Bayonetta 1/2 Review (Nintendo Switch) – Portable Carnage

THE MAIN FOCUS OF THIS REVIEW WILL BE ON BAYONETTA 2 DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE ORIGINAL BAYONETTA IS INCLUDED AS A FREE ADD ON AND IS ABLE TO BE PURCHASED SEPERATELY ON THE ESHOP. NINTENDO SWITCH IMPRESSIONS FORM THE FIRST PART OF THE REVIEW WITH EXCERPTS FROM KEVIN’S ORIGINAL (AND BRILLIANT) BAYONETTA 2 REVIEW FORMING THE SECOND PART. 

This was my first time playing either of the Bayonetta games (outside of a brief stint of Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U) and I could not put it down. The Nintendo Switch as a portable console perfectly complimented the frantic, short-burst, action-packed gameplay that both Bayonetta 1/2 deliver on from start to finish.

Honestly, when I think of a Nintendo console and the games I want to play on it, Bayonetta couldn’t be more different, but it’s becoming more and more evident that the Switch can make almost any game better. I found that the game was perfect to be played in short stints due to the fact that game generally follows the formula of massive set pieces, smaller combat pieces and some very mild exploration in between these.

It doesn’t get much more fast-paced than Bayonetta and at times, I did find that the buttons were a little bit small to execute some of the more complex combos, but I was always able to see what was happening on Switch screen and never once felt like my experience (from a visual point of view) would be improved by playing on the TV.

It’s very clear that the Nintendo Switch frame rate is improved. It does drop at times (especially when there’s a lot of enemies on screen), but it still handles a lot better than it did on the Wii U, especially when in docked mode. The textures look a little bit more detailed too, which definitely helps bring this beautiful world to life.

Bayonetta 2 has a RRP of $89.95 in Australia which I personally think is a little steep. You’re getting the original Bayonetta as well but you’ll need the storage space and internet to download it digitally and it’s essentially the fourth time the original Bayonetta is getting released now. If you’re purchasing digitally, they’re seperate purchases. I feel that this should probably have been a discounted release or at the very least, Nintendo should have shelled out the extra to print Bayonetta on a seperate cartridge.

In terms of new features, there’s not a lot here. There’s Amiibo support for costumes/weapons, such as using the Samus Amiibo to unlock a Metroid costume (but these can be unlocked by playing the game). There’s also a brand new Tag Climax multiplayer mode in Bayonetta 2. Previously, this was limited to online play but you can now play through it locally.

In his original review, Kevin said: It’s a Platinum Game first off, so don’t expect any semblance of a cohesive story. Yet Bayonetta 2’s story is increasingly better than the first one, mainly due to charming roster of characters previous players have grown to like.

Much like the first game, Bayonetta 2 throws you straight into an epic set piece that’s very much like the first, dumping exposition while you feverishly fight off a legion of infinite angels.Bayonetta 2 concerns the story of, well, Bayonetta. Kicking off from the stylised setpiece intro, it soon cuts to present day in a very humour-filled segment of Bayonetta and Jeanne preparing for a Christmas party, with the Joe-Pesci like Enzo in tow.

Art style is absolutely spectacular: from the start of the game, fighting in a human-based city to the genuinely disgusting realms of Inferno, this game looks absolutely amazing and unique. The creativity gone into environments is incredible, the levels are more open allowing for exploration for bonuses, and enemy and creature designs are both memorable and unique. In a game like Bayonetta, good enemy design is essential towards the gameplay, and the enemies are designed uniquely enough to both keep the game constantly refreshing and fair in terms of dodging enemy attacks. If we were focusing on art design, level design and enemy design, Bayonetta 2 absolutely smashes it out of the gate, eclipsing its predecessor easily. The mindbending physics-defying environments will have you running up and around buildings and around and around environments. The camera trickery and gravity bending feels like Super Mario Galaxy on crack.

The soundtrack is unfortunately less memorable than the first game’s epic 5 disc OST, but it’s still adequate. While I detest the crazy upbeat pop style of Japanese music, it suits the game incredibly well and like in MGR: Revengeance, during boss fights it just works so well. The catchy, super silly tunes mixed with the campy story and likeable characters will just leave a huge grin on your face.

Combos are created by punching and kicking. Upon completion of a successful combo you’re rewarded with a Wicked Weave, an extra power kick or punch made out of Bayonetta’s hair. Successful combos also fill your magic gauge, which can be used on Umbran Climaxes or the familiar Torture Attacks; special attacks that gruesomely dispatch enemies using old school torture devices with that added Bayonetta flair- successfully executing the semi-QTE of a Torture Attack leads to greater rewards. There are just a wild number of combos and strategies for each encounter, and Bayonetta 2 reaffirms itself as one of the tightest, fastest and rewarding gameplay systems in gaming since the original (and Ninja Gaiden Black).

Bayonetta 2 also adds a new gameplay element called Umbran Climax which can be activated when the player has a full magic gauge. Similar to the state of boss fights in the first game, this technique strengthens Bayonetta’s attacks and combos with extra Wicked Weaves and Infernal Demon summons for a short period of time. This increases their overall range and damage and also replenishes Bayonetta’s health when in use.

Witch Time is back, probably one of Bayonetta’s best features. Dodging in the last second allows for time to slow down, letting you sneak in a fast combo or to traverse an environment before it crashes down. While slow-mo is something of a fad, it’s used incredibly well in Bayonetta, as both a strategic gameplay element and as a reward. There’s nothing more satisfying than perfectly nailing a dodge and seeing time slow down in an incredibly vivid and detailed manner. There’s no Non-Stop Infinite Climax difficulty (disables Witch Time in the first game), which is a real shame so your only option is to strap on the Evil Harvest Rosary and play on 3rd Climax for the toughest challenge possible.

The boss fights are consistently incredible in both challenge and in style. There’s nothing that really eclipses the sheer wow factor of the first (which ended with literally punching a god into the sun), but the strategy has been upped somewhat. All bosses are incredibly tough, and it’s such a mind puzzle trying to decipher their strategies and attack patterns. Yet it never, ever feels unfair; whenever I was hit I could never blame the game, it all was due to my own failure. Unfortunately, at least half of the 16 chapters are dedicated to bosses and bosses alone. While the boss designs and fights were consistently spectacular, I personally enjoyed the smaller verses against groups of enemies. It’s a shame there weren’t a few more verses spread out against groups of enemies.

THE NINTENDO SWITCH VERSION OF THESE GAMES WERE PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW. DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
10
Conclusion
Whilst I think that it's a little bit overpriced (and should include Bayonetta 1 on a physical cartridge), it's almost impossible to deny the brilliance of both Bayonetta games. Bayonetta herself is one of the sassiest characters in gaming and the combat is simply better than any hack and slash action game that I've ever played (and still is to this day). The game is only made better by the enhanced performance and portability provided by the Nintendo Switch and it's one that every Switch owner should have in their collection.
Positives
Both Games Run Better Than Before
Two Fantastic Adventures
An Insanely Good Combat System
Epic Boss Battles
Negatives
Having Bayonetta As A Digital Only Option
Full Priced Port
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