Getting Hands-on & Dirty with Bayonetta 2 - Preview

By Chris Matulich, October 11, 2013
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Without Microsoft or Sony at New York Comic Con this year, Nintendo basically has the show to itself, save for the Ubisoft and the DC lineup of games. With all of the major upcoming releases available for demos, nothing had a longer line than Bayonetta 2, and rightfully so. It's certainly looking bigger, faster, better and a whole lot more visceral than its predecessor. This could actually be a title that will help boost the Wii U's meager sales, the "killer app" as they say.

The demo throws the player right into the action aboard a flying ship swarmed with demons, then transitions into a runaway train being chased by an enormous hell spawn, and finally ends with one of the new flying sequences with Bayonetta sprouting wings. It holds the same ultra fast paced style of the original, and kicks it up another notch. The level transitions are a great way to keep action fast and unique, providing different ways to evade and battle the demon forces, as well as introducing new abilities, like Bayonetta's wings. Where some 3rd person flying sequences can become chaotic, the camera stays focused and keeps the action from becoming hard to follow. 

Bayonetta has a vast array of moves at her disposal, allowing for many creative and varied combos to be strung together that include many of her signature moves, like the Wicked Weave giant hair attacks, as well as new abilities and weapons, such as the Umbra Climax that changes all of Bayonetta's normal attacks into Wicked Weaves for the duration of the magic bar. Throwing in some of her classic gun shoes and the all-new dual blades expands her moveset even further, and gives Beyonetta plenty of combative options.

Torture and pain attacks, as well as the dodge-encouraging Witch Time all make a return, allowing for even more unique combos to be strung together. Each move has a fraction of a delay attached to it, so almost any move can be thrown into a combo for stylish and brutal results. You can choose to play either using a traditional control scheme or by using the touch screen, but the touchpad takes a lot of the challenge out of the game, only requiring simple taps on an enemy to perform combos and swiping to evade. Don't be surprised if you see that it supports the use of the Wii U Pro controller closer to release.

Like most Platinum Games titles, enemies and bosses are grotesquely beautiful. Their demonic originality is a sight to behold, filling up the screen with giant fangs and flailing tentacle arms and destroying the superbly detailed city where the action takes place. Animations are crisp and fluid, looking every bit as gorgeous as the original. Beyonetta's new short hair works extremely well, giving her a more mature, yet still very sexified look. While the visuals in general are a bit cleaner and more attention has been spent on little details, like the countless strands of hair during Wicked Weave attacks, there's not much graphical difference between Bayonetta 2 and the original. The music similarly maintains an ultra fast pace, with demonic roars and shredding guitars pleasing the ears and bolstering the gameplay. 

Bayonetta 2 looks to be one of the best games that will come out on the Wii U in early 2014 and, honestly, it can't come any sooner for Nintendo. With only one or two major releases set for the Holiday season, the Wii U needs all the help it can get. At least Bayonetta 2 will have a much harder time getting out of its exclusivity than Rayman Legends did, as Nintendo has foot the bill for the sequel, so I wouldn't hold my breath for a PS3 or 360 port.

The original Bayonetta was pure gameplay magic, and it's successor is no exception. It's crisp, lightning fast, and wonderfully and viciously violent. Above all else, it's simply a blast to play.

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