Bay­o­netta 2

EDGE - - GAMES - Pub­lisher Nin­tendo De­vel­oper Plat­inumGames For­mat Wii U Re­lease Oc­to­ber 20 (JP), 24 (EU, NA)

Wii U

Nin­tendo may have res­cued it from the cut­tin­groom floor, funded the rest of its de­vel­op­ment and pub­lished it as a Wii U ex­clu­sive, but Bay­o­netta 2 is still a Sega game. It’s some­thing that’s made clear from the open­ing min­utes, when the logo of Nin­tendo’s one-time ri­val adorns a taxi-top bill­board, and of which you’re of­ten re­minded, since Plat­inum con­tin­ues the first game’s line in Sega homages. In­deed, splash-screen lo­gos and bor­rowed cos­tumes aside, on the face of it this is as far re­moved from the Nin­tendo house style as it’s pos­si­ble to get, a hy­per­vi­o­lent tale of a sex­u­alised pro­tag­o­nist whose mod­esty is cov­ered only by her own hair; who sashays, strips and pole dances; and who shouts “Fuck off!” at the end of com­bos.

And yet Bay­o­netta 2 is in many ways a per­fect fit for Nin­tendo, with its bright blue skies, its easy charm, its re­lent­less pro­ces­sion of ideas and its im­mac­u­lately tuned con­trols. And as the se­quel to the best game Plat­inum has ever made, it sports a best-in-class set of com­bat me­chan­ics that en­sure it is as wel­com­ing to the unini­ti­ated as it is fright­en­ingly deep for old hands. New­com­ers can mer­rily but­ton mash their way through the lower dif­fi­culty lev­els and still be made to feel like the most pow­er­ful be­ing in the uni­verse. Almost ev­ery combo string in the game, whether planned or im­pro­vised, ends with a Wicked Weave, a screen-filling, hard-hit­ting at­tack per­formed by a de­mon sum­moned from the In­ferno be­low and given form by Bay­o­netta’s hair. Other games in this genre hide their great­est prizes be­hind a skill bar­rier that may take dozens of hours of study and prac­tice to sur­mount. Bay­o­netta 2 sim­ply asks that you keep press­ing but­tons.

The re­wards for do­ing so are greater than ever. As be­fore, land­ing at­tacks builds a magic me­ter, which can be spent on Tor­ture At­tacks, dur­ing which our hero­ine sum­mons guil­lotines, iron maidens and demons to dole out heavy, bloody dam­age on sin­gle op­po­nents in ex­change for a spot of but­ton mash­ing. Fill the magic me­ter en­tirely, how­ever, and you can ac­ti­vate the new Um­bran Cli­max mode. Here, health recharges, ev­ery nor­mal at­tack is a Wicked Weave, and combo en­ders ham­mer ev­ery­thing on­screen. It adds yet another layer of daz­zling spec­ta­cle to a se­ries that hardly lacked for it al­ready, and that looks even bet­ter now on Wii U.

It’s not the in­creased res­o­lu­tion that strikes you, but the vi­brancy of it all: this is a riot of colour even dur­ing its qui­eter mo­ments, as you guide Bay­o­netta across the planet, down to its in­fer­nal un­der­world and even back in time, jumping from a bustling New York to the depths of Hell, from a sun-baked moun­tain city to the bow­els of a gi­gan­tic de­mon. By turns Bay­o­netta 2’ s world shim­mers and glis­tens, crumbles and pul­sates, en­thralls and hor­ri­fies. And when the feet and fists start fly­ing, it’s some­thing else en­tirely. Load up the first game, even in revamped form, and you’ll be struck by how grainy and washed-out it looks, and be­gin to won­der if its in­clu­sion with the spe­cial and First Print edi­tions is meant to show how far Plat­inum has come.

Yet in a way, what Plat­inum has done best is turn back to the past. In the five years since Bay­o­netta’s Ja­panese de­but, the Osaka stu­dio’s work in this genre has seen it dab­ble in on­line brawl­ing with An­ar­chy Reigns, riff off Satur­day morn­ing cartoons with The Won­der­ful 101, and res­cue Metal Gear Ris­ing: Re­vengeance from de­vel­op­ment limbo. None have come close to re­cap­tur­ing Bay­o­netta’s magic, and Plat­inum clearly de­lights in be­ing back in con­trol of its finest cre­ation. The in­flu­ence of its other games can be felt oc­ca­sion­ally – it reprises the slow-mo­tion shot of a blade nar­rowly miss­ing the pro­tag­o­nist’s chin that it used and reused to the point of fetishism in Ris­ing, for in­stance. But this is Bay­o­netta, a ri­otous, spec­tac­u­lar work of the high­est or­der of camp, one that’s al­ways ready with a las­civ­i­ous wink and a knob gag, even when the fate of the uni­verse is at stake. There is still noth­ing quite like it. There are stum­bles along the way, ad­mit­tedly, but the only thing wrong with Bay­o­netta 2 is how closely it ad­heres to the orig­i­nal game’s for­mula. It is a CPU and GPU up­grade away from a game that came out in 2009, with many of the same weapons, items, en­e­mies and even sound ef­fects. That might be more of a prob­lem if the genre had moved on in the past five years, but no stu­dio, not even Plat­inum it­self, has even come close to push­ing it. Only a fool would med­dle with Bay­o­netta’s magic, then, and in­stead the de­vel­oper has wisely fo­cused on iron­ing out the orig­i­nal’s few kinks. Those sud­den, mid-cin­e­matic, in­stafail QTEs are gone, and so too is the shoot­ing minigame be­tween mis­sions. En­emy weapon pick­ups are now a bonus rather than a penalty, bound to the but­ton that fires your pis­tols in­stead of the one that swings the weapon in your hands. Pac­ing has been tight­ened up across the board, the Sega homages no longer out­stay­ing their wel­come, and the cutscenes, while still many, are a good deal snap­pier.

They’re as full as ever of odd­balls too. Plat­inum’s bizarre love of cul­tural stereo­typ­ing has be­come so fre­quent that it is start­ing to feel like it is the first bul­let point on the stu­dio’s mis­sion state­ment. Re­turn­ing to the sup­port­ing cast are Rodin, the soultalk­ing African-Amer­i­can mer­chant, and Enzo, the dumpy, half-wit­ted Ital­ian-Amer­i­can who ends ev­ery other line with ‘Fuged­daboutit’, whether apro­pos or not. They’re joined by Loki, a young man of in­de­ter­mi­nate non-white de­scent whose Bri­tish ac­cent was seem­ingly voiced by some­one who has never set foot in the UK, but spent a cou­ple of days binge watch­ing episodes of Game Of Thrones and Downton Abbey be­fore giv­ing it their best shot. Yet th­ese lit­tle slips are much eas­ier to for­give in the con­text of a game that de­lights in its own

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.