News Article

Preview: Exploring Black Magic in Bayonetta 2

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A climax worth waiting for

When Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime revealed Bayonetta 2 at the Wii U's launch date announcement festivities, we suspect he did so with a mischievous glint in his eye. No doubt the anguished cries and wails of those that actually bought the original were expected, and Nintendo was also showing that it wasn't afraid to dip into a little mature extravagance. Despite the original being only a modest sales success, prompting Sega to step back from funding the sequel on its own, we're in the fortunate position that the game is still being made.

The opening to this sequel certainly has a redemptive approach, with Platinum Games wasting no time in throwing its arms up and saying "here it is, there's no stopping us now". Within seconds two misconceptions are quashed. This title has lost none of its edginess and borderline tasteless storytelling despite a switch of director, with Hideki Kamiya serving as a consultant. Nor has Nintendo's role as publisher softened its approach; our heroine may have a new haircut, but she still prances around in a semi-naked state during battle and throws in more sexual innuendo than any teenager could possibly desire. Within minutes the fat Italian-American parody Enzo has already dropped quite a few F-Bombs, while Bayonetta is stripping, riding a horse suggestively and whipping enemies as a "torture" move.

If any of that offends you, or you're worried that your parents may walk in on you playing the game and disapprove, then you're likely either not of legal age or won't be interested in this title anyway. The swearing part of proceedings does tone down — it's not gratuitous — though the flirty, provocative nature of Bayonetta remains. It's even been argued recently in The Guardian that our heroine is representative of a strong female character, as she aggressively controls and imposes her sexuality on those around her, while the other argument is that she's really just a fantasy character to excite male gamers. Alternatively, you may think this is all bunkum, and that you just want to play a fun, ridiculous game; in other words, let's talk about the damn game.

What's immediately striking right from the off is how visually arresting Bayonetta 2 is. While cutscenes are about par for the course, the in-game visuals and action scenes look terrific; it's a triumph of art design and well-used resources, and some sequences wouldn't look terribly out of place on Nintendo's most powerful rival systems. Some potential Nintendo influence is perhaps found in the brighter, more vibrant colour palette, meanwhile, replacing the darker approach of its predecessor. In the opening stages alone there are some stunning moments, with fantastic environments such as New York and a mountainside town with influences of Italian architecture. None of this should be a surprise, especially as Platinum showed its ability to maximise the Wii U hardware, graphically, with some particularly lovely moments in The Wonderful 101.

Most importantly for a high-intensity action game this serves up a solid framerate, with most vital moments rocking along near or at 60fps, and certainly never dipping too low; this is in marked contrast to the PS3 version of Bayonetta, though the Xbox 360 version was smoother. Quick reactions and rapid movement are fundamental to both success and enjoyment, as you jump between enemies and string together ludicrous combos, so it's clear that performance was placed high in the list of priorities. Combine the attractive graphics engine with this solid framerate, and we're immediately off to a good start.

Bayonetta's move-set remains as primarily melee combat, naturally, though there is scope for a different approach with a range of weapons. The trademark weapons set is guns, one in each hand and embedded in some daunting heels, though the shooting aspect is limited in favour of close combat. With progress you unlock additional weapons such as powerful swords and one item that's actually suited to more powerful ranged attacks; two customisable equipment sets allow you to experiment with mixing weapons between hands and feet or, more sensibly, buying a second weapon to that you unlocked to complete a set. Even in the early stages the new weapons can switch up how you play, something that will surely only expand greatly with progress, and mastering combos in the Training area for different weapon sets is a fun diversion in its own right.

It's to Platinum Games' credit that the controls for a relatively complex system feel instinctive, too. While stylus controls are indeed a factor, the physical inputs feel natural and add to the visceral thrill of the action — the punch and kick buttons (X and A) will be tapped most frequently, while Y is utilised when picking up and using temporary weapons obtained from enemies. Dodging with ZR works nicely and is vital for success, not only for staying alive but also activating Witch Time to temporarily slow down time. Charging a gauge with successful combos also opens up the Umbran Climax, a short period of time in which you wield enormous punches and kicks normally only briefly seen at the conclusion of a successful combo.

