Bayonetta 2: Demon Hair-Suits and Angel Torture

Platinum Games is what I&rsquo;d call the Quentin Tarantino of the gaming world. They often take inspiration from niche genres: spaghetti westerns, martial arts films, super sentai, or in the case of <em>Bayonetta</em>, exploitation films. While the final product can seem a pulpy mess, the fans of the medium can see the truly impressive core underneath, and, whatever the outcome, it usually proves to be a critical success.

Platinum&rsquo;s latest joint is <em>Bayonetta 2</em>, the Nintendo-funded sequel to a &ldquo;character action&rdquo; game where you play the titular witch Bayonetta, who dons a skin-tight suit made of her hair, which falls apart, leaving her nearly naked when she uses her hair to summon demons. She does this to kill angels, often using torture machines and making various hypersexualized moves.

So yeah, the easily offended need not apply.

There was a slight bit of fabricated non-controversy, when Polygon gave<em> Bayonetta 2 </em>a lower score due to the omnipresence of Bayonetta&rsquo;s sexualization.

The thing is, they aren&rsquo;t exactly wrong. <em>Bayonetta</em> is at best either sexually exciting or hilarious parody, and, at worst, is just something that will turn people off the game. It&rsquo;s the same problem I have with the over usage of sex in the <em>Game of Thrones</em> TV show; it adds little more than cheap titillation, and, at worst, dramatically hurts your audience.

For my part, Bayonetta&rsquo;s absurdly long legs and strange haircut gives me more of a creepy spider lady impression, rather than anything sexy. I really don&rsquo;t want to touch that topic of Bayonetta as a positive or negative representation of female sexuality. Just focus on recognizing that <em>Bayonetta</em> seems to be operating more on parody and the ridiculous in regards to sexuality, rather than sexuality simply for getting people to play.

But, really, it&rsquo;s like complaining about Tarantino for being too violent; that&rsquo;s just kind of what they do. Platinum will do whatever they want with their game, and we can either turn away or strap in and enjoy the ride.

And the great core underneath this quirky game is a fantastic fighting system. Having previously worked on games such as<em> The Wonderful 101</em> and <em>Metal Gear Rising: Revengence</em>, Platinum is the master of beating the crap out of enemies in style.

Nintendo&rsquo;s provided the original <em>Bayonetta</em> alongside the sequel for those who haven&rsquo;t played it, and it becomes very obvious how fine-tuned the sequel is when playing them back-to-back. The first <em>Bayonetta</em> could be awkward at times, the pacing of the levels halted at times and there were a few crappy sections and terrible quick time events that would really dampen the fun.

It&rsquo;s just pure brawling gameplay. The key mechanic here is dodging. Dodging at the right time will allow you to slow down time, giving you a chance get a big combo in, not to mention this is a main form of defence. This is a game where, if you&rsquo;re dying, or even getting hit, it&rsquo;s usually your own fault. It&rsquo;s immensely satisfying to go through a previously difficult section, and just demolish every enemy in seconds.

Enemies gain more variety, with new angels and even an array of demons to fight this time. That all important dodging is far easier to pull off, and the controls just feel far more snappy and responsive. The benefit of the Wii U console means a better running game than the PS3 and 360 versions, and the outlandish set pieces seem to be more constant with the increased capabilities of the system. The game just flows better; time just flew by as I played, whereas in the original, it could feel slow at parts. It just feels like a definitive, more fine-tuned version of <em>Bayonetta</em>&rsquo;s previous gameplay that&rsquo;s smoother than ever.

My only real complaint is that the final boss doesn&rsquo;t quite hold up to the original. Though the original had you punt a god&rsquo;s soul across the solar system and into the sun, so they probably couldn&rsquo;t surpass it.

Anyone who owns a Wii U, or plans to get one for the upcoming <em>Smash Bros</em>, owes it to themselves to give this game a go. Just don&rsquo;t come in not wanting to be offended or with your more prudish friends around. Like a Tarantino movie, you might be put off by the concept, but give it a try and you&rsquo;ll see: these people understand what makes their medium great.


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