Just watching Bayonetta 2 can be exhausting. The wholesale chaos that the game effortlessly chucks around the screen at a consistent sixty frames per second is enough to make your retinas strain; your brain futilely struggling to process the insanity unfolding before it.
Actually holding that control pad and guiding the chaos evokes a revelation of twitch-based hack and slash sublimity similar to that of the original game, yet the game is superior in all the ways that a sequel should be if you’ll excuse the monstrous generic hyperbole; bigger, badder and simply better.
Given the choice between standard and touch control methods, my old school prejudices immediately meant that I plumped for the former control scheme of the two (though from observation, the touch screen controls appear engineered to allow lesser skilled players to join in on the fun which is never a bad thing). After a brief introduction, the single-player demo kicks off proper as you play Bayonetta; stuck on top of a fighter jet scrapping with an ever increasing number of vile-looking centaur monsters as the aircraft gets more and more damaged leading to the end of the level.
Boasting the aforementioned rock-solid sixty frames per second screen update, Bayonetta 2 quickly reminds you why the original was held in such regard. With its frenetic and acrobatic combat system brought over to the sequel in its full, unblemished form, Bayonetta 2 doesn’t stray in any meaningful way from its predecessor, seeking only to increase the crazy and up the ante in terms of the number of beasties that you’ll have to deal with.
And deal with them with you will, spectacularly so in fact as Bayonetta packs her pistols akimbo and a whip/sword combination with the former able to be used to pick enemies high up in the air and slam them into the ground with great force. In her defensive arsenal Bayonetta can still jump to avoid enemies or use the evasion skill to trigger the returning Witch Time mode as well.
Ah yes, Witch Time. A major feature of the previous game, the action will go into slo-mo if the player evades an enemy’s attack at the last second, allowing her to let rip with a riotous marriage of firearm and melee based violence in reciprocation. In Bayonetta 2 however, the animations of the titular character in this evasion state now look far more accomplished and polished with our heroine properly ducking or weaving out the way of attacks to retaliate with her own.
Further complimenting her bag of tricks, when the Umbra Climax condition has been triggered, Bayonetta enters a rage state of sorts with the result being that her attacks are augmented to such ridiculous proportions that her melee strikes end up spanning the entire breadth of the screen, knocking enemies off their feet with effortless ease.
Elsewhere, the gleefully OTT torture/execution scenes make their return with one particular highlight having an enemy running on a treadmill before his legs give out, forcing him to be sucked into a row of massive razor blades.
Backed up by some incredibly smooth animations and the setting the standard for 1080p visuals that look impressive even by next-generation standards, Kamiya and his team have deftly framed the entirety of Bayonetta 2’s blissful madness through a crystal clear looking glass. Bayonetta 2 is easily the most technically impressive title seen on Nintendo‘s struggling home console to date.
Gloriously responsive, gorgeous to gawk at and already at this point, approaching the qualitative apex of the hack and slash genre with ease, Bayonetta 2 looks to be one of the most promising prospects of next year by a country mile.
Published by Nintendo and developed by Platinum Games, Bayonetta 2 releases exclusively for Wii U in 2014.