This adds a welcome layer of depth for skilled players in particular, as rapidly charging the gauge allows quicker clearing out of enemies and the likelihood of a better rating. With medals dished out after each set-piece — with Pure Platinum naturally being the pinnacle — and an overall award at the end with accompanying halos (currency), there's plenty of incentive to master the mechanics and even replay levels; three difficulty levels are also included, and we've been enjoying the middle setting, which is challenging but not overly difficult; there's scope to chop and change difficulty settings between stages, which accommodates any player while not removing that hardcore aspect for those up to the test.

Our time with the title so far has revealed two key points; firstly, there's plenty of depth and content on offer that we've barely touched upon or are forbidden from doing so, which bodes well. The second is that the experience is raucously fun so far; there's an almost childish approach to the design in Bayonetta 2, where no scenario or boss encounter is too outrageous for inclusion. Daunting scale and grandeur quickly become the norm, and even if you struggle to keep up with the slightly baffling storyline and mythos — you're a witch fighting angels, after all — it barely seems relevant; pretty cutscenes simply lead to more crazy combat, enormous face offs, entertaining and brief button mashing QTEs (quick-time events), gravity defying or opportunities to run around as a panther. It's tightly woven craziness.

This title may have taken two years to arrive since its announcement, but that time seems to have been well spent. Platinum Games cares about this project, whether the mainstream retail market does or not; that shines through. If you like impressive, fast-paced action with a hint of insanity, this should be near the top of your Wii U shortlist.

Let us know whether you're excited about Bayonetta 2, while below is a highlights video from "Prologue – World of Chaos" — there's no story in the footage, just gameplay, but don't watch if you'd rather it weren't spoiled in any way. The title is due for release in North America and Europe in October.

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User Comments (89)



BigH88 said:

Man, people better buy this game. But they're idiots who aren't because they really think its still going multi. Sad.



larry_koopa said:

I just hope that this game doesn't freeze constantly like every other third party game that I've ever played on the Wii U. Hopefully the fact that this is a Wii U exclusive and was built from the ground up on the platform will eliminate that problem.

Don't even get me started on the Wii U versions of Need for Speed Most Wanted or Assassin's Creed III...



MrGawain said:

Definetly my most wanted game since W101. Are we going to get a release date at Gamescom?



Ralek85 said:

It'll be interesting to see, how good a game of this type will fare with the current Nintendo core audience, the WiiU owner.
Considering that the P* games didn't do that well, with the I'd say more action/hardcore-savy crowd of the PS3/X360, I don't have high hopes for this, sales wise.
On the other hand, maybe the lack of alternatives will play into it's hand. We'll see ...
Personally, I totally loved Vanquished, one of may favourite action games ever, but I never really got into those fast 3rd-person hack'n'slash-y games. I think I will give it a shoot though at some point, especially since Bayonetta 1 is included, which was a technical mess on the PS3.



larry_koopa said:

To my first point all I'm saying is that this game looks fantastic and it'd be a shame if its performance took away from the experience. Need for Speed Most Wanted is borderline un-playable on the Wii U... it once froze on me 4 times within 5 minutes.



BigH88 said:

@Diddy_kong Only third party game that I've had freeze on me was splinter cell blacklist. Still mad they didn't fix the online on that. But hey ubisoft might pull an activision and fix it in another year.



MrGawain said:


From all reports it's a very solid game- I doubt Nintendo would allow it to be otherwise, seeing it took so long to make.


Darksiders 2 did freeze on me a quite few times, and I think Arkham Origins did once or twice. Stll enjoyed them though.



Grumblevolcano said:

I'm looking forward to this though trying it out at EGX London will finalise my choice between this and Fantasia Music Evolved for 360 (I will have both but one will be bought post-launch).

Regarding how well it'll do I believe is mainly dependent on release date compared to Smash. Late October for this and early November for Smash would completely destroy sales.

