Bayonetta 1+2 Review
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Release Date: February 16th
ESRB Rating: M
Thank You Nintendo of America for a Review Copy of this Game
The original Bayonetta created new standards for the action game genre, but the series never took off in the way Platinum games and Sega wanted. It was very likely that a Bayonetta 2 would be a pipe dream. That is until Nintendo stepped in and brought this passion project to life, bringing gamers one of the greatest action games of all time. Now they’re in your hands wherever you go on Switch.
The stories of the Bayonetta franchise were never important, and it almost feels like a parody of one that takes itself seriously. Villains will talk about their plans and motivations, but Bayonetta will respond with how little she cares. That’s why most of the games world building, and background details are left to the various logs you find in each chapter. What makes the stories enjoyable is just how thrilling they are thanks to Bayonetta as a protagonist. She’s always being cheeky, and doing something so absurd it’s always a wonder what she’ll do next. Bayonetta 2 is much more vibrant and jovial than its predecessor while managing to be a bigger thrill ride as soon as the prologue.
Of course the thrill ride doesn’t end in cutscenes as the series focuses on its deep combat system and varied level design to immerse the player in a fun world where you beat up angels, and sometimes demons. There are so many mechanics that make up both of these battle systems, you’re probably not going to understand what is possible on the first playthrough. These can range from a sword, to claws, or even a whip. It is possible to stay almost completely airborne and decimate enemies without them being able to touch you. On top of that Bayonetta’s playstyle changes with the new weapons you get. Techniques like these will definitely help get the best rank possible on each chapter, and help players get through hard mode which is unlocked after beating the game. Checkpoints are abundant, even during phases of a boss fight. When you respawn the game refills your health to full. This makes Bayonetta a perfect game for casual gamers who just want to get through the campaign, and don’t care for the ranking system. The ranking system judges players based on the missions you do each chapter. Bayonetta will have to hunt down optional enemy waves just to get that pure platinum trophy. You are judged on damage taken, combos, the use of items, and time so try to utilize the mechanics offered to show this game your skill.
All of this applies to Bayonetta 2 as well, as the games aren’t very different from each other mechanically. It’s not just a copy paste however, in 2 Bayonetta now has the Umbran Climax technique which activates when her magic meter is full. This allows her to unleash a flurry of punches and kicks to decimate the enemy. There’s also a lot of little changes that Bayonetta 2 has to make it a much more enjoyable experience. . The Magic meter now sports multiple uses so it fills up slightly faster than the previous game. Instead of a focus on angels, now Demons are thrown into the mix, increasing enemy variety tenfold. The optional enemy waves return, but have been changed. Levels have opened up more, so now they are relegated to portals, and when you enter you’re given a task. These can range from, beating enemies without taking damage, or beating them during witch time. You are more rewarded this time as the battles that do attribute to your rank, also give you items that can upgrade magic or health. There is a much more rewarding feeling to exploration, and that makes Bayonetta 2 a much better experience.
The Nintendo Switch version of both entries are the only portable experiences this franchise has to offer, and it’s also the preferred way to play for a visual experience. Both modes are 720p, and the visual experience is not dialed back undocked. This causes the game to look really sharp on the Nintendo Switch’s display since the resolution matches. Docked does have a benefit in the form of a much more stable performance. Handheld mode does have some performance issues, and while it is still a step above what the Wii U and 360 offered, the best gameplay experience is docked. Though, during my play sessions I feel like Bayonetta 1 dips far more than 2. Which is interesting because personally, Bayonetta 2 is a better looking game than 1. Due to all the vibrant colors, and the focus on blue as an aesthetic for Bayonetta. The original is a much more muddy looking game, so it seems with the 2nd game the developers wanted the game the age better.
The online mode for Bayonetta 2, Tag Climax is just as fun with friends as ever. Beating up tough enemies as Rodin with friends is a satisfying experience. It also helps that all rewards go to the main game. On Switch it now has wireless local multiplayer, so now you can beat up abominations in the cafeteria at your college. As disappointing as it is to not have split screen, with the game not being locked to sixty frames per second docked, it’s understandable that the development team might have not been able to make it work.
One last feature is the use amiibo and how they affect Bayonetta 2. Amiibos do not have exclusive content tied to them, so what they do is unlock features early. The Nintendo costumes took a lot of halos to unlock in the original, and that is true here. However, an amiibo that is related to that character will unlock that costume. Any Metroid figures will unlock the Bounty Hunter costume for Bayonetta. Any other amiibo will give you items and a large amount of halos, with 32 allowed to be used per day. Depending on the amiibo, Rodin will make a comment on that franchise, and some of it is very funny.
No matter what game you play, both are queens when it comes to the sound design. Attacks are crunchy and the soundtracks are splendid. “Let’s dance boys” is such a head bopping tune, and the battle theme for Bayonetta 2 “Tomorrow is Mine” is going to go down as the most iconic song of the franchise due to how much energy it gives the player, and how it just fits the character. This franchise just feels smooth, and its soundtrack in 2 feels like it was aware that it returned from the depths of inferno. The voice acting is good too, but Enzo the family man will always grate on your ears, purposely.
Overall, this collection is very good, adding cool new features, giving a superior experience to past releases, and just being standout games. No better time to jump in than with a third game coming. Sixty dollars is pretty steep even with two games, but they are worth every penny. Do yourself a favor, and experience these games.