E3 2013: Bayonetta 2 Impressions

Bayonetta 2 being announced as a Wii U exclusive is either a blessing or a curse, depending upon how you feel about the Wii U. No matter what you think, it’s a safe bet to say that the original Bayonetta was a very stylish, very competent action title that could get quite difficult at higher difficulties. Ignoring its mostly nonsensical story, the original Bayonetta was a success.

Bayonetta 2Bayonetta 2 doesn’t really do much to change the formula. In the small slice of gameplay that I got hands-on with at E3, Bayonetta is dishing out more punishment to the angels, often contorting into provocative or physically impossible poses while doing so. The controls are the same: there are punch and kick buttons on the X and A buttons, which is in the same locations as they were on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Pressing these in different combinations or even at different tempos lets you vary your combo attacks. I tried some of the old special moves I remember: rotating the analog stick and mashing Kick still let me breakdance across the ground, firing from the guns that are attached to Bayonetta’s feet.

The big change in Bayonetta 2’s combat mechanics is a new ability called Umbran Climax. When Bayonetta fills her magic gauge, you can press L to activate Umbran Climax, which powers up all of Bayonetta’s attacks for a short time, increasing both damage and range. Previously, the Magic gauge could only be used for executing foes, or other special abilities. This is a power that can be used at any time.

Bayonetta 2The foes and challenges in Bayonetta 2 are even more off-the-wall than before. You’ll fight a hulking powerful angel on the back of a moving vehicle, and you’ll actually face against hellish demons this time around. The last challenge of the demo was fighting one of the beasts that Bayonetta and her ilk can summon by use of her hair. This creature was enormous, perhaps only dwarfed in size by the original Bayonetta‘s last boss. The battle took place in mid-air before this beast climbed a building, King Kong style.

Despite this being an E3 demo, which are usually tuned to let anyone win, this creature almost killed me. Of course, I was stocked with resurrection potions for this demo, but this beast pulled no punches. It was difficult to tell when the right time to dodge was. Bayonetta 2 is shaping up to be a game worthy of its name. It’s exclusive to Wii U, and will come out later this year.

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