Bayonetta 2’s exclusive release on the Wii U is still begrudgingly felt among PlatinumGames fans to this day. The original game was released on both PS3 and Xbox 360, which left many fans who upgraded to the PS4 and Xbox One in the dust when it came to this series. But as of this week, over 2 years since the release of Bayonetta 2, and over 7 years since the release of the original, these fans have some hope to hold onto.
Many fans on Steam have already been pondering on whether or not PG’s title Vanquish could make its way to PC with similar high-end modifications. Bayonetta 2 is a different story, however. As the game was funded by Nintendo, the odds of them relinquishing one of their games (even with the Wii U’s lifespan being over) is extremely unlikely. This is something that Bayonetta creator/director Hideki Kamiya has made clear several times on his Twitter account.
Regardless, that’s merely the buzz surrounding the game itself. Now for the game itself.
Bayonetta’s devoted following among critics and fans is well justified. Originally set out to be the “ultimate action game” from the creator of 2001’s Devil May Cry, Kamiya-san wanted to elevate the genre he started. This is a mission statement that many players have come to agree with. The combat engine of this game is so intricate, despite a deceptively simple-looking control scheme. With a punch button, kick button and dodge button, you still end up feeling as if you have an entire arsenal of skills at your disposal.
Unlike most games, you can summon quick-time events at your own leisure in the middle of any hit string. The combat doesn’t revolve around overused and outdated concepts like light and heavy attacks. There is no blocking, only dodging. It has a combo system comparable to the most complex of competitive fighting games. It has a pace and rhythm that can make nearly any other action game look primitive and dull. Playing this game is like being in control of the most over-the-top action movie ever made. It is as creative as it is perverse. It is as much of a spectacle as it is a never ending fountain of finesse and skill.
Bayonetta is a bloody ballet. It is a dance of elaborate combos with shotguns strapped to your legs, chainsaws being summoned from the depths of hell, breakdancing as you fire 4 pistols simultaneously, and time control powers for the sake of retrieving lost lollipops.
As for the port itself, it was handled extremely well. The framerate is smoother than the PS3/x360/Wii U ports of the game, and can handle a steady 60fps with the right equipment. Despite originally being a console game, they’ve added enough graphical options to make it seem as if this game was made for PC. The textures and lighting look especially good in this version. Platinum has performed some kind of witchcraft to be able to make a game this old still seem easy on the eyes.
The one big, glaring flaw with this port? The loading times are too fast. I’m serious.
If you didn’t know, Bayonetta’s loading screen allows you to play and practice your combos and moves. It even provides a list of all possible button combinations on-screen. But with processing speeds faster than the PS3/360, and without the option to practice whenever you want like in Bayo 2, one of the coolest features of the game has been rendered useless. Unless you play this game on a toaster, then you’ll be fine.
I also have to say that as convoluted as it is, the story is nothing special. I respect the amount of work that went into it, and it does have a fascinating foundation of inspiration. From various theological concepts, metaphysics and European folklore, Bayonetta’s story is dense and complicated. But it grinds against the aesthetic style of the game’s combat and character design.
Bayonetta literally kills succubi-looking enemies in this game by chaining them down to a wooden pony and squeezing them to death with chains. She literally kills angels by pole dancing with holy staffs. She literally shoots a statue in the penis. She literally defeats bosses by getting naked. Having an overblown story of light vs. dark, angels vs. demons and sages vs. witches is not going to supplement the sex innuendos that are, well, Bayonetta herself. Even after reading through all the documents and reading up on the hierarchy of angels, I didn’t feel like I stumbled upon a particularly interesting or memorable story. Just a complicated one.
All in all, Bayonetta is one of my favorite games of all time. I would be utterly insincere if I didn’t recommend this game to virtually anyone I know who plays games.
I’m currently playing it for the fourth time and I can’t help but be more and more satisfied by watching myself progress. More Gold and Platinum medals, faster completion times, more perfectly-timed dodges. Less hits taken, less items used, less time taken up. The sense of mastery PlatinumGames’ releases endows you with is a power trip fueled with adrenaline rushes, and moments of realization when you notice yourself improving greatly.
If you’re a fan of slower-paced games with less moves to memorize, Bayonetta might not be for you. This is a game that has the ferocity, difficulty and constant sense of improvement on par with games like Marvel Vs. Capcom and Ninja Gaiden Black. It will require a lot of inputs per second, and a lot of quick, reflexive thinking from the player. Stylish on the surface, but demands mastery from you that will take dedication, diligence and determination.
Bayonetta is now available on Steam for only $19.99 USD. An excellent deal for a 12 hour long game with replay value, novelty and memorability. It may very well still be considered the best action game ever made another 7 years from now.