Back when Bayonetta 2 was first announced as a Wii U exclusive I found myself really not caring. It was cool that Nintendo was publishing a M rated game of all companies but I never played the first one and my only option was the PS3 version, which I’m sure you’ve all heard about, so I never bothered. My brother on the other hand was super excited, especially once it was announced that the original Bayonetta was being ported to Wii U and would be free with the purchase of Bayonetta 2. I decided to try it and… let’s get to this part in the review!
Bayonetta is an Action game and it’s very clear while playing that is exactly what it wants to be. Your main modes of attack are guns from your arms and feet. At first I thought this sounded so stupid and was wondering why not just kick? how do guns on your feet even fire? But I found it super useful to pull off combos and sometimes keep enemies at a distance. Combos are another big part of the game. On the loading screen you have a list of all the combos and you can just practice. I’m not sure how well this works as for a test I just mashed X (the punch button) and it was somehow pulling off combos using A (kick) or including pauses when I wasn’t pausing. I never encountered this problem in game so I’m not going to factor it in but I still need to point it out. Bayonetta has other moves such as a dodge, lock-on, just firing her guns without kicking/punching and a few others you can buy. If you dodge at the last second you enter a mode called “Witch Time” which basically puts everything but Bayonetta in slow motion. This can be used both in battle and out. I’ll get into the out in a bit. For certain enemies there are other special moves you can pull off. Most enemies have a “Torture Attack” which has Bayonetta put them into some torture device from some point in history and basically torture the enemy to death. These were often fairly funny seeing just what she’d do to everything (each enemy type has a specific she’ll use so some of the more common ones got a little boring after a while).
When not in battle Bayonetta can use all her moves and some actually help with puzzles. Sometimes you’ll run into two statues next to each other and if you pull them up lightning will strike you, which if you dodge with the right timing you’ll go into Witch Time which can help you walk on water and get past some barriers, among other things. At first I thought these would be a huge pain but the timing become almost second nature by the time I was done and, while these are used fairly often, they weren’t super overused. In the over world you can also find books which I never went back and read but appear to give you extra information (you also get one the first time you encounter an enemy type including bosses) LPs which when you take them to the shop (Gates of Hell) you can get new weapons, I believe you also unlock some music from this but I can’t confirm that, and chests which can include a verity of items, keys and bullets for Angel Attack (a bonus game at the end of each Chapter that has you fire at enemies with bullets you’ve found to earns points that you can exchange for either halos or items). Every once in a while you will find a shop called The Gates of Hell. In this shop you can buy things you’d expect to, items, upgrades, etc. Something I thought was fun was trying all the moves even if you couldn’t afford them, kind of pointless but fun none the less. If you bring a completed LP in you’ll also get a new weapon for free. These are pretty interesting for the most part.
There are also some levels that mix it up a bit. One has you riding a motorbike while shooting cars and avoiding traps and another has you on a ship shooting missiles at enemies. These parts aren’t super amazing but are a nice breather in the main gameplay.
The last thing I want to talk about is the story. The story is nothing ground breaking, basically Bayonetta is a witch who awoke after being sealed at the bottom a lake for 500 years. She can go in between dimensions to fight off demons, which is where she’ll spend most of her time. She also has amnesia and she finds out a little of her past at parts of the game. I’m not going to spoil anything but her backstory is actually far more interesting than I thought it would be.
The game looks really good. I think it was just the Xbox 360 version ported as from what I’ve seen Bayonetta 2 looks nicer (yet to play at the time of writing this review) but it still looks quite nice. The infamous frame rate issues of the PS3 version are no where to be found in the Wii U version as it ran perfectly fine from what I could tell. Sometimes I noticed the start of a cutscene would lag a bit but it was only for a second or two then it was fine, and the issue was also very infrequent. I also noticed sometimes the subtitles would change a little quickly and get out of sync with the dialogue but again, it fixed itself and was a very rare occurrence. You also have the ability to look at all the in game models and concept art once you’ve beaten the game and the models look really good.
A bonus feature to the Wii U version is alternate costumes based around different Nintendo characters. These included Peach, Daisy, Link and Samus. They didn’t change up gameplay too much which is why I’m mentioning them down here, but they changed aesthetics around. The hair attacks changed to match something of that character (Peach and Daisy has Bowser’s arms and legs pop out instead of hair shaped like arms and legs for example) and the halos would looks like Coins or Rupees if you’re playing as Peach, Daisy or Link. This was neat, and while I only tried each costume once while mainly sticking to default, I kinda of wish there were a few more such as Zelda or a Female Pokèmon Trainer or even someone like King Dedede. There is a Star Fox one in Bayonetta 2 and I’m a little confused as to why that was left out of this one.
The soundtrack is amazing. I’ve heard Bayonetta 2’s is even more amazing which makes me wonder how it can be as amazing as some are claiming. Anyway while I haven’t found myself humming any of the songs afterwards I still think they did an incredible job with the soundtrack. You can listen to it in the Extras menu once you’ve beat the game and its just as amazing there. The voice work is also really good. Every character has a distinct voice and they all fit the character. Bayonetta especially do a great job conveying emotions and this is the first game I’ve played in a while were I didn’t think any characters suffered from their voice actor or didn’t sound right.