Bayonetta returns – only better – and remains absolutely, wonderfully, enticingly stark-raving bonkers, perhaps even more so than the original.
I only managed to play the prologue in the provided demo in which Bayonetta, armed with a giant purple scythe, did battle with monstrosities atop a fighter jet as more dropped from a parallel aircraft, was chased chased on a train by a giant monster who was destroying the tracks in her wake, and then flew around what was presumably a stand-in for the Empire State Building attacking the giant hair demon who was besieging it. Stark. Raving. Bonkers. And it was wonderful.
All this took place at a much faster, more frantic pace than the original, so much so that I probably completely missed some other crazy elements that took place. This isn’t a bad step up in pace though, as the already excellent combat seemed to have been adjusted just enough to keep up with it, Bayonetta’s attacks coming much quicker and in broader arcs – though that was perhaps down to my weapon – while maintaining the enemies as a very real threat. The beloved combo system of the original seems to have gone largely unchanged.
Witch Time returns and when facing the giant hair demon that served as a boss, it did seem a little too easy to pull off, thanks in part to the enemy’s attacks being so obviously forecasted. You still need to evade the attacks at the perfect, most opportune moment, but I didn’t really have any difficulty doing so. This could just be the case with bosses, or even this boss in particular, since I wasn’t finding the same with the regular enemies who I really did have to stop and watch to pull it off against.
One of Bayonetta’s new features is Umbran Climax, a new form for Bayonetta that I wasn’t entirely sure how I was activating. It made her attacks more powerful and turned her scythe in a gigantic, ghostly form of itself: A fantastic spectacle, but one that thankfully still required some basic skill to utilise well. I also noticed that some of Bayonetta’s attacks would occasionally swing enemies around on a lasso, sending it crashing into its allies or to the ground to deal massive damage. I didn’t recognise this from the original and the rep confirmed it was new.
Visually, the game is a massive step up from Bayonetta 1, even the version included with Bayonetta 2. This is thanks to a lot of things including better hardware, but what stood out most was the game’s use of colour to provide a more expressive and pleasing palette with which to paint the world.
There’s not a lot to say about Bayonetta 1. It’s the same game but at a higher frame rate and with Nintendo costumes. I used Link’s costume, naturally, and was pleasantly surprised at little touches added: Her fist weapons became Link’s fiery beast gloves from the Zelda games, and her sword became the Master Sword. The halos that serve as currency were also turned into rupees.
I wish that I had more to say on these games than I do. Having only played around 2 hours or so of the 360 version of Bayonetta and only really getting into that genre through the newest Devil May Cry game, Bayonetta wasn’t a game that I was looking forward to.
As far as I can tell the original Bayonetta is untouched in terms of the original gameplay, the most notable additions being the Nintendo based costumes such as Samus, Link etc. It was by no means a game I didn’t enjoy – having grown into the genre since I last played, I am now looking forward to giving it a proper go. It did seem to look a touch better than the 360 version I played way back but that could just be me.
Bayonetta 2 on the other hand was pretty action packed from the get go, and even more so than the original. Like Adam I also opted for the prologue to the game which features two bosses in it though one is more of a mini-boss, in terms of size at least. Again Witch Time was relatively easy to pull off, but the difficulty level and it being the prologue are two good reasons for that. Another good reason – possibly – is that you have to damage enemies in Witch Time in order to build up the meter that activates Umbran Climax.
Umbran Climax is a tonne of fun. Basically it allows you to (please forgive me for this bastardised explanation of things I don’t fully understand lore-wise) do the big hair magic attacks. It essentially means you do lots of damage in a wide radius with gigantic fists and feet, and it looks pretty cool to boot. It works a treat against bosses, who you are constantly dodging and counter-attacking anyway, and it builds up really quickly so you can use it against weaker enemies as you please.