Platinum games have one of those extremely hallowed positions within almost all gamers hearts, for no other indie studio has reached such heights or produced such a gloriously bonkers resume of titles. From Mad World, Vanquish, Anarchy Reigns and even Metal Gear Rising Revengance, the biggest mouthful of the MGS series to date.
Everything Platinum touches seems to turn exactly that. Platinum.
None more so than Bayonetta, the cult smash that seemed to effortlessly give Devil May Cry a marathon like run for its money, in both inexplicably off the wall plot and maddeningly fast paced action that would leave most ADHD addled kids begging for a stop for breath. It redefined exactly what it meant to be a 3D.
After almost 4 years away, the buxom, bad ass witch is back, this time as a Wii U exclusive title and its clear that, not only has time been kind to everyones favourite witch, but the industry has been starved of her for too long!
Starting how it means to go on, Bayonetta 2 kicks off right in the middle of a battle against demons, angels and weird goblin people, all on top of a larger demon that’s floating out in space. Oh, and there is of course some casual and breathy narration slapped over the events, because, well why not?
Serving as a tutorial of sorts, although don't expect any actual guidance, you’ll be reminded just how deep the games fighting mechanics are while still offering a sweet learning curve for the uninitiated.
With your basic two attacks, a gun and the ability to dodge and jump, if you want to leave your knowledge base there then you’ll be perfectly fine to complete the adventure, but take the time to go a bit deeper into the games mechanics and you'll discover just how quickly Bayonetta's skills can unfold, all from simple adjustments to your timing, flicks of the control stick or just holding an attack button for a fraction longer.
This is where the genius of Bayonetta and team Platinum Games lies, producing a combat flow that so smoothly can transition from a quick jab or two into much longer drawn out combos, on many occasion leaving you to ponder, just how in the hell did I do that? It's hugely invigorating and fun to play around with and naturally lends itself to teaching you more as you progress.
Witch time makes a return, a no brainer I know, delivering beautiful set pieces and the chance to take a breath mid fight just as before. Activated by dodging an attack at the final millisecond, time slows to a snails pace which is truly the key to your success if you plan to nail those huge combos. Just as before, Witch Time really works to fuse all the games mechanics together, putting control of every fights rhythm in your hands, if you so wish of course.
Anything you see in Bayonetta 2 would normally be at home as the OTT climax to any brawler, but this sequel is heavy on the big set pieces and delivers them fervently, which often means that you’ll only be given a short stop before lunging forth into the next epic battle on top of a jet fighter before flying around a skyscraper while battering a demon black and blue or dashing off for a swim through the gut of a manta ray as you, again, fight endless hordes of demon spawn along the way, but with the game structured and delivered in such a stylish manner and given its wholly fulfilling fighting system, I never found this to be a problem. Just be prepared to tense up and sweat before each session, so maybe don't play before work…
Settling at around 13-15 hours of gameplay, it wont take you long to tear through the games 15 chapters, but there’s so much to come back for that you’ll easily spend at least double that time, cracking up the difficulty to truly test your mettle. After all, games like Bayonetta are less about completing the story and more about finishing it so you can continue to progress and master the game even further. With so many weapons available to unlock, all of which come complete with fresh fighting styles, as well as hundreds of easter eggs and unlock able characters besides, this is a package of rather epic proportions.
Co-op makes its grand entrance to the series which is a hugely welcome addition, one which I know the community have been eager to see for some time now, giving you the chance to buddy up and tackle any of the games 52 major battles, all in a bid to gain the highest score and those all important bragging rights.
Perhaps the only disappointment really to be found, is the lack of unique support for the Wii U’s game pad. There’s the addition of some basic touch controls and the option to play off screen if you find sharing your TV an issue, but beyond that it feels somewhat of a missed opportunity.
In short, Bayonetta 2 is another fine piece of work from Platinum Games which pushes the boundaries of what it means to be an ‘indie’ developer, as time and time again they produce work which shows such a high level of attention to detail and polish, many so called Triple A studios really should start taking notes.
Refining an already classic game, Bayonetta 2 is exactly what fans of the original have wanted while still offering so much to those that are new to the series, Platinum Games and Nintendo have finally delivered a concrete reason to get your hands on a Wii U.