There are brief moments within Bayonetta 2 that hint at a sense of tranquillity.
Flashes of Henry Mancini’s easy listening classic Moon River for example, or a fleeting pause for the heroine – a modern witch – to smile in slow motion to camera. But don’t be fooled. This a game of excess and spectacle, where rare hints at understatement merely contrast with and hence emphasise its knack for sensory mauling. Bayonetta 2 is – as was its predecessor – over the top, ludicrous and simply brilliant.
Developer Platinum Games have crafted an elegant action game focused on brawling, which overflows with lavish level design, accessible but intricate combat mechanics, and intensely dramatic set pieces.
Realised as increasingly overwhelming skirmishes, the game is set in a netherworld where angels and demons toy with humanity’s fate. It’s a place that is knowingly hammy, and one where its empowered heroine’s confident, playful sexuality will not be to everybody’s tastes. Yet those who tackle it will find a masterfully built game with enough depth to demand repeated playthroughs.
Solitary campaign mode aside, there’s also an enjoyable online multiplayer, while the special edition comes bundled with a reworking of the 2009 original. One might argue that Bayonetta 2 merely offers more of the same, delivered so expertly once before, but it has been realised so pefectly here that it’s been well worth the five-year wait.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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