By Frank Geurrandeno
In 2010, Platinum Games entered Bayonetta into the gaming landscape. Originally for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it received critical acclaim for having a surprisingly well-done story, and an intricate fighting style. Bayonetta can appear as a cliché Japanese “beat-’em-up” title with the selling factor of a sexualized main character. However, its surprisingly complex fighting system requiring only three buttons for control along with its fast-paced action proved itself above other games. In late 2014, Bayonetta 2, shockingly released as an exclusive for the Wii U, also came packaged with a redesigned version of the original acclaimed game.
In Bayonetta, taking place in the fictional city of Vigrid, you play as a female protagonist named Bayonetta, a shape-shifting witch with firearms battling both angels and demons, to say simplistically. You have lost your memory, and the story of Bayonetta heavily involves you trying to find out your past. The setting of Bayonetta borrows from Dante’s Divine Comedy: Paradiso. You will come across a wide variety of characters throughout the game such as Luka, a potential love interest for Bayonetta; Enzo, an informant for Bayonetta along with being the game’s prime comedic relief; and Rodin, the owner of a bar in the city of Vigrid where Bayonetta can also upgrade and purchase new weapons. Where Bayonetta shines is Each character has a unique persona and background to them, and this is where Bayonetta shines. No detail of any character is left goes unnoticed.
For the Wii U version, gameplay takes a new twist in comparison to its older 360 and PS3 counterparts. While you can opt to use the Wii U gamepad’s button controls for combat and moving your character, you can also control the game directly with the touch screen on the gamepad. Using the stylus (or your finger, if you prefer), you can move Bayonetta the shape shifting witch around with a touch of the screen. To attack enemies, simply tapping on them will have Bayonetta attack them. Double-tapping (along with other various combos using the stylus) allows you to perform more complex attacks onto enemies, and sliding the stylus quickly when an enemy attacks allows Bayonetta to dodge any attack swiftly. While I must admit that I ultimately found using traditional controls more satisfying than the gamepad’s touchscreen, I must say I was genuinely surprised with how well the touchscreen controls worked. This is all in addition to the gameplay itself being smooth, chaotic, and quite fun. The numerous attacks and combos you can pull off will satisfy any gamer looking for a thoroughly good beat-’em-up game.
The only general concern I have with Bayonetta is the unnecessary use of Bayonetta’s sexuality. Whether it is with using specific attacks or when Bayonetta shapeshifts, the game will find “reasons” for flashing the player, whether it be the backside to her breasts. Given how well the gameplay itself is along with the unique characters, including Bayonetta herself, the inclusion of the various sexualities with Bayonetta feels unneeded and could even turn off female gamers from what is otherwise a good game.
Overall, Bayonetta is still the great game it was back in 2010, and with the new inclusions in the Wii U version along with being packaged for free with the newly-released Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U. I recommend this game for anyone who owns a Wii U and is looking for a more mature alternative to other first party titles on the Wii U.