@MrGawain At least Arkham Origins for Wii U didn't have unfixed save corruption bugs like all other versions of the game.



heyzeus002 said:

For the first time ever, I bought a nintendo console primarily for a non nintendo game and this was it. CAN NOT WAIT. This is going to be indescribably awesome. The fact they are throwing in the first game is just icing on the already gratuitously rich cake..



S3OL said:

Definitely a first day purchase for me as the original Bayonetta was so great, I played it through 4 times in a row. Simply amazing.

Tons of replay value and fast paced actions. You'd be stupid not to get this.



Jazzer94 said:

Playing this recently was awesome the game is very fast paced and fluid and beautiful.
@Diddy_kong I've never had that problem with NFS:MW.



WilliamK said:

Well, so far I had 3 problems with the Lego Batman2 game, but not from the other games I have. As about this game, I don't fancy this kind of combat game, but I will be honest, I'm very inclined on getting this since it looks sooo goood. I just hope I can disable some stuff that I don't like.



Spoony_Tech said:

I want it, I just don't need it day one sadly. I say sadly because I won't be helping with sales if I wait till it's much cheap down the road. Hyrule Warriors is far to similar to me and I'd rather have that honestly.



RantingThespian said:

I never played the first one . . . yet I am buying this game immediately when it comes out. And I'm not some chauvinist or macho guy. I'm actually pretty feminine, and tend to shy away from very violent games (with exception to Quake and James Bond games like Goldeneye). However, this game just looks to be so much fun! I gotta try it and I also gotta support these guys.



Nintenjoe64 said:

If the the over the top action is as funny as W101 I will enjoy this game.

@Diddy_kong Check your NFS disc isn't dirty or scratched, I had a serious crashing problem with FIFA and it turned out someone got kebab grease on the disc. I think NFS and all my other games have always run fine for me. Having said that, I sold Sonic Racing because it was unplayable on certain multiplayer configurations. I never completed a 3 or 4 player race due to persistent crashing. I also get lots of 'non-starts' with my Wii U since the quick start thing was added.



erv said:

This game is one of the bigger reasons I'm not sure whether or not to buy hyrule warriors in its launch window. You know, with smash being a must, there's only so much time and money to spend soon:)



Luna-Harmony said:

Yes yes yes very excited i own Bayonetta 1 on ps3 the climax edition.
I just hope we get the Limited Edition with 2 discs's here in the UK as i love Bayonetta.



BrownGamer4 said:

Day one for me, I hope that Ninty wises up and just adds Platinum as an in house studio...



BossBattles said:

It's too bad that there are not more true action games like bayonetta. Gamers are more interested in other genres because they require very little from them.



Nintenjoe64 said:

Do we actually know the state of play regarding the bonus inclusion of Bayonetta 1 in EU?

I'm sure it was confirmed but will it be download only or will there be a 2 disc edition? I think I would prefer discs but not sure.



IxC said:


I don't think we have a definitive answer.

Every time Nintendo tries to clarify the situation, they just make it worse.

Last I heard, all regions are getting Bayonetta 1 on a seperate disc with Bayonetta 2.

But I'm probably wrong. There's probably been 3 or 4 announcements since then 'clarifying' the situation.



Nintenjoe64 said:

@IxC They're costing themselves pre-orders by doing this. The last I heard, NA was getting a 2 disc edition and EU was getting download codes but I don't think they'd be so mean as to deny EU the disc.



IxC said:


I think Europe is getting discs too. But we might have to pay extra for Bayonetta 1. Thats what I heard.

We'll have the standard Bayonetta 2. And we'll have a special edition that includes Bayonetta 1 on a seperate disc. No prices confirmed, but I'd imagine the special edition would cost more.

At one point I heard NA was getting Bayonetta 1 free with every copy of Bayonetta 2. Japan was getting Bayonetta 1 as an eShop download for a discounted price. And Europe was getting a special edition (presumably at extra cost). But the last I heard was that all regions are getting a two disc set.

