Games reviewed in 10 straight-to-the-point questions.
Game: Bayonetta 2
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed) / WiiU
Time to beat: 10 hours for normal playthrough / 20-25 hours completionist
Q1: Who’s it for?
- Fans of hack-and-slash series like Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, or God of War
- Anyone who likes over the top action, fighting sequences with the opportunity to compound combos and switch weapons on the fly
- Bayonetta 2 also provides a lot of unlockables, both in the form of skill-enhancing tool as well as cosmetic ones, such as attires and accesories
Q2: What’s the learning curve like?
Compared to the first Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2 has a much kinder learning curve. The game does a good job at introducing you to new abilities by letting you practice before acquiring, so you only need add to your move set when you feel you are ready for the new techniques.
You can actually play through the full game with Bayonetta’s starting move set, although you would be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on some of the most fluid and versatile combat system in recent years.
You also unlock weapons as you progress through the game, and they are all entirely optional, so you are able to use them whenever you are comfortable with the previous one.
Additionally, during loading screens you have the opportunity to activate practice mode, in case you feel you need some warming up before jumping into action. Be warned, though, the loading screens are fairly short (since the game is now loading off of a cartridge or internal memory), so you’ll have to be quick to activate this mode.
Q3: What’s the story like, and does it require any pre-existing knowledge?
The story here is as convoluted as the first one, picking up not too long after the first game ends (at least enough time for Bayonetta to get a new hairdo). It introduces a variety of new characters, with whom you feel you build a bond as you progress through the game.
It isn’t an absolute necessity to enjoy this installment, but I felt like having played the first one did make me care more for some of the new characters introduced, and added some weight to the impact of my actions. If story isn’t your thing, though, you can completely ignore it and still have a blast playing this game.
Q4: What are the controls like?
I actually started this up right after finishing the first Bayonetta (yeah, I got the bundle), and during the early stages, it really felt like I was playing an additional chapter of the first game. Bayonetta controls largely the same as the first game, with a few minor adjustments that make the combat more fluid.
Overall, the controls for this game are great and really responsive, which is key for a game that relies on split-second attacks and dodges.
Q5: Does it have splitscreen?
Unfortunately, no. If you only have one Switch, you will be playing this game by yourself.
Q6: How’s the online component?
There is a game mode called Tag Climax, which partners you with a buddy to play through waves of enemies, much like the Witch Trials in single player. You can do this with local multiplayer (with 2 Switches), or online.
Q7: How’s the presentation?
Visually, this game is much more colorful and sharp-looking than the predecessor. While Bayonetta used a palette oriented towards grey / brown / gold, Bayonetta 2 has a much wider array of colors. As one would expect, the textures and framerate are much better on the second installment, to the point where it’d be hard to go back to the first game after playing this one.
The music is outstanding. It does a really good job of capturing the style and essence of the character and the world you’re in. It is very much in line with the music from the first game, which is a mix of up-beat jazz with Japanese pop music. Very unique and instantly identifiable.
Q8: What are similar games / alternatives you’d recommend?
This being the spiritual successor to the Devil May Cry series, known for stylish and over the top combos and action.
If you’re limited to just your Nintendo Switch, unfortunately there isn’t anything very similar. If you’re looking for 3D action games, you could consider Hyrule Warriors or Xenoblade Chronicles 2. If you’re looking for greater challenges, Celeste, Dead Cells or even Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze will really test you.
Q9: Anything you wish you knew before going in?
Having played the first one, I knew fairly well what to expect, and what was new for this game, was fairly easy to incorporate to my pre-existing understanding of the gameplay. The only advice I could give is to try out all new weapons as they are introduced, so you can pick a favorite.
Now, as an advanced tip for the Witch Trials after the main game, I purchased the Star of Dinèta (for 100,000 halos). This item allows you to recover a small amount of health by taunting your enemy, but makes them more aggressive in the process. By fighting off all enemies down to just one, I’d spam the taunt button to recover some much needed health.
Q10: Should I buy it?
Given that there aren’t many games on the Switch like it, and if you like this genre, this is definitely worth a purchase.
Even if that wasn’t the case, though, this game is absolutely fantastic on its own right, oozing style and polish, but at the same time providing one of the most fluid and satisfying combat systems out there. Definitely in my top 3 for the Switch.
9 out of 10 halos
I've been a gamer since the SNES days and Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever owned.
I currently work as a management consultant, and my console of choice is the Nintendo Switch, which I carry with me during my travels.