Nintendo surprised the world last year, including myself, when they announced that Bayonetta 2 would see release as a Wii U exclusive.
The original won high acclaim from critics, developer PlatinumGames heralded for delivering their own unique take on the ailing third-person action genre that has since seen it garner a determined resurgence in popularity worldwide.
Stood in the midst of Nintendo’s post-E3 showcase though, Bayonetta 2 is strikingly at odds with its Wii U peers, tarnishing an otherwise family-friendly palette with the game’s more mature aspirations. Here we find
the leather-clad Umbran Witch hacking foes into submission, blasting them into submission with her four pistols, and spanking them as they’re shoved head first into gruesomely-ornate torture devices.
It’s Nintendo’s bid to demonstrate that they’re once again committed to their core fans, after many were left disappointed at the more casual-orientated direction the company took with the enormously successful Wii. Although we can be extremely grateful to the company for bringing the sequel into existence, for without their support it reportedly wouldn’t have been possible.
Narrative aside, with what little shown being shrouded by the hubbub of the event, my experience with PlatinumGames’ sequel were exceedingly gratifying. Combat remains incredibly slick, with a new Umbra Climax ability seeing Bayonetta super-charging her move set to deal greater damage across a broader area. Successive combos build the relevant meter that, once unleashed, turns the game into an even more ridiculous visual spectacle. Bayonetta herself certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Exhiliration is further heightened by gargantuan bosses, Bayonetta pulling out all the stops as she sprouts angelic wings to take to the skies in pursuit of a monstrous dragon scaling a nearby skyscraper. Here, frantic gameplay meets startlingly beautiful visuals in a unique blend that only PlatinumGames can successfully mix.
Successive attack streams can at times prove overbearing in obscuring the action, but the continual thrill of dealing such unending punishment far outweighs such negatives. Though at 60 frames-per-second, there’s barely room to complain at just how slickly presented this is.
Known Wii U GamePad integration so far governs the now broadly seen Off-TV Play supported, whereas a touch-based control scheme seeks to break down the barrier of entry for those that perhaps feel Bayonetta 2 would prove too much of a challenge for them to tackle.
Tied with the Easy and Very Easy “Automatic” difficulty modes, this sees Bayonetta execute elaborate combos on any foe by merely tapping the enemy on-screen. With less input required, players are left to marvel at the destruction wrought as their angelic combatants become engulfed by a flurry of melee and distanced attacks.
More competent players may be interested in seeing how this alternative control scheme works, but will soon clamour for a greater degree of control despite its clear benefits.
What’s clear is that there is plenty to look forward to here. PlatinumGames are building upon the critically-acclaimed foundation of Bayonetta 2’s predecessor, constructing an even more excitable sequel that Wii U owners should be clamouring for.