Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 16th of February, 2018 (EU & NA) & 17th of February, 2018 (JP)
I hope you’re ready to double dip, because Bayonetta 2 isn’t just a Switch port, it’s the definitive must-buy version and I can’t get enough of it.
Bayonetta 3 is coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch and having fallen in love with the series back in 2015, to say I’m excited about it, is an understatement. Whether it’s good or bad, Bayonetta 3 is a Day 1 purchase, but that’s neither here nor now. What is now, is Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 are launching on the Nintendo Switch on the 16th of February and unlike the prequel, Bayonetta 2 on Switch features some crucial new features that have changed Bayonetta 2 for the better, so let’s start with those shall we?
Whereas before in Bayonetta 2 for Nintendo Wii U, where you could acquire a Samus Aran, Link, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy costume for Bayonetta for her new Bayonetta 2 look and Bayonetta 1 look, along with a Star Fox costume for the Bayonetta 2 look (short hair,) by purchasing them with Halos, the Switch version of the game offers you a quicker means of getting them. In addition to spending Halos, whenever you’re paying Rodin a visit over at the Gates of Hell, you can actually use amiibo to unlock the costumes and we’re not just talking about using a Link amiibo to get a Link costume, as some are specific (Metroid/Samus amiibo for Bounty Hunter outfit and etc,) but other amiibo can be used as well, to unlock every purchasable costume and I mean every purchasable costume!
But that’s not the best bit, as well as being able to scan a whopping 32 amiibo a day, which can unlock you costumes and save you a whole lot of money and unlock the Chain Chomp weapon, but amiibo will also gift you things like edible lollipops with status boosting effects and Halos, starting at 4,000 Halos per amiibo you scan in, but if you have the 32 to scan in, it goes from 4,000 to 8,000, 12,000, 16,000 and 20,000 Halos. Or to say it in a simpler fashion, if you have 32 amiibos to scan in, you can easily guarantee yourself well over 400,000 Halos. So, if you’re hoping of getting 9,999,999 Halos, just so you can do battle against one of the game’s best returning Bosses from the first game, amiibo will help you get there a lot faster.
Still, even then, that’s not all they’ll do as amiibo also have one more fun use in Bayonetta 2 and that is the messages you get every time you scan in an amiibo. Granted the messages are unique to game franchises, so any Zelda amiibo will get a Hyrule related message, which is the same every time, but when you scan a Splatoon related amiibo, Rodin goes on about the kids and squids of Inkopolis and wanting to talk to Sheldon and get a N-Zap. Super Smash Bros. amiibo cause Rodin to talk about Bayonetta being part of a fight club, Mushroom Kingdom amiibo cause Rodin to bring up golf, tennis and go-karting. My favourite message though, is when you scan the Player 2 Bayonetta amiibo (long haired Bayonetta.) Rodin goes on to say “Now some may prefer long or short, but me, I just wanna see what your hair’ll do next!” When I saw that, I just smiled, because it’s something Bayonetta fans are actually wondering and its one nifty little way of putting a Bayonetta 3 reference into Bayonetta 2 that most players never see. Oh, and for what it’s worth, the Player 1 (short haired) Bayonetta amiibo, also has a unique message of its own, but it’s not as good as the Player 2 one.
Local Wireless Cooperative Play:
As great as the amiibo support is, it’s not the only thing that’s new, so let’s talk about Local Play. Whereas before Tag Climax, an arena like mode where you can take on various challenges against Demons, Angels and Bosses, on other platforms supported online only co-op, Local Play has arrived! This doesn’t mean you can grab a friend, shove a controller in their hand and sit side by side as you fight together, as proper local co-op isn’t supported, but as long as there is a nearby player or friend, you will be able to play with them through local connection, but that’s only really any good, if you have someone local to play with, which at the time of this review, I didn’t, just like I didn’t have the chance to play an online game with anyone as, no one ever seemed to be online playing Tag Climax, at the same time I was.
Now, although Tag Climax doesn’t actually feature anything new other than Local Play, as stated in-game, because this section has mentioned Tag Climax, I’m going to properly cover it before we move on to the third new feature Bayonetta 2 can proudly boast about. So, whether online or offline and partnered with a CPU, Tag Climax is a multiplayer mode where you must play through 6 battles that can be as easy or hard as you want it to be, if you place a wager on each match to intensify its difficulty, in a bird to win more Halos if you win all 6 matches. Lose the match though, and you’ll lose any Halos you gambled and have to start another sequence of 6 stages. The good news however, is should you or your companion die, as you have your own life bars, the fallen fighter can be revived but if you risk your life to save them and die in the process, its game over.
