|System: Wii U|
|Dev: Platinum Games|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Engen
Even with all of attention paid to Sony and Microsoft at this year's E3, Nintendo managed to land a couple of well-placed jabs. Actually, even though they didn't have any official press conference, Nintendo's showing was incredibly impressive. Titles like Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker are definitely making gamers take a second look at the Wii U. But there was one title in particular that was so exceptionally confusing, that, even two weeks later, I still have a dopey look on my face whenever I think about it: Bayonetta 2.
Normally, it would be impossible to use a word like confused as a compliment, but in this case, it's completely accurate. Bayonetta 2 is so fast paced and intense that I swear the developers were forced to mainline cocaine and drink pure testosterone while working on the project.
And even if you're not a fan of her newly cropped haircut, Bayonetta 2 is a nearly flawless sequel. Though, I'm still having a hard time believing that a franchise that started out on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 is now a Wii U exclusive. I'll eventually get over it, but I think that there are several fans that are a little more invested in the series and might not be so lenient.
That being said, the folks at Platinum Games game have really done an amazing job keeping the game's foundation in mind while utilizing the Wii U's unique interface. The game supports off-screen play, which means that you don't necessarily need a television to play through the campaign. So, you'll be able to play Bayonetta 2 and watch Baywatch reruns simultaneously.
Bayonetta 2 also sports a touch-based control scheme. Luckily, it's an optional feature. The touch-based controls allow you to use the stylus to target enemies or evade attacks by swiping. Sure, this seems like it might be kind of fun, and I've heard the developers talking about how the touch-based setup shortens the learning curve for beginners, but I wasn't sold. They felt gimmicky and cumbersome, so I went back to mashing buttons.
At its core, Bayonetta 2 is meant to be a button-mashing epic in the same vein as God of War. However, even though it's possible to complete a mission by simply mashing the attack buttons, Platinum Games has implemented a scoring system that adds quite a bit of depth and replay value.
The system, much like other Platinum Games titles, simply rates your performance in a battle, and then awards you a score based on a number of elements (time, power, combos, etc). So, if you really want to start getting a few silver and gold medals, you're going to have to learn a few combos.
The mission that I got to play at E3 was only about ten minutes long, but I felt like I'd just eaten a huge thanksgiving turkey. The game's intensity wore me down, and eventually the mission became a test of endurance. I typically hesitate to use any phrase as cliché as high octane to describe anything, but considering the fact that the mission started out with a brawl on the back of a flying fighter jet, high octane seems particularly apt.
We don't know a whole lot about the story at this point; actually, Nintendo is keeping a tight lid on that side of development. However, we do know that Jeanne will be making another appearance. During the demo, she acted a little bit like Bayonetta's sidekick, but things got bad for her toward the end of the mission.
Anyone who played the last Bayonetta title knows that Jeanne was more like a rival than a sidekick. So, the fact that she's been downgraded forBayonetta 2 probably requires an interesting backstory, but Platinum Games is keeping their lips sealed.
The developer has mentioned, though, that there will be some kind of two-player, co-op component for Bayonetta 2. So, Jeanne's willingness to assist Bayonetta might have more to do with her place in the gameplay than her backstory. That being said, we still don't know anything about the co-op component, so I might be entirely off base.
Aside from her new haircut, Bayonetta has received several other upgrades. In previous titles, her boots doubled as guns, which, I'll admit, is pretty hot. This time, though, her boots are equipped with whips. I’ll let you decide which is hotter.
Players can also dual wield their swords, but that seems somewhat less newsworthy after the boot/whip stuff.
Most of the controls are relatively similar. Though, now she has a power-up meter in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Once activated, the power-up gives Bayonetta an attack/speed boost. The developers are calling it an Umbran Climax, which sounds sexy, but Bayonetta’s enemies would probably disagree.
Even though I was only able to spend about ten minutes with the game, Bayonetta 2 feels like a really solid sequel to the original. And even though it’s a little out of place in the Wii U's lineup, Bayonetta 2 does add a particularly mature bent to the Wii U's family-friendly library.
Date: July 3, 2013