Bayonetta 2 is out today, and while there are difficulty options that accommodate all skill levels, that doesn't mean you can't benefit from some tips to help get you started. 

The below guide will help provide you with an understanding of how to approach even the most challenging situations with a degree of confidence.

Combat

Learn combos and memorise a routine

Most hack and slash games are combo-centric, and Bayonetta 2 is no exception, with plenty of ways to slice, dice, and bludgeon your enemies into an early grave. 

Like the original Bayonetta, Platinum Games allows you to learn and practice combos during the loading screens, and it's important that you use this time to experiment and determine a set of moves that's best suited to your skill level and play-style. 

Sure, you could button mash your way through the adventure (as long as you're dodging), but it's better to be aware of moves and combos that make the circumstances easier on you. 

Our recipe for success was finding a couple attack combos that not only dealt substantial amounts of damage, but also worked to keep imposing enemies from laying into us all at once.

Dodge, dodge, dodge and witch time

In some beat-'em-ups and hack-and-slash games, it’s possible to aggressively lay into the attack button with complete disregard for any evasive or blocking manoeuvres and easily triumph over your opponents. If you think that kind of thing will fly in Bayonetta 2, you’re in for a real butt-kicking. 

What we’re getting at is that dodging is just as integral to your success as offensive tactics – almost even more so. If a dodge is initiated at the last possible moment before taking a hit, Bayonetta will enter Witch Time, which slows the movement speed of everything around you. This provides a momentary break from the surrounding chaos, and allows you to deal a concentrated dose of damage, free of risk.

The key to executing a perfect dodge is to keep an eye on your opponent’s attack patterns. Not only will they very clearly wind up or pull back an arm or a leg before taking a swing, but often there are sound effects and visual indicators to provide you with fair warning. 

From enemy to enemy, attack to attack, there’s a varying amount of time between audiovisual cues and the attack that follows, so pay close attention and make mental notes of each enemy’s habits.

Fill your magic gauge for umbran climax and torture attacks

Perhaps the most helpful of all your tools is Bayonetta's Magic Gauge. You can fill this by defeating consecutive enemies and by triggering Witch Time. Once the Magic Gauge has filled to a certain degree you'll have the option of initiating an Umbran Climax or Torture Attack. 

The former grants Bayonetta powerful demon attacks for a short period of time and the latter is focused on dealing very large amounts of damage to a single enemy of your choosing. These powers are integral to success, and you'll want to utilise them whenever the circumstances aren't in your favour – which is fairly often.

Find the weapon combination that compliments your play style 

As you progress through story mode, you'll unlock various weapons that you can purchase from The Gates of Hell. Not only can you equip a weapon in Bayonetta's hands, but you can attach certain weapons to her feet. This helps you define your very own play style. 

Some weapons are designed to be swift and deadlier at short range, while others may be optimal for long distance yet deal noticeably less damage. For example, Alruna (barbed wire-like whips) has a broad reach that allows you to hit a bunch of enemies at once, while Takemikazuchi (a giant hammer) takes longer to swing but deals more damage. 

Finding the balance that suits your strengths and weaknesses is important – especially on the highest difficulty setting. Here are some of our favourite weapon combinations:

  • Undine on hands and Alruna on feet
  • Takemikazuchi on hands and Rakshasa on feet
  • Kafka on hands and Alruna on feet

Recommended techniques

Techniques are special moves that can be purchased while shopping at The Gates of Hell. There are many to choose from, and since it may be a little tough to decide which you should acquire first, we've rounded up the details on a few of the techniques we found to be the most beneficial throughout the course of the campaign.

