Does Bayonetta 2 surpass the Umbran Climax heights of the original?
When the original Bayonetta arrived on the video game scene in 2009, Platinum games made history in advancing the action genre. Never before did an action video game allow for such an array of battle animations under the control of the user itself. The game was easy to pick up but difficult to master, and it\’s funny that in 2014 Platinum Games would be releasing a sequel with one of the biggest companies in the world that follow this philosophy in game design.
Bayonetta 2 is an expertly crafted game from a team that understands the action genre as a whole, but also understands video game design as a whole. Platinum Games invites gamers of all kind to come to the amusement park that is Bayonetta 2. You will be punching, kicking, shooting, slicing, slamming and whipping your way to victory in the most outlandish visuals you have laid eyes on in a video game. Bayonetta 2 is a game that appreciates the user for using everything the player has in their arsenal to win and rewards the player for being creative and skilled in their reaction speeds. Through each battle you encounter with enemies the game will rate the player based off the combo’s used, damage taken, and speed of battle. The higher your score the more gold coins you will receive which allows you to purchase new moves, weapons, costumes and accessories. As many of you might be aware of by now some of Bayonetta’s alternative costumes represent some of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises such as Link, Samus, Fox, and Peach. An additional way to earn gold coins is through a feature called “Tag Climax” where you are able to play online co-op in specific missions that can be found using “verse cards”.
What makes Bayonetta 2 stand out to all other action games in the industry is the implementation of fighting game mechanics into the gameplay. The concept of Bayonetta is to be a “stylish action game” according to Hideki Kamiya. In order to pull this off and actually feel like Bayonetta, the developers have painstakingly created hundreds of animations for Bayonetta to pull off depending on the button combinations used. This even translates to where you equip your weapons, as some can be attached to Bayonetta’s arms and legs which creates additional move sets.
If you never played Bayonetta, you might be thinking to yourself \”how can this game play like a fighting game but still be approachable for all types of gamers?\” The answer is in simplicity. In Bayonetta 2 you will be pulling off some of the most insane acrobatics ever seen in a video game, but that doesn’t mean that the button layout to pull off these incredible combos has to be difficult. A perfect example that I believe most Nintendo Enthusiast readers here would understand is the button layout of Super Smash Bros. is easy to pick up and play, but anyone coming face to face with a veteran Melee player would be left in the dust, amazed at what the veteran is able to pull off. The same analogy applies to Bayonetta 2 at its core. Shooting is with the Y button, punching is with the X button, and kicking is with the A button. In Bayonetta 2 you can pull off crazy combos with simple button presses such as X, X, X, A, A and feel satisfied as a player but still have the opportunity to grow as the game goes on.
An important feature the defines the Bayonetta series is “witch time”, which allows the user to go into a Matrix–esque slow down to perform powerful combos on an enemy. This is achieved by dodging an enemies attack at the exact moment before it lands by pressing ZR. This isn’t to say that Bayonetta hasn’t learned any new tricks. A new feature in Bayonetta 2 is called “Umbran Climax”, which allows her to summon her collection of demons to fight by her side under the players control. Summons used to be limited to finale finishing moves in the first but now when you build your magic bar to the top you can let all hell break loose.
An important aspect of Bayonetta 2 that propels it to become a classic is the pacing. Continuing the amusement park theme the pacing of Bayonetta 2 can be described as the world’s greatest roller coaster ride. In this game there is never a dull moment on Bayonetta’s quest to save her sister. The cutscenes no longer drag like they did in the original. The game knows exactly what you want, and it delivers every time. Not only are the set pieces in this game something to behold, but it’s amazing that they are able to change the feel and flow of the gameplay itself depending on what crazy situation Bayonetta has gotten her self into. You will not mind coming back to face your favorite bosses time and time again trying to get pure platinum rankings across the board.
Overall I cannot recommend Bayonetta 2 enough, this is a game that every Nintendo Enthusiast and gamer should have in their collection. This game is a technical achievement in game design and has the pacing of classic video games that have defined a generation such as Ocarina of Time and Resident Evil 4. Bayonetta looks great, sounds great, and plays great; the game is not half bad too. Without a doubt, this is the greatest action game of all time.