Bayonetta 2 is a violent and fast-paced action game and the much anticipated sequel to 2010’s popular title, Bayonetta. Bayonetta 2 can be fun to play but its highly sexualized portrayal of the title character and its over-the-top violence make it a game that should probably be just for (much) older teens and adults.
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Story & Themes
Bayonetta’s friend Jeanne is killed during the first chapter. Because she is a witch, her soul is immediately dragged down into hell. Bayonetta goes on a journey to save her and on the way gets mixed up in a power struggle involving heaven, hell, and the human world. The religiously themed side of the story is extremely convoluted, and there is violent hack-and-slash fighting at every turn. But the Jeanne aspect of the mostly over-the-top story gives the player some character motivation to cling to.
There is a co-op campaign in which you can team up with one other computer-matched player to complete short battles.
Bayonetta has always been about near-constant fast-paced action and lots of cool-looking attacks. The game’s core mechanic is dodging. When you barely dodge an attack (which is most times because enemies in this game tend to swing their weapons rather quickly), time slows way down in a mechanic known as Witch Time. Basically, all the enemies freeze and you get free attacks on them. There is no limit on how often Witch Time can be activated. You can dodge up to five times in quick succession without penalties.The gameplay has a lot more to do with reaction time than conscious thought.
Virtually any combination of attacks will eventually result in at least one of the powerful combo finishers known as Wicked Weaves. In fact, even if you somehow manage to never use Wicked Weaves through combos, that just means you’ll build up magic power even faster for Bayonetta 2’s “Umbran Climax Mode,” during which every one of your attacks is a Wicked Weave.
Violence The violence in Bayonetta, in keeping with its over-the-top tone, is graphic and exaggerated but somewhat unrealistic. Most of the time, you’re fighting angels and demons who are only vaguely human looking. A lot of them don’t even have faces, and when you fight them eventually their human-like face cracks and falls off like a mask, revealing a monstrous visage.
However, this is a very bloody game with lots of blood splatter. For instance, you can use a sword to cut enemies in half. Characters die in gory ways.
Scary Imagery There are some frightening monsters and of course the exaggerated violence and fast pace can be frightening.
Sex & Nudity Bayonetta’s personality basically consists of being as seductive as possible to almost literally every other character she comes across. “Don’t make me beg,” she says, folding her arms behind her head and thrusting out her chest when I press the “Taunt” button. This is a game in which the end credits sequence includes the player character pole-dancing for the player and a game in which combo finishers cause most of the player character’s clothes to dematerialize. Sometimes it feels a little exploitative. It’s been common for female characters in video games to be hyper-sexualized for a very long time, but this is a step beyond. Bayonetta’s sexuality is almost the whole point of her character.
Strong Language There is lots of swearing. Mostly “f***” and “s***.”
Discrimination Bayonetta is a controversial character because she is hyper-sexualized while also being strong, charismatic, powerful, and a hero. Some critics have criticized the use of camera angles that show her body parts as rewards for playing well. Critics disagree on whether the game successfully walks the line between sexy and sexualized.
When a story is satirical or played for laughs, do you look at the violence differently?
How does the campiness of Bayonetta's sexual content strike you? Does it remind you of old movies like Barbarella?
Do you think Bayonetta is a strong female character because she is capable and intimidating?