It’s difficult to not root for Bayonetta 2. This wonderfully stylized action series almost stopped after its debut, and for its loyal fan base, that would have been unacceptable. Part of the fervor is linked to the heroine’s blatant sex appeal, but really, what makes Bayonetta such a success is its crisp, intuitive combat. If the combo-based, acrobatic action was what first drew you to Platinum Games’ PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 title, the Wii U sequel looks to ramp up every aspect of the moment-to-moment action to devilish levels.
The demo for the game was prominently displayed at Nintendo’s E3 booth, offering two unique control schemes for players to enjoy. For those more familiar with most other action games on the market (as well as the original Bayonetta), an option to avoid the touchscreen and stick solely to the buttons on the Wii U controller was the best bet. But wanting to experience everything new about the Wii U exclusive, I decided to guide Bayonetta through the 15-minute gameplay chunk with the quick swipes of my stylus.
As you’d guess, the first-playable build of Bayonetta 2 kicks off by sending vicious enemies into the mix before you even get a chance to enjoy the wonderful visuals. Bayonetta herself is flying high on a jet through a busy city, with blood-thirsty beasts pouring onto the plane’s wings. More manageable angels and demons with bad intentions quickly transition to gargantuan bosses that take all of Bayonetta’s skills, both new and old, to defeat. It’s fast, dazzling and unbelievably entertaining.
The situations may be hectic, but it takes more than a few unplanned jabs at the Wii U GamePad to find success. This series has never been a simple button-masher, and that holds true for both the classic controls and those that focus on the touchscreen. If you decide to try your luck with the stylus, combat is all about quickly tapping from armor-riddled foe to fire-breathing demon. Swift dodges can be pulled off by swiping the screen in any direction, and after avoiding enough heat, Bayonetta’s new Umbran Climax meter can be built up and unleashed. Essentially, this pumps up the witch’s offensive power to new heights, deducing the ferocity of any enemy in the vicinity. These dodges also slow the action down for brief moments, giving you time to appreciate your work in the deep of battle.
Along with news of the touchscreen controls, both a multiplayer mode and support for Off-TV Play were confirmed. A secondary character could be seen in the demo providing our favorite witch with a bit of offensive support, but few details on this feature have been outed at this time.
I wish I could tell you more about the story and why Bayonetta decided to sport a new hairstyle, but this wasn’t a demo covering all the narrative aspects that make this sequel so exciting. All you really need to know is that Bayonetta 2 is just as sharp as ever. It’s one of the most visually electrifying games planned to release on Nintendo’s content-starved platform, and thankfully, none of the lunacy that made the first game so appealing has been lost on its new platform. Wii U owners will just have to wait until sometime in 2014 to experience the magic.