Game Title: Bayonetta 2
Developer: Platinum Games, Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Retail | Digital Download
Battery Life: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Download: 12.4 GB
When I started playing the Bayonetta games, it was easy to see two major things I hear about the games: The Sexual Fanservice and the Fun with the game’s combat system. Bayonetta 1 had an almost-dominatrix attitude towards its main character and the dodge mechanic made the combat system very unique when compared to other games like it.
Of course, when I finished the first game and moved onto the second, I expected both of those themes to still be present, but much much worse. In that regard, I feel like a lot of news venues from back at that game’s launch were quite misleading, especially towards how they treated the sexual fanservice.
But I’ll get to that later. You know enough to see what we’re about to do. So, here is my review of Bayonetta 2 for the Nintendo Switch!
Bayonetta 2 takes place an undisclosed amount of time after the events of the original Bayonetta. While fighting off Angels in the middle of a city, an Infernal summoned by Bayonetta goes Berserk and attacks Jeanne, leaving her soul in limbo and her body slowly degrading towards Death. In order to rescue her friend’s soul, she journies to the mythic mountain Fimbulventr, where the rumored entrance to Inferno is located.
The story of Bayonetta 2 is very different from the original, mostly that Bayonetta has toned down on her heavy use of sex humor from the previous game and has become a more serious, flirty protagonist and less of the dominatrix she was before. With that in mind, there is also a larger focus on the lore and the new story of this game with less sex humor to distract you from it.
That isn’t to say that it is all great and wonderful. The plotline around the new character, Loki, feels a little too mysterious at the start, and too rushed at the end. We go from learning tiny tidbits about him while he escorts Bayonetta to the Gates of Hell to him instantly knowing everything and explaining it all right before the final battle starts.
One last thing: I’ve seen loads of people in the Nintendo Switch community recommended gamers completely skip the first game and start with the second game and I can’t disagree with this more than I already do. A lot of scenes in Bayonetta 2 go off of lore set up in the first game, especially the nature and character of many of the major bosses and major story events of Bayo 1. If you start with 2, there will be a lot of confusion.
Bayonetta 2 isn’t much different from its predecessor in regards to its genre. Like games like God of War, this is a 3D action game with platforming elements. It is just like Bayonetta 1, though almost all of the puzzle aspects of the original have been removed from the sequel.
Outside of the removal of the puzzles, what is new to this game over the original? The biggest addition is a new way to use your Magic Gauge, known as Umbran Climax, allowing you to enter an elevated state and use powerful, staggering attacks to do huge amounts of damage outside of using the typical Torture Attacks on non-boss enemies from the first game.
The other addition is Tag Climax, a new Co-Op Game Mode, where you can team up with another play locally or online and bet Halos (Currency) on scores as you fight through consecutive battles with enemies.
Not really additions, but there have been a lot of balancing changes made to the game’s formula. Most enemies can be easily staggered and fought without using the Dodge Mechanic and Witch Time, QTEs give you more time for button inputs, items have bigger effects, etc. It’s all around a much simpler and easier game than its predecessor. It does have some difficult bosses, but they’ve got nothing on the bosses from Bayo 1.
This mostly comes down to how combat has changed. You still have button combination-oriented attacks, but the Umbran Climax system changes how you fight. In Bayo 1, you timed dodges so you could have openings to attack. In Bayo 2, you can fight like that until your Magic Gauge is full and use Umbran Climax, which instantly staggers and interrupts almost every boss in the game, leaving them helpless to defend themselves from the powerful combos of this new ability. Not to mention that it’s far easier to cancel attacks and dodge for near-infinite Witch Time if you are aware enough to watch your opponent as you attack.
What hasn’t change, though, is the way you play the game in terms of progression. You still explore large 3D environments, platform around various areas, collect currency from enemies to buy items, weapons, and costumes, and participate in epic giant boss fights. The core gameplay is still here. It’s just been tweaked to be easier to grasp than the original game made it out to be.
Now, let’s talk about the unfortunate length attached to this game. It took me around 15 hours to beat the Story Mode of Bayo 1, but it only took me around 9 hours to clear the same in Bayo 2 on the Normal Difficulty. Considering this game costs $50 whether you buy it alone or along with the original game, that isn’t very much time. You could add Tag Climax in there and maybe get an extra hour or so, but in terms of story completion, it’s only a big over half the length of the original game for almost twice the price.
With replayability, you unlock Jeanne as a playable character for clearing the Story Campaign on any difficulty, along with Post-Game Costumes to save up Halos to buy. But, do note that playing as Jeanne doesn’t change the story or the cutscene voices. It just replaces Bayonetta’s in-game model with Jeanne’s.
Controlling this game is slightly different than the first, mostly that some of the trigger controls from Bayo 1 have been tossed around a bit.
Moving is done with the Left Analog Stick and moving the camera is done with the Right Analog Stick. The R trigger is used for changing weapon styles and L is used for triggering Umbran Climax. ZL is used for lock-ons, and ZR is used for dodging.
Most of the rest is the same. B is used for jumpiing, X for shooting, Y for punching attacks, and A for kicking attacks. All of that is the same as the original game. It is mostly the trigger buttons that have been altered.
It’s worth noting that the camera issue present in the original Bayonetta is not present here. The camera is much smarter and I never had issues while fighting smaller Boss Fights like I did in Bayo 1.
Graphically, the original game looked pretty good, but this game looks incredible. The cutscenes have flawless graphics and gameplay is only slightly underneath them. When you’re running around and fighting off enemies, you’ll be convinced that gameplay looks just as flawless as the scenes do. While there are occasional jagged edges to be seen in screenshots or in handheld mode, the game overall just looks beautiful.
Performance is just as beautiful. Just like Bayo 1, this game runs at a perfect 60 fps in both Docked and Handheld Modes, offering perfectly fluid gameplay experiences that exceeds that of its Wii U counterpart.
Amazingly-enough, higher graphics don’t mean less Battery Life. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 37 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 48 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 30 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 36 minutes
While that Max Brightness setting is actually a little less time than Bayonetta, the Lower Brightness settings actually give you more Battery Life than the original game, which is pretty incredible considering how much higher in quality this game is.
In conclusion, Bayonetta 2 is everything the original game was taken to a grander scale. Although the story behind its new character is a bit rushed and a mere 9 hour Story Mode is pretty disappointing, this sequel proves to be an even faster-paced adventure that fans of the original and action games are sure to enjoy.