The shadow remains cast...
Bayonetta 2 represents one of Wii U's most mouthwatering prospects. The first Bayonetta scored 10/10 here on GamesRadar, yet didn't really sell as well as it should have. Normally that means the death toll for a series, banishing the game into some kind of awesome-filled limbo, where Psychonauts and Okami hang out and tease Ryo Hazuki by dropping the word 'three' into the conversation at every opportunity. But no, Bayonetta 2 has avoided that fate. It's real, it's hitting western shores next month and I've been playing it.
I won't tell you about later scenes in the game for spoilers' sake, but here are some amazing things from the first five chapters that I highly recommend you try for yourself...
Marveling at the cathedral reflection
Bayonetta 2 is a magnificent-looking game, and it only gets better as you progress. You can tell Platinum wanted to showcase the Wii U's graphical power. Early on, you get to approach a large cathedral, across a shallow, ornamental water feature. The water reflects the architecture beautifully, even in the ripples when you land. Incidentally, seeing as you're occupying a different plane of reality to the city street vendors at their market stalls, you can smash up the stalls and watch their ghostly outlines' confusion at the sudden unexplained destruction of their stuff. You could feel bad... or just take all the free halos.
Learning NOT to trigger the Umbran Climax
Once your magic gauge is filled up sufficiently, you get a button prompt on the screen alerting you to the fact that the Umbran Climax state is ready for use. While it's fun (and devastating) throwing around wicked weave moves instantly for a few seconds, it's actually better sometimes to save your magic instead for torture moves. As with the original, sometimes you'll get a prompt asking you to press X and A simultaneously to trigger a Torture Attack. These range from a MadWorld-style spiked mangle to some kind of pulley-death contraption suspended above the ground. Any of these can see off even powerful low-tier enemies on one go, and you're invincible while the attack animation plays out. Definitely worth considering.
Summoning a unicorn made of hair
As in the original, Bayonetta can turn her clothes back into hair (it's a long story) and then in turn transform said locks into a massive beast in order to smash stuff up with extreme force. This unicorn-like creature (pictured) uses its horn as a weapon. This is what happens when you get L'oreal on a My Little Pony, kids. You have been warned.
And in the sky
No church-throwing here, but you won't have any complaints about the scale of this battle. How amazing are these Wii U graphics? Water, gold, fire, massive boss, 3D-rendered chain, deliberate ghosting, huge draw distance on the city below... and all at 60 frames every second. Never let it be said the Wii U lacks horsepower.
Running along the inside of a wave (as a panther)
We know Bayonetta can slow time to a crawl and walk on water as a result. Big deal. But she never did it quite as spectacularly as this. I'm sorry to put this image into your head, but Bayonetta is a bit like Keanu Reeves in Point Break when she's doing this. Woah. Dude.
Having a bad hair day
Right near the start of the game (in the prologue, in fact), one of Bayonetta's trademark hair demon summons becomes uncontrollable, with the result being that you have to fight your own hair. As you can see, the hair beast clambers up a skyscraper, King Kong style. But of course, Bayonetta's not the type to start screaming and need rescuing.
Dodging a lump of snot
Maybe this chap's got a cold. Either way, dodging stringy tendrils of mucus at the right moment triggers Witch Time just like any other attack. The unexpected nature of some of the attacks does make it hard to ace a battle on the first encounter but, in all honesty, you'll need to replay everything anyway with the better weapons you unlock later on if you want the Pure Platinum awards.
Fighting alongside Jeanne
You get to fight with Jeanne in the prologue, which is damn awesome, especially when you team up for finishing moves. But you can also fight in two-player over the internet. Co-operatively, that is, not against each other. A Bayonetta fighting game would be awesome, but this isn't it.
Turning into a serpent underwater
Bayonetta can transform herself into the form of a panther to run faster, available from the start in Bayonetta 2. But she can also learn to turn into a serpent and move faster underwater. You can still switch back to human form and fight on the ground (thankfully not in slow-motion, or with an air meter), but it's fun to turn into a sea snake. Especially when you start trying to tie yourself in knots.
Getting a Gold Award (or better...)
What do you mean, 'that's rubbish, Justin, do better'? This is a really difficult game! In my defense, I didn't use the later weapons to get this rank, but doing so would have made it easier. But after Gold, you can get a Platinum and even a Pure Platinum award, but actually fighting well enough across an entire level to get one is crazy tough in this sequel. And once you've got Pure Platinum on normal, there are more difficulty levels, each with an award slot for every level on your ranking history. Best of luck with all that...
Expecting great things?
My expectations for Bayonetta 2 are damn high, because the first game is awesome. How good can it be? Will it make Wii U look like a PS4? You won't have to wait too long to find out. Look out for our review of Bayonetta 2 on GamesRadar soon.
And if you're looking for more, check out A Star Fox costume and a third playable character confirmed for Bayonetta 2 and Hoping for a Bayonetta 2 port? Don't.