If you're looking for camp in your game, it's hard to go wrong with Bayonetta 2. It's definitely hard to beat the camp levels of a magical lady who uses her hair to fight supernatural beings... unless you're Shantae. Go away, Shantae! You don't have guns on your feet!
But it's exactly the guns-for-heels levels of oddness that makes Bayonetta memorable. This is the only game in recent memory that lets me go all dominatrix on an angel before decapitating it, or carry around a scythe with three blades, or ride upside-down on a jet before jumping onto a moving train. There's something undeniably lovable about the game from the start, and it has absolutely no issue with letting you know it won't hold itself back.
One of the greatest things about Bayonetta managed to make its way over to Bayonetta 2: the combat. Not only is the music fantastically remixed and curated specifically to keep all of the fights tense and up-beat, but that same addicting combat from its prequel has come back—with a few alterations, of course. For instance, you can now equip different sets of weapons to your hands and feet. The ability to mix and match weapons depending on the situation makes the combat feel completely different every time you switch your weapons. You can specialize in area-of-effect, single target, or ranged damage, or you can just mix it all up and become a Jack of all Trades.
And this is one of the greatest things about Bayonetta 2— being able to have choice. As far as the action goes, you can use your own playstyle and never really feel punished for it. Plus, switching between weapons is a breeze. Not only can you have two sets of weapons that you can swap between with the push of a button, but the general button presses for combos is similar enough that it's easy to pick up another pair of weapons and kick just as much butt with them as you were with your previous weapon set.
Witch time also makes a return from the game's predecessor, making every dodge and long combo seem just that much more rewarding. It also plays a major part in boss fights, which gives an extra layer of incentive for players to do well. If you dodge properly and consistently, the overwhelming amount of satisfaction you'll get from keeping a boss almost permanently in Witch Time can be one of the biggest power rushes imaginable. This entire system made a few of the fights in this game some of the most memorable and exciting fights in my gaming experience.
Characters and Writing
Bayonetta 2 has a decidedly over-the-top tone, lending itself well to the game because you're never quite sure what to expect. In a world where fights can happen in pretty much any setting and with absolutely no shortage of enemy types and variations, the possibilities are endless for where the story could take you next. And yet, the narrative is written so well and in such a way that none of this seems out of place for the game.
Most of the characters in Bayonetta 2 were carried over from the first game, and the writing certainly does them justice. Each character is completely memorable for his or her own reasons. Whether it's Luka's attempts at charm, Rodin's stoical attitude and dry humor, or Enzo's greed and defensiveness, the characters in the game are all displayed exceptionally well even for the short amount of time you'll encounter some of them.
One of the greatest things about the game, however, is something I wouldn't expect from this series, and that's character depth. Bayonetta has her memories back in this sequel, and Platinum leaped on to the possibility for players to get to know her character. Some of the most touching moments in the game revolve around Bayonetta and her attitude, and the few times when she actually drops her all but Dominatrix-style persona serve to draw players in more and more to her on an emotional level. While Platinum simply could have settled for letting her attitude carry the character, they took the extra step and gave her just a bit more depth—and I love them all the more for it.
The game has three types of cutscenes: pre-rendered, in-game motion, and comic-style cutscenes. While the pre-rendered versions and even the in-game motion cutscenes look fantastic, it's almost distracting to see the inconsistency with which they decided to choose for what situation. Sometimes I would be expecting a comic-style cutscene, but instead I'd get a motion, or vice-versa. Some of the most dramatic moments in the game got comic-style, but the most mediocre of tasks would get full-motion. It didn't quite make sense.
This is a minor gripe, but it was slightly distracting while I was playing the game to keep seeing them shift back and forth between styles. Simply sticking with one style or another would have helped the game's story telling ability tremendously.
One of the worst decisions I saw in the game was to actually make the very first "cutscene" not a typical cutscene at all. Instead, they made it a battle sequence where they recap the events in the last Bayonetta game, but you have to fight off a small horde of enemies throughout the entire intro. I understand that the intention was to engage players right from the start, but plot background cutscenes are some of the most important parts of a game's opening, and I feel like they could have done so much better with this recap than they actually did.
Bayonetta 2's campaign is a little on the short side. The game will take you about nine hours to get through, depending on how well you do against some of the bosses and how hard you look for collectibles scattered throughout the game. Perhaps it was just because the experience was so enjoyable, but I wished that it had lasted a little longer.
Of course, there's so much to unlock in post-game, plus the inclusion of the original Bayonetta game with retail copies of Bayonetta 2. So while the campaign is short, the amount of content available in the purchase of this title will give you plenty to mull over.
Whenever you're escorting a character or visiting a shop, you're bound to hear a few lines of dialogue sound off between characters. It's a common thing in action games to have character interaction, right? It keeps things flowing and makes the characters seem more human.
That is, of course, unless you don't vary the dialogue lines enough. I can't even begin to count the number of times I entered Rodin's shop to hear him talking about sprinkling dust on a magic chicken. What was even worse was the few times you have to escort characters, they will shout at you if you leave them for more than five seconds, and keep repeating the same three or so lines over and over until you rejoin them. For a game with such an emphasis on collectibles and exploring, this is just something that Platinum shouldn't have allowed to have happen.
Bayonetta 2 is a fantastic action game with a cast and setting that you just can't get enough of. It manages to find the perfect balance between absurdity and seriousness with its characters and story, and mix it all together with one of the best action-based combat systems that gaming has to offer. Despite a few minor artistic flaws, the gameplay and writing is so solid that I'm positive it will be one of the defining masterpieces for Nintendo 's system this generation.
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