It’s a sad fact that some gaming gems simply get lost or overlooked in the end of the year flurry of blockbuster releases. Such was the fate of Bayonetta 2, which was nonetheless one of finest recent action adventure titles.
While Bayonetta was first released on the Xbox 360 and PS3, its sequel was snapped up by Nintendo as a Wii U exclusive. This had the unfortunate byproduct of making it more likely that the game would be missed by those who have shunned Nintendo’s console in favour of the flashier next gen ones. However, if you didn’t have enough of a reason to seriously consider the Wii U before, Bayonetta makes a compelling argument to do so now.
Suddenly, the really cheap price of their airtickets, and security allowing them to carry their guns through the boarding gate, started making a lot of sense.
As with its predecessor the story is as convoluted as they come, but in essence, Bayonetta’s battles are motivated by having to trudge into Hell to rescue her friend and fellow witch, Jeanne.
Alas, as beautiful as they are as babies, she finally realised why you the Coven discouraged keeping a fire breathing demon dragon as a pet - forget one feeding and you risk becoming a S'More.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
The story doesn’t really matter too much though, because actually playing Bayonetta 2 is a joy, thanks to the highly entertaining combat. If endless combinations of kicking, punching, slicing and dicing and blasting foes with with an array of weapons wasn’t enough, Bayonetta’s spiky cropped hair, which transforms into a skintight bodysuit, becomes a weapon in its own right.
This can, at opportune moments, be unleashed to summon massive, fearsome alter-demons to do Bayonetta’s bidding. Furthermore, filling up your magic gauge also enables Bayonetta to conjure wicked medieval torture contraptions to gruesomely finish off foes.
It was then that it dawned on Pierre that becoming the personal hairdresser to a witch possibly wasn't the safest career choice.
Bayonetta lithely and lethally turns dealing death and mayhem into a graceful dance, and makes handling many of the huge, detailed and utterly bizarre enemies a sight to behold. However, the real genius of the game’s combat is Witch Time. As in the first game, this is activated by dodging your enemy’s attacks at just the right time, turns the screen briefly purple and slows down time around Bayonetta, giving her a distinct advantage. The rub is that you actually have to purposefully make yourself a target, which adds an additional element of edge of your seat anticipation to combat.
On second thought, perhaps teasing the Hydra about its obsessive compulsive flossing wasn't the best idea.
If you were hoping that Platinum Games would have dialed down on Bayonetta’s hypersexualisation, you are going to be disappointed. The camera still acts like a 15-year old adolescent in the throes of puberty, and often seems to be lasciviously obsessed with fanservice. This alas, does get tired really quickly, particularly if you find this obsessive leering crass.
Additionally, the writing does at times dip towards the puerile, although thankfully, never quite becoming unbearable. Despite this, Bayonetta 2 is a superlative action game, and manages to even surpass the original. It’s small flaws aside, in many respects it’s not just a trump card for the console, it’s also a triumph in the genre. RRP: R600.
The Best Bit
Utterly insane combat, the game’s bizarre and exquisitely detailed angelic enemies.