen. All movement, attacks, and dodges can be used via well-timed taps and swipes of the stylus. All of the controls work well, and with the game also being projected on the gamepad screen, you won’t have to worry about missing any of your movements, but given the chaotic and fast-paced nature of this game, I dropped the touch screen controls in favor of button presses almost immediately.
Something that may worry a lot of players is pacing. Both titles begin with a huge, elaborate, and action-packed fight sequence. While the opening is fun to play, I couldn’t help but wonder, “So how are they going to top this?” Fortunately, with the way Bayonetta 2’s combat is set up, the large fights don’t take away from the smaller scuffles. Giant boss fights litter the campaign, but are spaced out well enough so you won’t feel fatigue, with truly giant fights reserved for only a handful of times. Despite my worries, I walked away from the game’s final fight completely satisfied with the outcome.
Tag Climax, Bayonetta 2’s multiplayer mode, is a blast. You team up with a computer or another player to take on six rounds of enemy combat, and collect as many halos as you can. The difficulty in each round changes depending on how many halos you bet for the round. Though you are working together, you compete against each other for points, so you definitely better know your stuff if you want to be ready. You start out with only nine cards, and can unlock more throughout the main campaign. If partners are scarce, you won’t have to wait around in a lobby; the game offers a CPU partner until you get a request to join up. Oddly, Tag Climax does not support couch co-op, which is something people associate with Wii U titles.
Pound-for-pound, Bayonetta 2 is a better title than its predecessor. The combat, the humor, the giant battles; everything is there, but better than before. Combinations are elaborate and flashy, but easy to understand and rewarding when executed correctly. The game’s visuals are stunning, particularly the enemies’ designs. For Bayonetta veterans and newcomers alike, Bayonetta 2 is a sequel I whole-heartedly recommend you add to your Wii U collection.