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Game Review

Like its predecessor, Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2 follows the escapades of the titular and fiercely full-figured witch who makes her way through an overwrought, almost incomprehensible storyline. Her universe is battered, stretched and strained by a spiritual struggle that the average citizen cannot see. It's an alternate-reality Armageddon that plays out on the backs of soaring jets and speeding trains—an impossible tussle between Dark Witches and Lumen Sages, powerful artifacts and cast spells, gods and monsters.

In the midst of this twisted phantasmal free-for-all are raging bejeweled monstrosities as large as skyscrapers, evil "angelic" minions with enormous wings and the look of mythic statues, and god-like overseers who juggle world-rending powers. So while trying to rescue a fellow witch from the soul-devouring appetites of hell itself, Bayonetta must battle and best one and all.

That over-the-top visual bizarreness and nonstop calamitous conflict is, of course, the draw here. The Bayonetta games are well-known—and highly praised by many reviewers—for being exotic 100-mile-an-hour thrill rides with easy-to-access attack, dodge and combo mechanics. And when gamers start stringing together attacks and deploying ever more perfectly timed dodges, they're rewarded with additional exotic take-downs and slow-motion "Witch Time" bonuses.

But it is also the downside.

For all of that precision, polish and glitz, those blazing attacks are where the game's really sloppy and sleazy stuff starts splashing about.

Bayonetta herself is a strong and capable fighter, but she's one of the most highly sexualized game characters you'll ever encounter. Basically, she's a kinky and crude dominatrix, with exaggerated body proportions wrapped in tighter-than-tight outfits. Well, I should say she's wrapped in those outfits until they're magically swept off during her strongest attacks, leaving the wicked witch clad only in strategically placed wisps of hair and shadow.

Which is why, apparently, Nintendo went so far as partnering with Playboy's pornographic enterprises as part of its marketing campaign.

Whether Bayonetta is seductively leaping and stretching with the moves of a seasoned pole dancer or showing off her long, model-like legs to blaze away with the pistols strapped to her ankles, the camera takes all kinds of gratuitous time to closely examine her feminine geography. It's a lingering obsession that even otherwise praising reviewers have labeled "male-gaze."

"[The camera] zooms in on Bayonetta's parts like they're products being sold in a commercial," polygon.com reported. "There are enough gratuitous a-- shots, cleavage jokes and spread legs to fill an hours-long super cut. The camera doesn't look at Bayonetta—it leers at her. ... It's sexist, gross pandering, and it's totally unnecessary."

As is this: While bending just so for the camera, Bayonetta seems to enjoy herself ever so much as she rams, slices, stabs and crushes her foes into a bloody paste in the most sexual manner possible. Bare backsides are impaled, kicked and whipped, giant chain saws and swords split people from the crotch up or slash from the breast down, and busty female angels are ogled while being sexually tortured with spikes and chains. Each scream-inducing combo ends with a self-described writhing "climax" of bloody guts and goop.

Other kinds of (frequent) screams include the f-word and the s-word, along with all kinds of other messy language. So it's quite a nasty and sexually twisted tailspin for the usually family-friendly Nintendo and its widely used Wii U.

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Record Label


Wii U




October 24, 2014

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

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