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Bayonetta 2 was my Game of the Year back when it released in 2014. After having released the original on PS3 and Xbox 360, Bayonetta 2 released on Nintendo Wii U only and it was sad given how little people owned a Wii U and were able to play the game. Now, with Nintendo's Switch console being the hottest piece of hardware on the market, Bayonetta can finally be experienced by more people and although it is almost identical to the Wii U version, it still holds up as one of the best games of this generation starring the sexiest and fiercest heroines in gaming, “Cereza” aka Bayonetta.
The collection of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 contains both Wii U versions that have been ported to the Switch with a few added touches here and there. They don't really push any limits when it comes to visuals features as they are older games. The original Bayonetta released in 2009 almost ten years ago and while it does look a bit dated on the Switch, it managed to hold up its 1080p 60FPS when docked and 720p 60FPS in handheld mode. Bayonetta 2 definitely looks much better than the first game with a few tweaks in visuals, textures, and its overall presentation is much more appealing. It runs at 720p both docked and in the handheld mode with both modes boasting a pretty solid 60FPS.
The Wii U's touchscreen controls have been added to the games too. These were exclusive to the Wii U GamePad back in the day and lets you control Bayonetta's movements and combat with flicking the screen and using your fingers to swipe the display. I love that the option is present, but the game's unforgiving combat simply does not work as well as I hoped using this feature and there is nothing better than spamming a few buttons to pull off a few combos.
If you have never played a Bayonetta game before then a brief history should catch you up. Sealed away for 500 years, Bayonetta awakens after having spent twenty years of her life coping with amnesia. The first game follows Bayonetta as she discovers her past and gains her abilities back as an Umbra Witch. Bayonetta is the result of the sacred bond being broken by a Lumen Sage Balder and a Witch named Rosa. You see, back in the day, the two clans were never able to conceive a child together and alas, Bayonetta was born which brought ruin to the beliefs of clans and spiralled them into chaos.
The Lumen Sages enlist aid from the Angels of Paradiso while the Umbra Witches call upon the Infernal Demons of Inferno for their support. Both of these clans used these creatures to fight alongside them in the war. In the end, the Umbra Witches won and Lumen Sages were exterminated, or so they thought. Balder, the last of the Lumen Sages, awakens Bayonetta who is also supposedly the Left Eye of Darkness. With the power of the Left Eye of Darkness, he can awaken Jubileus using the Right Eye of Light. And so the game begins with Bayonetta being an all-around awesome woman who is fighting off the Angels of Paradiso sent by Balder.
Fast forward a few years and Bayonetta 2 follows a very similar plot and the Left and Right Eye are again being used for no good. This time Bayonetta needs to head into the Gates of Hell to save Jeanne, a fellow Umbra Witch who falls in combat. While the story can come across confusing in both games, Bayonetta's plot is fantastic with so much lore behind each character, the weapons you can obtain and every monster has a purpose in the real world. It is great to think that these realities are so well-imagined in the series and Hideki Kamiya truly brings them to life in the games.
Bayonetta games, being developed by Platinum Games, have a very signature combat feel to them. It is very fast paced as Bayonetta runs around the fighting area slicing things up, shooting angels in the head and dodging at the precise time to initiate something called Witch Time that slows down time for everything in the area but her. Yes, it is hard to master as there are dozens of combos for each weapon and when you pair up these weapons the combos expands even more.
The Kulshedra, for example, is a dual-wielding katana that slices up the angels. When you use this weapon with a pistol heel then it offers a set of combos but adds in the Chomper, Nintendo's iconic ball and chain and the combos expand even more. This forces you to use all sorts of weapons and all sorts of combinations to get the most out of the game. Sure you can be plain Jane with the starting set from the get-go but it will really start to get tedious a few chapters in.
Combat is the main attraction of Bayonetta and it is brilliant. Dodging around the area, hitting things, shooting, slicing, jumping, then freezing it all to string together a massive chain of punches and kicks all to finish it off with a huge slam from your climax attack is so rewarding. It is something so rare and so fun that I have yet to find a game that manages to deliver the amount of excitement in its combat that Bayonetta does. There is truly nothing else like it.
Everything then gets put on steroids when it comes to its boss fights be it against a dragon or a Lumen Sage with a spear. These battles are pieced together as perfectly as Bayonetta's tight leather suit as they represent the finest moments in gaming. One early fight in Bayonetta 2 sees you take on a mysterious masked man but at the same time, you summon your demonic Madama Butterfly to fight his Fortitudo. As you go at is so are they and there is lava spilling all over the show, light flashing as you try and make out what you are doing and when to dodge and attack. It is all extremely well put together and it was these battles that made me fall in love with the game all over again.
Then there is Bayonetta herself which every feminist will hate. She is a sex symbol on steroids and as a gay man, I was even strangely attracted to her. She screams sex appeal and every word that comes out of her mouth is seductive to the point where you just want to sit back and watch her fight angels all day. There are a few moments where she shows a bit of vulnerability but she is flawless and really does not take rubbish from anyone and anything. Her one-liners are hilarious and her overall personality is spot on. Just when you think she is panicking she turns a blind eye and lets her curves take over. She still remains my favourite female character in gaming.
Bayonetta as a whole offers something truly unique and the Switch version is a complete package that everyone should experience at least once. With Bayonetta 3 officially in development, there is no better time to do so.
This review was based on a review copy of the game provided to us by Nintendo
Available On: Switch | Release Date: 16 February 2018 | RRP: R779