I don't know if they're costing themselves preorders. People who want Bayonetta 2 are going to get Bayonetta 2 regardless. But it does make them look ridiculously incompetent.

I'll be getting the game no matter what. And I'll be getting the version that comes with Bayonetta 1. However the hell I have to do it.



Emblem said:

Both Dragon Age and Evolve were pushed back so now this is the only game coming in October I am super hyped for.



LasermasterA said:

Can't wait for this! Two games for the price of one and those 2 games themselves are phenomenal enough to be sold separately. Can't wait to play this. Although I would have to use earphones, I don't think my family would appreciate such language from the living room.



Rezalack said:

My most anticipated Wii U release.. it needs to get here now. I played Bayonetta before, but I'm sure I'll be starting off playing that again first just for the refresher.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

Oh boy, this is gonna rock! I'm contributing towards a financial success, and I'm grabbing anyone I know to recommend it! This just has to be spread out among players!

@ThomasBW4 It's doubtful they're gonna pass this promotion on NA - that would turn away too many potentail buyers.



AdanVC said:

So freaking excited for this game. I've never played the original Bayonetta so this is going to be quite the experience for me.



IxnayontheCK said:

I shouldn't say this, but this will likely be another great Platinum game that will be largely ignored.



FragRed said:

I so can't wait for this game. But I have not played the first one, so will be working my way through that first. So damn excited.

And I have been spending the last two hours sitting laughing at those on other sites too stupid to understand that it is a Wii U exclusive and will remain that way.



JonWahlgren said:

Been so excited to get more time with this since PAX last year. October isn't that far now!



IceClimbers said:

For NA, Bayonetta 1 and Bayonetta 2 are included on separate discs for the physical version, while the download versions are sold separately, but will add up to the price of the physical version. So if you already own Bayonetta 1 on 360/PS3 (my pity for those that bought the PS3 version), you can download Bayonetta 2 only for cheaper if you want.

I imagine it will work similarly in Europe.



astros75 said:

Bayonetta 2 or Hyrule Warriors?.... Both! Can't wait for the fall lineup of games



astros75 said:

Bayonetta 2 or Hyrule Warriors?.... Both! Can't wait for the fall lineup of games



Grumblevolcano said:

@FragRed Given situations like Rayman Legends, I'm not surprised people think Bayonetta 2 could become multiplatform and I think it could possibly go that way if sales are horrific. However I don't think sales will be horrific provided Smash Wii U release isn't too close to its release date.



Hy8ogen said:

I really hope this game sells well. Not only it shuts up those "Nintendo fans only buy Nintendo games", PG definitely deserves the sales simply because their games are absolutely amazing. W101 is damn awesome but it's sales was mediocre at best.

@Grumblevolcano Nintendo is the publisher for Bayo 2. So unless Nintendo gives the green light, this game will stay Wii U exclusive. And you know what? The law of probability suggest that would be the case.



IceClimbers said:

@Hy8ogen I imagine Hyrule Warriors will sell much better than Bayonetta 2 will. However, I do think Bayonetta 2 will sell better than Xenoblade Chronicles X, and it will definitely sell better than Devils Third.



Donutman said:

W101 is an awesome game that plays better then most games on my ps3. P+ is a great dev with great games. Madworld is awesome. (Hurts my eyes sometimes, black and white) 1st bayonetta was as good as god of war 3 back then...bayonetta is a reason to buy a wii u if you don't have one. 2 games for 1 and they both friggin awesome!



markybbop said:

I didn't like the first one at all. I dont fancy this one, id much of preferred sega to have given this game a miss but publish alien isolation for the wiiu. Im predicting it doesn't sell as well as the first on and that sold poorly.



Manaphy2007 said:

@Diddy_kong i doubt that it will freeze constantly, P+ went all out on developing the game, wont do less for the console and making sure it comes out with tiny bugs that wont affect the game and gameplay and can be quickly patched.



