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Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) review: The best Wii U game yet isn't for kids

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Within the development team of Platinum Games exists a bastion of creativity and vision that is tough to wrap one's head around.

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Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)

The Good

Bayonetta 2 is an over-the-top surreal action game that is unlike anything you've ever seen. Its pace is staggering, challenging and features some of the most breathtaking enemies and boss fights ever seen in a game.

The Bad

While it's a fantastic game, Bayonetta 2 is exclusively available for a console that's mostly targeted at a younger audience. It's also not as fun to play on the Wii U GamePad as it is on classic controllers.

The Bottom Line

While it should be reserved strictly for a mature audience, Bayonetta 2 is a masterful action game brimming with vibrant visuals and a larger-than-life presence.

Bayonetta 2 is an over-the-top action game almost certainly unlike anything you've ever witnessed before. It's a shock to nascent eyes that aren't versed in the franchise's legacy and it never ceases to amaze those who've already had the pleasure of experiencing its anarchy.

If you've never played the original Bayonetta -- the studio's 2009 chaotic classic -- you're in for a real surprise. Nintendo first announced that the sequel would be a Wii U-only title back in 2012 as sort of a console launch teaser, even though the first Bayonetta saw a multiplatform release.

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Platinum Games

So even with the juxtaposition of console exclusivity on a platform that's mostly targeted at a younger audience, Bayonetta 2 is easily one of the best action games ever made. It's ultraviolent, oddly sexualized and perplexingly profane at times, but the game's action rises miles above these peculiarities.

Read GameSpot's review of Bayonetta 2

Suffice it to say, Bayonetta 2 isn't for many players who likely own a Wii U. It's not a game for the easily affronted or pretty much anyone underage. But for the mature player, one who is able to appreciate the vast spectrum of art and different cultures from which it originates, Bayonetta 2 should absolutely be required playing.

Prepare to be blasted with a barrage of multicolored mayhem, celerity that your eyes will have trouble keeping up with and the breathtaking kind of boss design that will stay with you well beyond your time with the game.

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Platinum Games

Among the madness, Bayonetta 2 does have a fighting system that is manageable, relying heavily on a dodge maneuver that, when pulled off correctly, briefly slows down time. The game within the game is becoming quick enough to detect the precursors of an enemy's attack and responding accordingly.

Regardless of how you approach action games, most players should be able to find a strategy that works for them, though you'll also have access to bonus items and earn currency to purchase more upgrades between chapters.

So just what is Bayonetta 2 about? If I'm being perfectly honest, I haven't got a clue. Its story is almost completely incomprehensible to anyone I've talked to. Bayonetta is in an endless battle with demons and other hellspawn. Her superhuman powers seem to come from her hair, or least her hair fights alongside her. It's much easier to imagine the story as you wish, because there isn't much substance provided beyond the obvious takeaway that Bayonetta is a powerful and captivating heroine who is not to be trifled with.

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Platinum Games

Beyond the weak narrative, I didn't enjoy playing Bayonetta 2 with the Nintendo GamePad. Its wide design just doesn't mesh well for me in a button-mashing game. It's great to be able to play offscreen, but beyond that specific application, I highly recommend investing in either a Wii U Pro Controller or even the original Wii Classic Controller Pro.

CNET Verdict: An action masterpiece

Bayonetta 2 is a rare must-own blockbuster for Wii U. It's ultraviolent, strangely sexualized and astonishingly bizarre, but it's a shining example of the endless creativity and polish that's possible within the medium.

Read GameSpot's review of Bayonetta 2