I don’t smile all that often. I try to stay somber as much as possible because it’s a fine way to keep people’s expectations low. Unfortunately, ‘Bayonetta 2’ came out and I couldn’t help but smile for 9 hours or so. ‘Bayonetta 2’ was shocking to me, because it was very low on my radar in terms of upcoming games, but when the reviews came out it quickly became a must-play fall game. And ‘Bayonetta 2’ doesn’t disappoint.
‘Bayonetta 2’ oozes sex, action, and ridiculously conceived set pieces that makes for one of the most interesting single-player experiences of the year. This is a pure and fantastically conceived action game. It’s an anime with wheels and an engrossing challenge of learning to consistently raise your expectations of what can be done in video game design. It’s a game that can be played for the challenge or something to sit down and watch a friend play while you snack on some popcorn. ‘Bayonetta 2’ is as fascinating to watch as it is to play.
But playing ‘Bayonetta’ just feels good. The game runs at a solid 60 FPS regardless of how much ridiculousness is happening on the screen. Combat stays fresh and combos are satisfying, with the quick-time events throwing in some variability. They weren’t particularly interesting mechanically, but the animations that accompany the quick-time events are often incredible. Whether you’re fighting on top of a jet fighter against angels or running across the back of a horrible centipede monster fighting demons, ‘Bayonetta 2’ knows how to create a scene.
This makes ‘Bayonetta 2’ an incredibly fun experience. Moment to moment, ‘Bayonetta 2’ is one of the more entertaining experiences to come out on any platform this year. And the replayability is an added bonus. There are numerous unlocks which can be received simply by collecting “halos” through replaying missions or completing challenges. These include weapons and combos that all can significantly change the way combat is performed. This helps to supplement the idea that ‘Bayonetta 2’ is always raising the stakes.
There is a constant ratcheting up in ‘Bayonetta 2’, but it plateaus significantly in the second half of the story. The developers were consistently creating more and more enticing battles at the beginning of the game, but once the latter half began, ‘Bayonetta 2’ lost its ability to top itself. The latter boss fights weren’t as fun as those in the beginning, as once you get to the story bosses, it becomes just a one-on-one battle with another seemingly human entity. The boss fights were still enjoyable, but they weren’t on the same par as the scale or setting in which the other fights took place.
Oh yeah, the story is just totally uninteresting. Person loses friend, attempts to save friend from the depths of hell. I guess I’m just not so invested in stories in games like ‘Bayonetta 2’, because I’m so busy enthralled with everything else. The story may be of interest to others, and there are some interesting twists and turns, but I was so busy staring around environments and enjoying the mechanics that I never quite became invested in the tale ‘Bayonetta 2’ tried to tell.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEyuZ6Kf2u4]
On the other hand, I read every book of lore and all of the journals I found. I was specifically interested in the monster lore, because the creatures were so hideously well-designed that I couldn’t help but be interested. Stuff like that is often a throwaway for people, but when you create such interesting creatures, it is difficult to help but be interested in what made such a monstrosity.
Regardless, on a personal level, ‘Bayonetta 2’ has done well to revive my faith in a genre that I had felt was getting tired. Action games still can be very good, such as ‘Metal Gear: Revengeance’ and ‘DMC’, but the difference between those and ‘Bayonetta 2’ is that ‘Bayonetta 2’ is the definitive game in the genre and the best game for the Wii U (mad props to ‘Super Mario 3D World though). ‘Bayonetta 2’ brought out a child-like quality in me, in that I rediscovered a genre and smiled because I had forgotten to possibilities that the genre could bring to the table. I honestly think this game will stay fresh in my mind as an important piece of work and hopefully everyone else who picks it up feels the same.
10 years from now, when we talk about this generation of consoles, ‘Bayonetta 2’ will be on many people’s lists as not only one of the best action games, but best video games of the generation. Unfortunately, many people won’t get to experience this, as it’s handcuffed to a console with a tiny user-base. But for those who do, this game is a factory of fond memories, brilliant boss-fights, and the mere mention of the title of ‘Bayonetta 2’ will instantly illicit a knowing smile and a distant gaze remembering that time they boxed a giant angel-monster.
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