Beta said:

Ugh... The preview made it seem it's more sexual/fanservice-y than I thought DX
I want to play this action filled game SOOOO bad, but I don't like such stuff in my games DX



DarkKirby said:

While I think it's coming a bit late to "save the Wii U" I can't wait for Bayonetta 2 to release regardless. I hope you can eventually unlock an "original long hair" alt.



Tritonus said:

Can't wait for this!

Should I play Bayo 1 or 2 first? They say you can play it in any order.



R_Champ said:

My growing disappointment with Hyrule Warriors is quickly being replaced by my hype for Bayonetta 2...glad it's not being released pretty soon



Play_It_Loud said:

This game is a huge reason I bought my Wii U day One. It has been a long wait..but it is almost over!



ejamer said:

My preorder was made during E3, and Bayonetta 1+2 on Wii U is probably my most anticipated game of 2014. Probably won't sell well, but I'm glad they are making it.



Captain_Toad said:

Two games in one. That comic-con video of the first-half of bayonetta 2... I'm already sold. Bring on the witching hour!



element187 said:

@Ralek85 I don't think ps360 owners are hardcore... In fact they tend to be more casual gamers... Every shooter so far on the subhd twins has auto aim assistance enabled. Then we have games where you continue exactly where you died with no real punishment for death. Endless press A to awesome QTE events, which practically turning gaming into a spectator sport instead of a game. Hand holding is the norm.

I consider games with brutally high difficulty like Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Monster Hunter, Zombi U and Wonderful 101 to be more hardcore than COD, GoW, Uncharted could ever be.

Who knew at the beginning of the generation that Nintendo would end up having the most hardcore games?



arnoldlayne83 said:

Can t wait for this, already got my preorder on the title...

About freezing, i own several 3rd party games and no crashes or freezes never happened... Maybe u got dirty discs or dirty player?



Ralek85 said:

@element187 Certainly the concept of hardcore is subjective. I simply meant that group of gamers, who go for fast and deep, somewhat violent, action games, that depend on the willingness to learn the intricacies of the system as well as raw reflexes. In other word, the opposite of accessibility and pick-up-and-play.
I don't follow your argument then. Your point about shooters is pointless, since the WiiU has no exclusive shooters, the shooters on the system are everybit the same as on the other platforms. You are also seemingly ignoring, games like KZ:Shadow Fall, ableit not a "subhd twins" game, but nevertheless a console FPS with 0 autoaim.
As for punishement, I would point to the most obvious example, the Souls games of course, as well as a wide variety of rogue-like games. A number of survival games like Don't Starve and several others also come to mind.
As for general difficulty, I don't see how Nintendo takes the crown here, while I completely agree that it is a good place for difficult platformer games, but honestly, there are plenty of those, since they are still somewhat of an indie favourite. Just think about Super Meat Boy for a second, for example. Plenty others like it are available.
Wonderful 101, despite it looks, can certainly be a harcore game, but the same is true for all Platinum games, like Metal Gear Solid Rising or Vanquish. You could also point to Ninja Theory games, or in general series like DMC and of course the endless stream of 2D beat'em'ups.
It's true that are a handful of games available on the WiiU that certainly hold appeal for this crowd, but I can't see how it would be anything like "the most", I would also argue that visual design of esp. Wonderful 101 (it had abysmal sales after all) and DK certainly turn a few people off.



30mm said:

I'm not a fan of the series, but will be buying this, because part 1 is also included, But i'll have to play through part 1 before I can play part 2.....and that could take awhile, before i'm done with the first



DarkLloyd said:

@element187 I speak for my self that im not this label you given the ps3/360 there are more then thw type of genre you mention making that statement false

as for donkey kong tropical freeze being brutal in difficulty it wasn't even that hard.

then again your only giving an opinion after all.



GearsOfWarU said:

I can't wait for this game ... Looks Incredable !!!!! And I loved The Wonderful 101 ... Platinum Games & Nintendo Rule!!!!



GearsOfWarU said:

I can't wait for this game ... Looks Incredable !!!!! And I loved The Wonderful 101 ... Platinum Games & Nintendo Rule!!!!