  • Witch Strike (press A immediately after jumping) — After knocking foes into the air, performing a Witch Strike — which can be best described as a tornado uppercut — lets you deal more damage while they're still vulnerable.
  • Breakdance (hold ZR) — Want to disperse a fury of bullets all around you? That's what Breakdance is for. This technique doesn't seem to do all that much damage, but it helps to hit and potentially suppress multiple baddies at once, which can be extremely helpful.
  • Bat Within (press ZR at the exact moment you'd normally take a hit) — This one's like a safety net. If you dodge an enemy's attack a bit too late, as long as you've pressed the button at the exact moment of impact, Bayonetta will transform into a flock of bats to mitigate damage. This will also trigger Witch Time.
  • Crow Within (double tap ZR in mid-air) — Crow Within transforms Bayonetta into a crow and grants temporary flight. This can aid greatly for the capture of certain Umbran Crows (see Umbran Crows in the Collectibles section below).

Accessories help if you're struggling

Bayonetta has two accessory slots in her inventory, and you can purchase a variety of these while shopping at The Gates of Hell. They're designed to help you if you struggle. We beat the entire game on 2nd Climax difficulty without purchasing a single one, but if you get hung up, identify what you're struggling with and buy accessories to help balance things out. Just be prepared — they're costly.

How to earn better medals

In each stage there are a set number of enemy encounters to participate in, and your performance during these battles will reward you a specific medal. 

At the end of a stage, your overall score is tallied and you get a medal based on how well you performed. Locating every one of these battles and earning the highest possible rank in each one is the trick to getting the highest of honours: the Platinum or Pure Platinum medals. 

This is no easy task by any means, and will require practice, stage restarts, and possibly even broken controllers.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while high-score hunting:

  • Be on the lookout for suspicious platforms and areas – While many battles take place on a linear path, there are plenty more that you can only initiate by exploring and venturing off course. These areas won't always be clearly defined, and you should expect your curiosity to be derailed quite frequently by invisible walls. But if you're determined, you'll eventually hunt down each and every battle.
  • Keep your combos alive – If you can keep your combo alive from the start to the end of battle, chances are you'll walk away with an impressive score. If enemies end up out of range, fire your gun while moving closer to keep that combo growing.
  • Don't get hit – This one explains itself. Just don't suffer any blows from those resilient angels or demons. Of course this is much easier said than done, but if you want a Pure Platinum medal, well, you can't risk a taking a single hit. You remember what we said earlier, right? Dodge, dodge, dodge.
  • Finish off enemies as fast as possible – How fast you dispose of baddies and end each battle matters. Be as speedy as possible to earn maximum points.

Collectibles

Umbran Crows

Even if you’re not actively searching for them, you’re bound to stumble upon at least a couple of Umbran Crows during your time with Bayonetta 2. These Crows serve as collectibles, and you'll need a keen eye to grab them all. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:

  • Activating the “Panther Within” (which is basically Bayonetta’s means of running) will help you catch the majority of the twenty Crows. You can activate this by double tapping the ZR button at any moment. If it's doable, you can also creep slowly toward the Crows and they won't be scared off.
  • You have unlimited chances to catch each crow, so if you botch your attempt and the sly Crow vanishes from sight, simply walk away from the immediate area until it flies back into view, then try again.
  • Listen for subtle audio cues indicating a Crow’s proximity. When you've scared one off, you'll hear the faint sound of wings flapping. You'll know they've returned when you hear a "caw" as they land.
  • While the Crows themselves are black, each one is encompassed within a red glow that makes them easier to spot. Pan the camera around in each new room you enter and keep an eye out for any hint of red.
  • Crows are ALWAYS located within the environment. You won’t have to win any battles to unlock them, nor seek out a chest. It’s also worth mentioning that you never find them underwater.

Want to know the location of every Umbran Crow in the game? Check out our handy guide.

Angelic Hymns Gold LPs

You'll find Angelic Hymns out in the open, or as a reward for conquering battles off the beaten past. Grabbing these will unlock weapons you can purchase from The Gates of Hell. 

Just like our advice in the "medals" section, you'll need to commit to venturing off course and keep both eyes peeled for suspicious platforms or ledges that might lead somewhere new.


And that concludes our Bayonetta 2 tips & tricks guide. We hope that the information gathered above will be valuable to you during your time with what we think is "one of the Wii U's best games." Feel free to use the comments below to converse with other Nintendo Life members and offer any other assistance that we might not have touched on to those in need.