one game a week 2015 : week five – Bayonetta 2

Some words from my brain to yours about whatever game has been occupying my time over the last 7 days. Once a week, EVERY week for the duration of 2015. God help us.

After receiving review scores of 10/10 from Edge, 9/10 from Eurogamer and 9.5/10 from IGN (gotta love those decimal points), what more could little old me, scratching away at the soft underbelly of independent videogames critique, have to add?

Possibly not a lot, but playing Bayonetta 2 has been, without doubt, one of the most exhilarating experiences of this current console generation so far. An experience that is impossible to not want to share. This is a game that makes me want to stand on the roof of my house and shout “I JUST RODE SOMETHING CALLED A CLIMAX HORSE ALONG WHAT APPEARED TO BE A CRUMBLING SPINAL COLUMN”, in the hopes that someone will hear me and think “hey, there’s a cool guy who’s achieving things with his life, I’m going to buy a Wii U.”

Also, I’ve committed to write about one game a week for the whole of 2015, so that may factor into my decision to pour some words into the sink-hole that is the Internet, but never mind that.

One of the things that I found most surprising (after the sight of a man dressed as Santa Claus driving a sports car along the side of a building during the intro) is just how accessible Bayonetta 2 actually is. Not in terms of the story (which is highly enjoyable but total nonsense) but in the way in which it grants you the power to pull off eye-searingly outrageous combos with the greatest of ease.  Full disclosure: I never made it all the way through the original Bayonetta, and as time has passed and rave reviews have come and gone, I’d forgotten what I knew and had wrongly assumed that the combat was going to be a nightmare to execute. The reality is totally the opposite; with the developers Platinum creating a system that is at once alarmingly deep and intricate but simultaneously wide open to players of all skill levels.

Lots of videogames are power fantasies, (You are a solider in a mech suit! You are punching Zeus in his face! You are plumber jumping on a …. ok, maybe not that one) but Bayonetta delivers an even purer fantasy hit in the way that it allows you to pretend that the mind-boggling moves and devastating attacks you’re pulling off are all intentional. Sure, the combat mechanics allow you to plan and execute dazzling displays on purpose, but every once in a while you’ll unleash the most bewildering violence on screen, that decimates an enemy who is towering above you, and you’ll have no idea how you did it. But you’ll feel incredible.

And there is so much lunacy unfolding before your eyes that at times it’s hard to keep up. Highlights; a recurring boss that’s essentially an enormous floating armoured sting ray with eyeballs on its wings that shoot purple laser beams from the pupil; the fights with Lumen Sage, especially the one where each of your summoned demons are lumbering around in the background having a scrap of their own; or how about Chapter VIII which sees you hopping through portals, traversing on land, through the air and underwater before delivering a supercharged stiletto kick to break the shell casing surrounding the gates of Hell. Eh? What? Exactly.

It’s not an entirely perfect game. Your sidekick during most of the campaign is a spectacularly irritating child with the worst mockney accent since Basher Tarr, there’s a handful of uninspiring boss fights (a giant cube, anyone?) and a chapter later in the game sees your movements hugely restricted which scuppers one of the most visually impressive fights that the game has to show. But it’s hard to be mad at a game where in the middle of a dust-up, a boss reaches into the solar system and pulls down an asteroid that you headbutt into pieces after he throws it at you.

played on Wii U (obviously…)


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