Final verdict: A-
Final playtime: 97 hours
Welp, here it is. The reason to get a Wii U is here. None of this smash bros shit, naw nigga. It’s this right here. Took literally two years since the release of the system but hey, we in there. Honestly though it is somewhat amazing that it took two years considering this game reuses the engine and practically all the assets from the previous one which were already completed. Just goes to show making an action game is tough business, even when half your work is already done for you.
In case you were apprehensive about Bayonetta being a Wii U exclusive now, wondering if it’ll get ruined by bullshit forced motion controls or gimmicks, don’t be. Ain’t none of that here. You can play the game same as always with a classic controller. Well, mostly the same as always. Because let’s face it, whatever you decide to use, it won’t be quite as good as with a PS controller. First of all, what god damn fucking MORON’S idea was it to put the right stick above the face buttons in the Wii U gamepad and the classic controller pro? I swear that was just done to personally piss me off. I have to deal with your bullshit controller just so you can act like it’s not an almost exact copy of the 360 controller? Fuck you.
But anyway. Back to Bayonetta 2. So I’ve been hearing some wrong shit about this game. How it’s not as good as the original, how it’s easier and so it’s shit. I’m here to set the record straight on all that bullshit. Bayonetta 2 is actually BETTER than the first one, and I’ma tell you why.
But first, let’s take a look at the general stuff. As I said before, this game is almost identical to the previous one because it leaves the engine pretty much unaltered. This automatically means that it can’t be bad, because Bayonetta already nailed the core action game mechanics extremely well. I already praised this in the previous game’s review, but just to reiterate, Bayonetta does a lot of important things correctly: general movement is tight, fast, responsive. The dodge is really good and has a ton of invincibility frames, so none of this bullshit in some games where you dodge and then somehow still get hit anyway. Just to further prevent this sort of thing from happening, this game also has an interesting thing where once you’ve successfully dodged an attack, you can no longer be hit by that same attack even if it’s technically still on screen and looks like it should hit you. For example, if you dodge, say, an energy beam, and when your dodge ends the beam is still on top of you, you won’t get hit. While it may seem unintuitive that your dodge would also have the effect of canceling the active frames on an enemy’s attack, it works great at preventing it from being ineffective in any situation, so I am on board with this shit.
You can also cancel any, ANY of your moves into dodge at any point. This is so fucking important that I’m still baffled that anyone would get this wrong. Go see Ninja Gaiden 3 for evidence of how not to make an action game. But the point is, if a certain move leaves you locked in it without the ability to dodge, then using it becomes a liability because it leaves you vulnerable, and so it won’t be used, and so why did you even put it there in the first place? Another cool detail that Bayonetta has is that you can dodge in the middle of a combo string, and if you hold the attack button down, you will be able to continue the string where you left off. So if you start a string with attack #1, #2, #3, and then have to dodge, once you come out of dodge animation you can keep going into attack #4 and #5 of the string rather than being forced into starting over at #1. Really neat mechanic to keep longer strings relevant and practical in the type of game where enemies are constantly attacking you which would otherwise cause said strings to be interrupted.
Of course, all this means that Bayonetta 2 also has some annoying issues from the previous game. For example, still mapping the transformations to the dodge button results in sometimes accidentally transforming when you just wanted to dodge if you’re not careful and still takes some getting used to. Admittedly not as much as before since you’ve already had the entirety of the previous game to adjust to this bullshit, but couldn’t they have mapped it to L or something? That button’s practically useless anyway.
Anyway, moving on to differences, I’ve heard niggers lament that they miss some of the weapons from the previous game. Are you kidding me? The weapons in this one are SO much better, holy shit. Firstly, the removal of Lt. Kilgore from the game (a weapon so broken that it basically obsoleted every other weapon) opens up the weapons to have more of their own respective niche and uses. Whereas before Kilgore was just the highest damage and combo points you could do by an absurd margin, now we get to see more of a tradeoff, and more incentive to use different weapons in different situations.
What sort of different situations? For example: katanas for when you want really quick attacks (it’s an important issue for when you want to reach the later hits in your string faster. For example, it allows you to reach the third hit during a single non-bat within’d short witch time), chainsaws for when you want the best ratio of single target disruption, damage output and combo points, the scythe for when you want the fastest damage output possible (very important in some instances where it can be difficult to kill stuff fast enough to get platinum on time with other weapons) or want to affect a wide range and lots of enemies at once with your attacks, the hammer for when you want to quickly deal with enemies that have really strong defenses but little mobility (it can smash through shield douches that block everything but gets easily dodged by fast enemies) or when you want to kill something in as few hits as possible (long windup but massive damage on one hit). The bow for when you want to do damage from maximum range but don’t care as much about doing high amounts of it quickly or getting as many combo points, the whip for when you want good range and the most disruption and crowd control but don’t care as much about high damage or racking up mad combo points.
And let’s be real here. These weapons are just way more badass than the ones in the first game. Chainsaws are WAY more badass than some shitty fuckin’ skates. That’s just an objective truth with which no man could argue. Not even Aristotle could argue against that shit. A fuckin’ big ass scythe with three motherfucking blades that shoot out like a rifle is WAY more badass than a boring rocket launcher. And two swords is CLEARLY better than one sword. That’s just math, nigguh. ‘s right, we gettin’ all educational up in this bitch. Takin’ you to school up in this nigga.
