Bayonetta 2 is hands down the slickest, most mechanically polished fighting game I have ever played. It is accessible to newbies to the genre and deep enough to keep pros coming back for more. It looks to have massive replayability in the form of unlockables, high scores to chase and even Co-Op. It’s a Platinum Games game so you know the story is complete effing gibberish but it’s inoffensive and doesn’t detract from the game. The pacing is masterful and their spirit of one-upmanship shines bright with every level feeling like the last level of any other fighting game. You start out the game riding a fighter jet, fighting angels on top of it, being chased by a giant dragon. Bayonetta 2 at it’s core is absolutely phenomenal. It is the kind of game that gives you a dopey ear-to-ear grin the entire time you play and makes you feel like a master even if you’re wildly mediocre at it.
Graphically, I was astounded the Wii U was capable of running such a beautiful game. The frame rate was a fluid 60fps in most areas but did dip occasionally during hectic scenes, but not enough to cause issues like when a 30fps game dips in the teens. The resolution of Bayonetta 2 is 720p but the artistic design of the levels masks this with bold colors and flashy lighting. It is seriously an eye-poppingly bright and gorgeous game. So much so that one of my few complaints revolves around issues identifying the tell tale yellow warning flash enemies give when about to strike. Luckily, you eventually learn each enemy’s attack animations and don’t really need to see the warning flash to know you need to get the hell out of the way.
The sound effects are crisp, lending a weighty impact to each of Bayonetta’s lightning fast strikes. The audio feedback to the combat in this game is a reward in itself. There is nothing worse than playing a fighting game where there is no solid THWACK or THUD as you assail your enemy. Platinum know fighting games and they know how to make them appealing (if they spend the time and money…Legend of Korra). Between sounds, animations and controller vibrations, combat in Bayonetta 2 is a multi-sensory experience.
The music is great, creating an epic, cinematic experience. It is a mix of both J-POP, Orchestra and even Christmas tunes. They do play one song a few too many times but it’s catchy enough as to not be something you will absolutely have to mute. They kept the soundtrack a bit sedate compared to some of their other games. I remember having to play Platinum’s Metal Gear Rising with the music off due to it’s horrible emo-metal soundtrack.
Overall, Bayonetta 2 comes with my highest recommendation, so long as you are someone who places a greater value on gameplay over story. If you liked Metal Gear Rising and Devil May Cry from a gameplay perspective, you will love Bayonetta 2. It is a more cohesive game than either and one of the rare games that feels well thought out and polished all the way through. Nothing feels like filler or half baked. The small, mini-game like sequences other games implement half-heartedly to give variety, Bayonetta 2 completely commits to and nails. There is a section that mixes fighting game mechanics with the shoot-em-up Ikaruga type genre and they manage to make it feel like a core part of the game. Bayonetta 2 oozes style and quality. Barring some minor issues like trouble discerning warning flashes in the colorful chaos and a cliche story, I feel the game is a damn near perfect combo-chasing fighting game. Platinum also throws in a free copy of Bayonetta 1 remastered for Wii-U with the retail package. You know what you need to do.
One thing we will do here at Lift Gaming when reviewing a game is comment on it’s “Twitchability”. Simply put, Twitchability is how fun a game is to stream for both the streamer and the audience. What kind of streaming issues are present? Do you need to have your encoder setting cranked up to see whats going on clearly? Does the audience get bored? Does it provide opportunities to interact with your audience? Things like that. This way if you are looking to stream the game, you have an idea how fun and effective it will be.
Bayonetta 2 has a decent Twitchability in my opinion. A few notes first: Being a slick, combo heavy action game, I feel that you need to crank your bitrate up a bit to really capture the action. If you can manage 60fps and not cause most of your audience to buffer, do it. There is a lot going on in Bayonetta 2 and you don’t want those fast moving scenes to pixelate. I streamed at a bitrate of 2500 CBR, 720p / 30fps and I don’t think it was ideal. In hindsight I think I should have pushed for 720p / 60fps. The Weapon Showcase I posted to this article is 720p at 60fps (captured with AverMedia Live Gamer II) and looks much cleaner than my stream of the game. I will update this article once I test 720p / 60fps with the game and see if I can find a reasonable bitrate.
Bayonetta 2 was fun to stream. The whole scoring system that awards you medals based on performance is a great incentive. My audience enjoyed cheering me on when I did well or offering ideas for improvement if I did poorly. The story of Bayonetta 2 is nuts. My audience and I had a blast reacting and commenting on how insane it is. There was a lot of WTF moments that made for good laughs, story wise. Bayonetta is a series that draws passionate fans who are knowledgeable of all the tips and tricks. It is similar to the Dark Souls series with the level of dedication it’s fans have. That said, Bayonetta 2 IS a bit of a niche game, much like Dark Souls. The number of people drawn to your stream may reflect that. So I would say the game tends to draw a smaller but fiercely loyal and knowledgeable audience. A side note: It is a game that requires full attention to do well, at least for me. You may find it difficult to both interact with your viewers AND perform well in the game. Personally, I would rather focus on interaction than doing well. But I’m sure more skilled streamers can manage both. Overall, I had a blast streaming Bayonetta 2 and look forward to streaming it more.