A direct sequel to Bayonetta, Platinum Games’ critically acclaimed action game, Bayonetta 2 delivers a breathtaking experience that is not found in many modern games.
Bayonetta 2 is brimming with astonishing violence, crude sexualization and all-around ridiculousness.
The game’s plot follows Cereza (also referred to as Bayonetta), a super-powered witch constantly fighting with forces of Paradiso and Inferno (Heaven and Hell) in an attempt to rescue her friend and fellow witch Jeanne, as well as save the world in the process.
Trying to explain the game’s plot is like trying to explain American Football to a Brit, I’m not even going to attempt it. The plot and general storytelling of Bayonetta 2 is confusing, and it seems like this is done purposefully.
This is done so as many absurd and astonishing boss battles and set pieces can occur. Epic boss battles often occur out of nowhere and are not explained, as Cereza is frequently ambushed by massive angels and demons.
This game is pure action; there is never a dull moment, unless we are talking about the cutscenes. Throughout the first five hours there are far too many cutscenes, which drag on too long, don’t look as good as the game does, and do not even manage to explain the story properly. Thankfully they let up as the player progresses with the story.
The actual gameplay is where Bayonetta 2 shines. Although it is a hack-and-slash action game, a genre I don’t usually enjoy, the game’s action sequences are tons of fun.
Killing thousands of angels never gets tiresome, as the fighting engine is flawless. Combos flow together beautifully as Cereza tears apart her opposition with a massive variety of moves. With only two buttons controlling her punches and kicks, the player is able to conduct hundreds of possible combos.
An important part of the game is “Witch Time”, a gameplay element where Cereza is able to put enemies into slow-motion after perfectly dodging an attack. Being able to successfully activate “Witch Time” as much as possible is key to defeating difficult bosses.
Speaking of difficulty, Bayonetta 2 offers three modes of play, Climax one, two and three, otherwise known as easy, medium and hard modes. I played on Climax two, and some boss fights really challenged me, killing me multiple times before I could beat them. Other than that, most of the game is pretty easy, but I would not recommend upping to Climax three unless you are a seasoned gamer, as it makes many fights unbearably challenging.
Bayonetta 2 runs incredibly smoothly, keeping an even frame rate even when things get hectic, which they usually do. The controls are precise and nothing feels clunky, creating a feeling that most hack-and-slash games are missing.
The highlights of Bayonetta 2 are its boss fights, which are massive in scale. Boss battles raise the game’s ridiculousness to astounding levels, while also providing an immense amount of fun and a great challenge. The battles make you feel amazing; I felt like an unstoppable force once I mastered the techniques required to defeat challenging bosses. The finishing blows to bosses are also magnificently rewarding, making the player feel like they truly defeated them.
Despite its greatness, I must state that Bayonetta 2 is not for everyone. It is incredibly violent and gory, with special finishing moves that involve throwing enemies into a meat grinder or chopping them in half with guillotines. If you aren’t a fan of blood, this game is not for you.
It is also excessively racy and sexual. Cereza’s outfit leaves little to the imagination, and she even becomes fully naked when performing the finishing attack called “Umbral Climax.” If you are offended by sexualization of women in a video game, this game is not for you. However, I must mention that Bayonetta 2 is not sexist. The lead character is a strong, independant woman that is more powerful and confident than almost any other being in the universe. There is a clear difference between sexism and sexualization, and Bayonetta 2 involves the latter.
Like its predecessor, Bayonetta 2 does not take itself very seriously. It is clear that Platinum Games just wanted to make a fun game, one that was not meant to have much meaning.
Bayonetta 2’s comical silliness is a breath of fresh air in the M-rated department, which is filled with boring, sober games that have no sense of humour whatsoever, and play things far too safe.
Bayonetta 2’s story only lasts around nine hours if you don’t touch optional objectives, but anyone who buys the game in North America will also receive a copy of the original Bayonetta for Wii U, making it a very good value. It also features a co-op online mode, allowing two players to play through boss battles together.
Bayonetta 2 is a shining specimen in a declining genre. Pure action games are slowly starting to die, and Bayonetta 2 might be one of the last great ones.
Although Bayonetta 2 will offend many, I cannot condemn the creators for making it the way they did. Video games are an artistic genre, there is no need to take them too seriously. If you are personally offended by its graphic nature or sexualization of women, don’t play it, simple as that. Just know that you are missing out on one of the best action games to date.