There’s a new use for the magic meter called Umbran Climax which is similar to devil trigger from the DMC games which puts you in a super powered state where all of your normal attacks become wicked weaves and all of your wicked weaves become infernal weaves, a new type of weave that allows you to summon entire demons during your combos. Not only is this cool as shit but also gives your meter added utility for when you either can’t do tortures (such as during boss fights) or don’t want to (because you want more combo points or to fuck up lots of enemies). Unfortunately it becomes less useful later on.
There’s also a new mech that Bayonetta can pilot later on, once in a dedicated mech chapter and other times by spending meter, which ends up being better than umbran climax. Usually this kind of shit where you pilot or drive something ends up being complete ass because it departs too much from the standard gameplay, but in this case it’s handled well. The mech controls very similarly to Bayonetta outside of it (most importantly of all the dodge) and is basically just stronger and gives assloads of combo points. Speaking of deviations from the standard gameplay, Bayonetta 2 returns with a riding and flying minigame in 2 chapters again, but they’re shorter and much less of a problem this time around. Not to mention the flying one doesn’t reverse your fucking controls anymore. So that’s appreciated.
Anyway, enemies generally have really nice visual and audio attack cues, with most enemies tending to have distinct flashes and noises that signal when they’re about to attack (or in the case of giant enemies, it’s easier to see their tells and windups). I say generally because there are still a few cases of some moves that have almost no cue and are almost impossible to react to. Notably, the sudden lunging bites from Greeds.
That being said, despite the fact that almost all of the enemies from Bayonetta 1 return in this, the ones that do NOT return happen to be the 2 most bullshit ones that I bitched about the most: Kinships and Joys. Well, that’s only half true. Kinships actually do return, but they are no longer bullshit enemies because their horse shit rocket attacks that are impossible to deal with in the first game have been removed. I’m gonna give the developer the benefit of the doubt and say that this isn’t just a happy coincidence but a deliberate design choice because they’re smart and know what they’re doing.
To lend further credence to this, we now arrive at probably the most shocking thing about Bayonetta 2: that witch time is NOT disabled in infinite climax difficulty. If you remember from my Bayonetta 1 review (and let’s face it, you don’t, because who can remember shit from that far back? Nobody.), witch time is a fun mechanic where every time you successfully dodge an enemy attack you’ll activate a time slow for a couple seconds during which you can freely attack and do whatever you want to enemies and they can’t do shit about it. Now, you should know that the bullshit enemies in Bayonetta 1 aren’t simply a result of one bullshit attack they might have. Rather, the bullshit of these enemies is caused by the fact that Bayonetta was probably balanced around witch time as a core mechanic of the game. And yet when you play on nonstop climax in Bayonetta 1, they decide to just take witch time out of the game but not rebalance enemies or anything of the sort. This results in some imbalanced situations which are not at all a problem with witch time but which become fucking retarded without it, like Kinships.
In my Bayonetta 1 review, I said that witch time is fun, but ironically ends up hurting the game because of the imbalance it causes when it’s removed, and that if they were going to remove it for the main part of the game, then they might as well not have had it in the first place and balanced things exclusively for no witch time. Either have witch time, or don’t have it. Pick one. The Bayonetta 1 approach of having it first and then taking it out later is flat out wrong because: 1) If you decide to be lazy and don’t take another look at enemy interactions without it, you run the risk of balance problems. 2) If you do take the time to rebalance for no witch time, it was still a waste of time to put it in the game because let’s face it: the main and most important part of the game is infinite climax. If you’re not going to have it here then your time would have been better spent on making a better game that didn’t utilize witch time at all.
And so! To my great surprise, Bayonetta 2 doesn’t fall into the trap of unquestioningly following the precepts of the previous game. Rather, they have decided to keep witch time throughout infinite climax as well. Does this mean that Yusuke Hashimoto is a smarter designer than Hideki Kamiya? It is not clear. What is clear is that this makes the game better because it eliminates all possibility of bullshit, even if Kinships, Joys or equivalent enemies were in the game.
Now you may be wondering, “Doesn’t keeping witch time make the game easier than Bayonetta 1?” The answer is that it probably does, but not to a high enough degree that it offsets the benefits of no more bullshit and having a mechanic that is pretty cool.
The only thing I don’t like about this game is that even with Kilgore gone it still has other ways of cheesing the system just like in Bayonetta 1, and even though it does a bit of a better job with the length of the chapters, some of them still tend towards the too long side and could’ve benefited from being broken into two chapters, ’cause going that fucking long without getting hit to get pure platinum awards only to get a gold in combos somewhere near the end and having to start some of these longass chapters over from the beginning is pretty fuckin’ ridiculous if you ask me.
What else? Oh yeah, the loading times are still really bad. I’m talkin’ like… sometimes up to 20 seconds of waiting just to open your god damn fucking inventory screen. Assloads of waiting sometimes in this game, lemme tell you. Story and cutscenes are still shitty, thank god for the skip option. I dunno what their obsession is with putting annoying brats in these games but it pisses me off. At least king of badasses Rodin is still in the game and is still a massive fuckin’ badass so there’s that saving grace.
Anyway, get this fucking game. It ain’t even close to being worse than Bayonetta 1. It’s fun, it’s awesome, and it’s great.
Final Verdict: A-
Final Playtime: 97 hours