Developer: Platinum Games, Inc.
Release Date: 02/16/2018
Also Available On
It was strange that Nintendo would pick up an M-rated property, especially one that is as sexualized and gory as Bayonetta. The original game put Platinum Games on the map as a great hack and slash developer. The game was bombastic, fun, hard, fast-paced, and very memorable. The flashy combat and memorable personality and style of Bayonetta herself made her one of the most popular and well-known characters of the last generation.
Bayonetta 2 tries to capitalize on that, but on Nintendo’s home consoles. Thankfully, none of the sex appeal or gore has been toned down which is a huge shock and was what most people were expecting — more of a teen-rated experience or heavily censored. What we get is the same sexiness, blood, and guts from the original. Now, I was never a huge fan of Bayonetta’s story is a bit convoluted. I didn’t quite understand the story until towards the end, but Bayonetta is an Umbran Witch who is the Left Eye of God and the Right Eyes (Lunar Witches) are part of some sort of prophecy. The Aesir God is trying to destroy humans (it’s heavily Norse-based) and Bayonetta is trying to stop said God from doing so. There are a couple of new characters thrown in, but I didn’t care much for the story. It’s a confusing mess honestly.
What is great though is the combat and there’s plenty of it. Light and heavy attacks combined together with a ranged attack make for some of the best combat this side of Devil May Cry. Bayonetta is so agile and looks so good bouncing around on the screen and the controls are incredibly responsive. The key to the battles is the Witch Time dodge mechanic that’s used right before enemies strike. It’s so satisfying to get into a rhythm of slowing downtime for a couple of seconds and attacking. Each enemy has its own attack pattern and you quickly learn when to dodge and slow downtime to build up your Witch Time which is then triggered to unleash heavy attacks. This tight combat system isn’t very deep, but hard to master especially with new moves to purchase. I found myself noticing that you must master this dodge technique or you won’t get very far. It’s the only way to really dodge attacks., but because you have to heavily rely on it that forces you to master it which can make it a core part of the combat system.
The combat goes a little further with Torture Attacks that are optional instead of unleashing your Umbran Attack. These are small quick-time events and awesomely brutal death scenes for the demons and angels. Bosses have their own unique Torture Attack that triggers at the end of battles. Speaking of bosses, I have to say I think there are too many here. Almost every level is either a boss only or consists of multiple bosses from main to mini-bosses. I also think for the short length of the game there are too many enemies here. A new enemy is introduced at nearly every level and they don’t really mix them up much. With so many new enemies you just start to learn their attack patterns and you may never see them again outside of the mini-bosses.
Outside of combat, Bayonetta doesn’t do much. The levels are highly linear with only one way to really go. You can explore a couple of side paths for hidden items that unlock costumes, weapons, and more. There are Muspelheim missions which are challenges spread throughout the game that grant Moon Pearls (Witch Time upgrades) and hearts (life upgrades). There are Remembrance challenges that require you to gather pieces of a chest before time runs out, and these are nice little distractions. There are a couple of levels that have you power a mech and fly a plane, but they are short and not sprinkled in enough. The game doesn’t feel as varied as the first one and I quickly found myself just mowing down boss after boss waiting for something new to happen.
I loved unlocking Nintendo-themed costumes, mixing up my weapons to create a unique playstyle, and watching Bayonetta never gets dull, but it just didn’t feel as memorable as the first game, something felt off. It somehow felt too repetitive towards the end and I became exhausted with the onslaught of bosses, with some repeating multiple times throughout the game. There are co-op Witch Trials which are nice and all, but the core game just doesn’t feel as memorable despite how great it is.
The game looks amazing though and is still one of the best-looking Switch games to date. The framerate is up there at 60 or close to it with no slowdowns. Textures and models look fantastic and the art style is just beautiful and really makes Bayonetta stand out on its own artistically. I did feel some environments kind of blurred together, but overall it’s a treat to look at. Bayonetta 2 remains one of the best games on Switch, and hack and slash games of this caliber are far and few between.