Bayonetta 2 – First Impressions

A preview of Bayonetta 2 I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The first Bayonetta was a multi-platform release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 way back in 2010 and, whilst critically praised, didn’t exactly set the sales charts aflame.

This meant that a sequel, long wished for by fans of the first game, wasn’t that likely. At least not until Nintendo stepped up and announced Bayonetta 2 as a WiiU exclusive.

Now, when the WiiU was announced, one thing Nintendo tried to do was to appeal to the hardcore gamer. A needless phrase but one that refers to a large section of the video game audience that can make or break the success of a console. In view of this Nintendo threw that group a pretty big bone in the shape of Bayonetta 2.

This is somewhat of a big deal and goes a long to show Nintendo’s intentions in widening the audience for the WiiU. You don’t get much more culty and video gamey than Bayonetta; it is a roaming hack and slash game full of demons and bullets and blood and a very Japanese style. This isn’t a bad thing but it isn’t something that Nintendo is known for.

Bayonetta 2 sees the eponymous Bayonetta return, with anew hair cut but still wearing shoes with guns in the heel. In a recent trailer released by Nintendo showing the development of the game, a big point was about keeping to the essence of Bayonetta. This essence being, one assumes, a simple to pick up yet deep fighting engine couple with some ludicrously over the top attacks against even more ludicrously over the top bad guys.

Fans will hope that the game sticks close to the first game; you don’t have to go too far on the internet to get players of the first game waxing lyrical about the combination of sword and gun play that the first game dished out. This took some level of skill to actually get to but it looks like the barrier for entry will be a bit lower this time around; from demos at the recent E3 an Easy mode was shown that uses the touch screen of the Game Pad to make it easier for newcomers to pick up. Of course, you can still crank up the difficulty if you want to.

The rest of the game is still under somewhat of a shroud; quick images of the game world show it to be bigger and the developers have stated that there will be more locations to run around in shooting stuff. A two player mode will also be included in Bayonetta 2 though quite how that will work at this stage is uncertain; will it be an online co-operative game? Will it pit players against each other in arenas? These details will have to wait a bit longer.

So the game looks to be a very big tick in the ‘Street Cred’ column of the WiiU, despite some very negative feed back to the exclusivity of the game. Putting this knee jerk reaction where it belongs (the bin) what we have here is a sequel to a great game with a developer that has a pretty excellent track record when it comes to these kind of games.

Will it be a console seller, though? That’s a completely different question.

Originally published August 9th 2013

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