e3 2014

Bayonetta 2 – Hands on a Bad Hair Day

bayonetta2 (7)

The witch is back, and she makes the Wii U feel like a console for mature audiences for once.

I have to admit: I never played Bayonetta. It’s nothing personal. I just didn’t get into the action combat game when it was on Xbox 360 and PS3. When the sequel was announced as a Wii U exclusive to be published by Nintendo, though, it piqued my interest because the struggling console didn’t have a mature follow up to the immensely satisfying Zombi U in the works. Bayonetta 2 could have been that game, but it was delayed until this fall, nearly 2 years since the Wii U’s debut. Now that I got a chance to play it, I’m sad it hadn’t come out sooner. It might have saved flagging Wii U sales.

You play as the witch Bayonetta. Despite her skin-tight leather outfit and funky hair, she looks so much like Sarah Palin that it’s impossible to unsee it now. I love the empowered woman as a character, however, and she kicked so much ass in the short time I had with the game that I started thinking about how I could put pistols on my shoes just like her.

The action combat was very easy to learn and control. You punch and kick and shoot with various button presses, but it’s in creating combinations of those attacks that you can really rack up some damage on your foes. The dodge mechanic returns, and if you time it just right you can enter a mode called “Witch’s Time,” slowing down your surroundings so you can pummel your enemies that much more. To be honest, I just spent most of my time mashing buttons and following the prompts on the screen and I had a pretty good time with it. Of course, that could have been because the demo build made Bayonetta invulnerable, so your mileage may vary when you can actually die.

You might think the lack of a challenge would reduce the fun, but I was completely wowed by the environments, the enemies and the overall feel of the sequence I played that it didn’t matter. I started out battling a few angels on the back of fighter jet. Yeah. Then once I killed all those bastards with a whipping hair attack followed up with a few shots from my heel guns, a huge demon appeared. I ended up battling that thing as it wove around the top of a train, fending off attacks while whaling on it when it was vulnerable and close. I used umbra magic to summon another demon through a portal on a building to eat the monster – like you do – but then that thing got out of control. I ended sprouting wings and flying around the top of the skyscraper as the demon crawled around it like some freaky drug trip King Kong sequence.

And this was all in about five minutes. It was crazy, fast-paced and tons of pure joy. I can’t wait to check out Bayonetta 2 when it comes out on the Wii U here in North America in October. And because it’s bundled with the first Bayonetta – including the unlockable “cosplay” costumes of Zelda and other Nintendo characters – I’ll get to see where the series began.


About the author