But should you need a good reason to play this mode that isn’t just playing it over and over in the hopes of making the randomly triggered Verse Cards to pop up, how about the fact that it will allow you to unlock 2 very special characters that can only be played when doing Tag Climax and they are Balder and Rodin! Yes, that’s right, the big, bad and very powerful, former Angel, Rodin is playable and he is a major bad arse who knows how to destroy his enemies and to play as him, you will need to beat him in Tag Climax, so good luck with that, you might just need it. Other characters you can play as during the event, whom are unlocked via other means are Rosa and Jeanne, who can be acquired through the main game and of course Bayonetta.
While you may think this last edition might not be all that, you’re wrong. Video Capture is a feature that does not appear in every game on Switch and for the Bayonetta games on Switch, it is an absolute necessity and something of a game changer. Whereas before when something cool, amazing or unbelievable happened in the Bayonetta games, of which there are many, the only way you could save, is if you had a capture card, but now you just have to have a Nintendo Switch and hold the Screen Capture button and 30 seconds of pure Bayonetta action is yours, to do with what you will. Video Capture is hands down one of the very best things that could ever happen to the Bayonetta series and it would not surprise me if come the weekend that follows the release of both Bayonetta games, all we see is video after screenshot, after video all over social media.
Improved Performance over the Wii U:
For the players who were hoping Bayonetta 2 would run better than its formerly Wii U exclusive counterpart, it does to some degree. Whether you play the game docked or undocked, Bayonetta 2 maintains a steady 720p, like the Wii U version, but textures have been partially improved to improve the game overall, with the docked and undocked display being identical, but Bayonetta 2 does strive to maintain 60 FPS, with the undocked version being less smoother than the docked version, but much better than the framerate as seen on the Wii U, which would often drop in most areas of the game, but the image quality is essentially the same, with all cut-scenes running at 30 FPS.
Should you consider yourself a Bayonetta expert, you might not need to read up on anything else this review has to offer, as all that is new in Bayonetta 2 has been covered already, but if you feel like you’re in need of refresher course, then I hope you’re comfortable, because there’s quite a bit to get through!
Developed by the talented PlatinumGames, Bayonetta 2 is a hack and slash very similar to Devil May Cry, except the Hero of Bayonetta is a Heroine. A long-legged Heroine, who walks like a cat-walk model, is very comfortable with her body and sexuality and has guns equipped to her boots, with her clothes made up of her own hair. (Wait, what?) Yes, her clothes are made up of her hair, as she is an Umbra Witch and it’s one of the powers they possess, along with Demons they can summon as part of their Wicked Weaves and Summons, provided they’ve entered into a contract with those they control. (Everything has a price.)
As for the events of Bayonetta 2, it’s actually something of a direct sequel, as the events of both games are a full circle kind of deal, but those revelations don’t come in until nearer to the end, so until then, it starts as a simple day out gone wrong, a few months after the end of the first game. With it being the holiday season, Bayonetta and her childhood friend Jeanne, just want to do some Christmas shopping, but Angels have other ideas as they want to attack the pair and for a while they’re able to hold their own in a fight, but what is supposed to be a simple summon, ends up being anything but and it’s suddenly a race against time to save a dear friend. Only, while it’s clear what Bayonetta needs to do to right the wrong and knows exactly where she needs to go, (Fimbulventr as it is the only place in the human realm that connects to Inferno and Paradiso,) Bayonetta 2’s story does not solely remain as a rescue mission. Why? Well, let’s just say we haven’t heard the last of The Eyes of the World and the rulers of the *Trinity of Realities.
*The Trinity of Realities is a term often used in both Bayonetta games to describe the nature of in-game universe. A universe that consists of 3 main dimensions, with the first being Paradiso. Paradiso is home to the Laguna, aka Angels, houses the trait of Light and is an interpretation of Heaven. It’s also the dimension the Lumen Sages were closest to and was ruled by Jubileus, the Creator. Second is the Human Realm, a place of Chaos where humanity was once ruled by Aesir, a divine being who governed the world in the way he saw fight until one day he gave his eyes to the humans, so that they can shape the world how they see it, with his Right Eye going to those who would become Lumen Sages and the Left Eye to Umbra Witches. The last realm and home to darkness and Infernal Demons, is Inferno. It is ruled over Queen Sheba and is the place Umbra Witches go when they die. The Trinity of Realities was not always part of the universe though, as it only came to be after the First Armageddon, which tore the then universe apart and gave way to the three that followed.
As it turns out, Jubileus was not quite the creator the first game lead us to believe she was, as there was another who actually created the Eyes of the World and with nothing standing in his way, whilst Bayonetta is trying to save the soul of her friend, which is now in Inferno and about to be devoured, the God of Chaos is making a power play to regain what was once his and there is nothing he won’t do to make sure things go his way, so before she knows it, Bayonetta soon finds herself having to make a new friend and save the world once more, but this time from the true villain who has been orchestrating things for the last 500 years to reclaim his Godhood.
