I said in my Bayonetta review that ‘it doesn’t get much better than this’. I was wrong. It does get better, and by ‘better’ I mean Bayonetta 2. As fantastic as I thought the original Bayonetta was, it wasn’t a perfect game. Graphically, it was a little rough in places and the frame rate would take the occasional hit.
The camera could prove awkward during some battles, particularly some of the larger boss battles. Oh, and by far the worst aspect of Bayonetta was the rather unforgiving and pointless insta-death QTEs. Even playing through the original twice on 360 and once on Wii U, these moments still catch me out. I really don’t like them at all.
Bayonetta 2 fixes all of these issues. The frame rate is rock solid. The camera is always perfectly placed. Graphically, it’s very polished, and they removed the QTE nonsense entirely. But not only did they completely fix my issues with the original game, they even improved upon nearly every aspect of the original.
Visually, Bayonetta 2 is stunning. Whereas the original was more dark and dour, the sequel is bright and vibrant. There’s more variety to environments and enemy design, all of which look absolutely amazing. Bayonetta 2 is one of the most graphically engaging titles you’ll ever play. As for the music, it’s all pretty good, but I do think Bayonetta 1 had a stronger overall soundtrack. If there’s one thing Bayo 1 did do better, it’s that.
The combat, of course, is the most important element of Bayonetta 2. I adored the combat of the original so much that I didn’t want some fights to end. And yet, they’ve actually improved upon the combat in some small, but very important ways.
The combat of Bayonetta 2 feels refined to perfection. It feels more fluid, with smoother transitions between combos, dodges and animations. The controls feel more tight and responsive. It’s hard to say exactly why it feels better – it just does. I can’t be sure, but I do wonder if they’ve made the timing for dodge and combo inputs slightly more forgiving, giving you an extra half a second or so to pull them off.
As a result, Bayonetta 2 does also feel quite a bit easier than the original did, at least on the default Normal difficulty. But I don’t see this as a bad thing, as these tweaks do make combat feel even more fluid, responsive and enjoyable.
This is also a result of a far better camera. Even during the larger fights, the camera sensibly sweeps back and forth to give you the most appropriate angle. Unlike the original, you won’t be taking cheap hits because you couldn’t quite see what was coming.
Like the original, Bayonetta 2 features multiple weapons, each with their own attack style. You can combine them to create your own preferred style and switch between custom sets on the fly, giving an incredible variety to fights and a fantastic degree of replay value. You can also unlock new characters to play. In fact, there’s so much to unlock in Bayonetta 2 it’s kind of ridiculous – new weapons, a varied range of combat modifiers, new moves, characters and outfits.
The main story mode will take roughly 8-10 hours to complete, but there’s a great degree of replay value through its different difficulty modes, collectible items and, as I’ve said, the ability to play as other characters with different weapons and attack styles. There’s also a ‘trials’ mode you’ll unlock once you complete the story.
Oh, and they also included a new ‘tag climax’ mode which is an interesting mix of co-op and competitive play as you fight alongside – but also compete against – either an AI or human companion through a series of challenging fights.
One thing I think you could argue the original did a little better is story. The original has a surprisingly emotional aspect to it which is a little lacking in the sequel. But I don’t think the sequel really needed to retread the same narrative ground. The story of Bayonetta 2 expands on the world and characters in a wonderful way.
It takes Bayonetta, quite literally, to hell and back. Purely as an excuse to showcase an even greater variety of environments and enemies, it’s pretty damn good. I also thoroughly enjoyed the trip through time, which cleverly ties together and expands upon various aspects of the original story.
Bayonetta 2 is one of the few games that I think comes close to being truly perfect. But I’m not giving it a 10/10. Why? Because there’s one thing that disappointed me, and that was the music – or lack of a particular track, should I say.
At no point in Bayonetta 2 does the fantastic Bayonetta 1 cover of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ play. I was waiting for it the entire game, but it never came. If that track had kicked in during the final phase of the final boss we’d have my first perfect 10/10 game. But it didn’t! Oh, and no final dance number?! So close, Bayonetta 2! So close!