Bayonetta 2 achieved major critical success back in 2014 when it released on Wii U. The game was praised due to its phenomenal action-packed gameplay, lush presentation, and over-the-top set-pieces. During my time with Bayonetta 2 on Switch, I’ve taken a trip down memory lane and relived some amazing not-so-distant memories. Much of what we said in our original review for Bayonetta 2 a few years back still largely applies to the Switch version of this stylish action title. Before I get to that, I’ll talk Switch differences.
“Let’s Go Boys”
Bayonetta 2 ran at 720p, 60 frames-per-second with constant frame-drops on Wii U. I’m happy to say that the Switch version rarely had frame-drops throughout my time with it. Even during the craziest of action moments, I would rarely experience any major frame-drops not only in docked mode, but handheld mode as well. Not only that, but during both docked and handheld modes, the game’s graphics look nearly identical to each other. Seriously, I couldn’t see any difference. It’s an amazing technical achievement, to say the least. While the Switch edition doesn’t up the resolution, things look and play much smoother than the Wii U version.
While the game doesn’t look bad in docked mode, I think handheld mode is where it really shines. The Switch’s eight-and-a-half inch screen has the ability to hide blurry renders and ugly textures. Whereas in TV mode those types of things are much more noticeable. However, for the most part, Bayonetta 2 has aged just fine in terms of its graphical fidelity; mostly due to its bright and explosive art style. Bayonetta 2 is among the few must-own titles on the Nintendo Switch. Now, on to our original review of the title.
Original review was written by Kurt G.
When the original Bayonetta arrived on the video game scene in 2009, Platinum games made history in advancing the action genre. Never before did an action video game allow for such an array of battle animations under the control of the user itself. The game was easy to pick up but difficult to master, and it’s funny that in 2014 Platinum Games would be releasing a sequel with one of the biggest companies in the world that follow this philosophy in game design.
Bayonetta 2 is an expertly crafted game from a team that not only understands the action genre as a whole, but also understands video game design as a whole. Platinum Games invites gamers of all kind to come to the amusement park that is Bayonetta 2. You will be punching, kicking, shooting, slicing, slamming and whipping your way to victory in the most outlandish visuals you have laid eyes on in a video game. Bayonetta 2 is a game that appreciates you for utilizing everything you have in your arsenal to win. The game rewards you for being creative and skilled in your reaction speeds. Through each battle, you encounter with enemies the game will rate the player based off the combo’s used, damage taken, and speed of battle. The higher your score the more gold coins you will receive which allows you to purchase new moves, weapons, costumes, and accessories.
What makes Bayonetta 2 stand out from all other action games in the industry is the implementation of fighting game mechanics into the gameplay. The concept of Bayonetta is to be a “stylish action game” according to Hideki Kamiya. In order to pull this off and actually feel like Bayonetta, the developers have painstakingly created hundreds of animations for Bayonetta to pull off depending on the button combinations used. This even translates to where you equip your weapons, as some can be attached to Bayonetta’s arms and legs which creates additional move sets.
If you never played Bayonetta, you might be thinking to yourself ”how can this game play like a fighting game but still be approachable for all types of gamers?” The answer is in simplicity. In Bayonetta 2 you will be pulling off some of the most insane acrobatics ever seen in a video game, but that doesn’t mean that the button layout to pull off these incredible combos has to be difficult. In Bayonetta 2 you can pull off crazy combos with simple button presses and feel satisfied as a player but still have the opportunity to grow as the game goes on.
Son of a Witch
An important feature the defines the Bayonetta series is “witch time”, which allows the user to go into a Matrix–like slow down to perform powerful combos on an enemy. This is achieved by dodging an enemies attack at the exact moment before it lands by pressing ZR. This isn’t to say that Bayonetta hasn’t learned any new tricks. A new feature in Bayonetta 2 is called “Umbran Climax”, which allows her to summon her collection of demons to fight by her side under your control. Summons used to be limited to finale finishing moves in the first game but now when you build your magic bar to the top you can let all hell break loose.
An important aspect of Bayonetta 2 that propels it to become a classic is the pacing. Continuing the amusement park theme the pacing of Bayonetta 2 can be described as the world’s greatest roller coaster ride. In this game, there is never a dull moment in Bayonetta’s quest to save her sister. The cutscenes no longer drag like they did in the original. The game knows exactly what you want, and it delivers every time. Not only are the set pieces in this game something to behold, but it’s amazing that they are able to change the feel and flow of the gameplay itself depending on what crazy situation Bayonetta has gotten her self into. You will not mind coming back to face your favorite bosses time and time again trying to get pure platinum rankings across the board.
Overall, I cannot recommend Bayonetta 2 enough, this is a game that every Nintendo enthusiast and gamer should have in their collection. This game is a technical achievement in game design and has the pacing of classic video games that have defined a generation such as Ocarina of Time and Resident Evil 4. Bayonetta looks great, sounds great, and plays great. It’s without a doubt, one of the greatest action games in the past decade.