Now, looking back at all of the previous paragraphs story-wise, considering as Bayonetta 2 is a game that’s been out for a few years now, although I could have gone very detailed with the spoilers, as Bayonetta 2 a Wii U exclusive, not everyone played it and like I said in my Bayonetta 1 review, there is actually a limit as to how much I can say as game’s ending is under embargo. What I can say though, is that things do come full circle and if you are going to play 1 Bayonetta game, you really need to get both because although both feel complete separately, big picture wise, they are each one side of a coin that comes completed when put together.
On the subject of actual gameplay, visuals and content, visually, the cut-scenes and the animation are stunning throughout. They don’t compare to those you’d see in games like Destiny 2, but the cut-scenes are like watching a top quality animated movie with outstanding voice acting from Hellena Taylor (the voice of Bayonetta.) Similar to the movie segments, Bayonetta 2, like the game before it, opt for a realistic approach that’s lifelike and draw your eye to the world around you when not busy fighting. Sometimes though, in the midst of battle, it is hard to keep your eyes on the action, because there are some instances, like when your surfing on the side of a waterfall like torrent of water, flying on a jet, in Inferno, or battling a Lumen Sage that you find yourself looking away because in the background, there are two gigantic creatures knocking seven shades out of one another.
Still, that’s just one way the action is displayed, the other ways are the action you can do yourself. Successfully dodging an attack at the last second will allow Bayonetta to enter Witch Time, a state where her enemies slow down and she can deliver absolute hell upon them, so whether you want to shoot them with Y, punch them with X, kick with A, or just jump on them with A, feel free to mix it up at any time. During the earlier instances of Bayonetta the action can seem a little repetitive, but with trips to the Gates of Hell, which can be visited when exploring through the levels, or via the game’s menu, you can use the Halos you earn to buy new attacks and weapons that have been unlocked via collecting Angelic Hymns Gold LPs and LP fragments that can be recovered from certain battles and treasure chest like structures. In one trip, you could buy a whip and in the next you could buy chainsaws and before you know it, they equipped to your hands and feet and you’re causing maximum devastation and that’s before you’ve entered Umbran Climax (infinite Wicked Weaves for a short duration when playing as Bayonetta or Jeanne.)
*Please note the buttons mentioned only apply to when playing with a controller, as there are touch-screen and tilt-screen controls present and they work very nicely indeed.
Something else that can occur in battle is button prompts that will allow you to do things like Ride an angel, Punish them, Torture them and even Climax for the bigger enemies, such as bosses, which is when the big guns are pulled out and no mercy is given. When not fighting though, as there is more than just epic battles to Bayonetta and being evaluated for each fight in each level, with combos, time and damage taken being contributing factors that can see you earn Stone, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Pure Platinum medals, there’s also exploration. While some levels in Bayonetta 2 are boss specific or just reduce how much of there you can go and what you can do, others will let you explore a cities, ruins and more and if more movement is required, there are transformations that can speed things up like turning into a panther to run faster on land and a snake transformation for when in water.
When exploring, the varied locations Bayonetta 2 has to offer, as it will have you visit Paradiso, Purgatorio (a parallel dimension to the human realm, which Angels, Demons, and gifted humans can travel through, to carry out secret desires out of the sight of man,) Inferno and the human realm, there are secrets everywhere and come in different forms. From portals to a fight club like dimension called Muspelheim, where challenges can be carried out in the efforts to earn Broken Witch Heart pieces and Broken Moon Pearl that can expand the life and magic bars, which can also be found randomly amongst the levels, to books that when read offer more insight into world and history of Bayonetta 2, there are also Umbran Crows. Like Umbran Tears of Blood, which are a form of in-game achievements, Umbran Crows are part of said achievement and are crows that emit a red aura that when found, can to be collected. If you can catch them, as they are prone to flying off, they will return to where they were perched, provided you back away enough for them to respawn.
Now, due to the extent of discoverable items and battles on each level, you’re bound to beat most of them without properly completely each level, but you can replay them at any time to grab whatever you missed, but you will have to replay the whole level, which depending on your skill level and the difficulty mode you choose to play, can easily take 10-30 minutes, so never revisit a level, unless you know you have the time to play, because no one wants to start what they can’t finish when it comes to Bayonetta 2. (Or is that just me?) But because I mentioned the word finish and there are no real faults with Bayonetta 2 and I’ve said everything I could about the things I have permission for, it is time to bring this review to end!
Bayonetta 2 on Switch, is still the hard-hitting title it once was on Wii U, except now PlatinumGames and Nintendo have found a way to make it even better and it’s all thanks to amiibo support and the Video Capture. Sure the Local Play is a nice touch, as it will let anyone with the game, in the vicinity play with you, but I would have liked some support for proper local support so someone sitting in the same room as you to play as well, as this was something I felt was missing every time I played Tag Climax on the Wii U version. But Bayonetta 2 is a bloody yet brilliant adventure that certainly deserves a rerelease because now it can resonate with an audience that will greatly enjoy it and see it for the masterpiece it is! So thank you PlatinumGames, you have taken fan-service to another level!
THE VERDICT: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by Nintendo