YouSeemFRAZZLED said:

Looks like insane button bashing fun. Just not interested in all the sexual strippy stuff. That's what we have fanart for!



element187 said:

It would be great if Wii U owners would go out and buy this gem even if it is just to support Nintendo's attempt to grab exclusive third party content. If the game sells well enough, Nintendo could be interested in getting another Platinum Games on Wii U. If the game bombs, it is probably the last Platinum Games exclusive on Wii U, sadly

@sinalefa I wish more people were dying to get this. P* deserves a hit.



element187 said:

@Ralek85 killzone isn't a hardcore franchise, it is a casual franchise. It has auto assist aiming as well. New Super Luigi brothers has a higher difficulty curve. Therefore it's more "hardcore". Art style and content is not a measure of how hardcore a game is. You could say Killzone is more "mature" than Mario (I hate that term as well), but a Mario game is way more hardcore than a Killzone game.

The shooters without auto assist aim didn't sell at all on the subhd twins . Why? Because they are too hard for the masses. Hard games do not sell. The masses want easy games because easy games makes people feel like they are good at a game without much effort. Making a game difficult makes the general audience feel inferior and therefore they tend not to buy the game, because nobody wants to feel like they are no good at a game... When a developer talks about accessibility, it's a red flag that they are dumbing down a title so it sells more copies.

This is why Platinum games under perform every time. They refuse to dumb down their games. Even their "normal" difficulty option is more difficult then most games set to "hard" or "very hard"



sinalefa said:


For me hardcore games are games with deep systems, where you can go back and learn new things all the time, not necessarily brutally hard games.

A game like W101 lets you continue exactly where you died, with the penalty being the grade at the end of the level. It also has a very easy difficulty setting, but that does not make it any less hardcore to me. I prefer scalable challenge since not everyone has the same skill levels, time or patience.

I would rather be encouraged to improve because the battle system is engaging and deep enough to learn all its intricacies, rather than because the game puts an insurmountable wall of difficulty that may only lead to frustration.



Ralek85 said:

@element187 I don't know about KZ on Ps3/X360, Killzone: Shadowfall has no autoaim whatsoever, I'm just coming from a session. I'm not sure about Mario being hardcore, I never play any 2D Mario games anymore, since they bore me to death, as for the recent 3D ones, there are a couple of challenging levels, esp. among the bonus levels, but the vast majority of the game is a breeze. Furthermore, Mario lacks any kind of competitive aspect. There are very few single-player games that warrant the label hardcore those days, like you say most are dumbed down.
Also, there is little involved in the way of actual coordination, tactics, exploiting strength or weakness of a specific class or gear ... It's basically run and jumb, all about timing and precision. Not much more to it really, that's why everone with basic motor skills can play it, and for the most part succeed.



3MonthBeef said:

"Some potential Nintendo influence is perhaps found in the brighter, more vibrant colour palette....", I've been hearing that the Wii U has some sort of limitation in reaching deep black levels and contrast issues (by design) which is why Nintendo tends to stick to more vibrant colors for their games; and extension shares that knowledge with other devs.

So imagining if Resident Evil remake were coming to Wii U it wouldn't produce dark rooms and corridors to much of the intended effect as the other consoles might. Why Nintendo?? Why?



Gunnerholic said:

@BigH88 There was a time when I'd have lapped this up, sadly I just don't have the time anymore to learn dozens of intricate move sets. Maybe I'll pick it up on the cheap one day.



Striker667 said:

@BigH88 The Multiplayer for blacklist was Fixed a while ago. I still play it daily and don't have the crappy connection issues or any of the party join issues that plagued the game before.



Striker667 said:

@IxnayontheCK I'm hoping, since the press likely wont have any trouble playing this one since it doesn't require as much coordination as w101, that it will review very well and get far more notoriety than the original release did. Who knows this could be more popular now than the original was before it hit bargain bins.



Gunnerholic said:

@BigH88 I know I know, I'm just as sad if not sadder. Unfortunately life gets in the way of a good gaming be 16 again, sigh*

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