Bayonetta & Bayonetta 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review – The Witch on Switch

Bayonetta & Bayonetta 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review - The Witch on Switch

Can someone please tell me when Nintendo sneakily stole Bayonetta from every other console? I remember when the first Bayonetta released in 2009, and much like its spiritual predecessor Devil May Cry, was beginning to see life on all consoles, it seemed very much like Bayonetta would follow the same path; as a high concept, high octane brawler with obvious mass appeal.

Read moreBayonetta & Bayonetta 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review – The Witch on Switch

All The Announcements And Trailers From The Game Awards 2017

All The Announcements And Trailers From The Game Awards 2017

As always, The Game Awards can be divided into two halves: Celebrating the best video games released this year, and announcing plenty of new games that will come out in the months and years to come. The Game Awards 2017 was no different, with world premieres of new titles happening every few minutes like clockwork.

We already have a rundown of the winners of The Game Awards 2017, so here is a brief look at all the announcements, news and trailers revealed at the show.

New Death Stranding Trailer

Another year, another trailer for Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding that, once again, doesn’t make any sense. There’s still no gameplay footage, but you can watch the newest trailer, starring Norman Reedus, above.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild The Champion’s Ballad DLC Now Available

In a surprise announcement, Nintendo revealed that the second DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is now available for download. The Champion’s Ballad DLC includes a new dungeon, a quest line focusing on each of the four Champions, new armor, and most importantly, a new motorcycle for Link to ride on called the Master Cycle Zero.

Bayonetta 3 Announced, Bayonetta 1 & 2 Coming to the Switch in February

Nintendo also announced during the show that not only will Bayonetta 1 & 2 be coming to the Nintendo Switch on February 16, 2018, but that Bayonetta 3 was also in development exclusively for the Switch.

Soul Calibur VI Announced

Bandai Namco announced Soul Calibur VI, the latest entry in the long-running fighting game franchise. It will launch on the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam in 2018.

Campo Santo’s In The Valley of  Gods Revealed

Campo Santo, the developers behind Firewatch, revealed that their next title will be a first-person adventure called In The Valley of Gods. Set in Egypt during the 1920’s, the game has a tentative release date of 2019.

From Software Tease Newest Title

From Software released a teaser trailer for its newest project, which features the tagline “Shadows Die Twice” and what appears to be rope wrapping around a piece of bone. Some are speculating that this is a teaser for Bloodborne 2, but From have not revealed any other details so far.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Gets a 1.0 Release Date

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds debuted a trailer for its new desert map, Miramar, and announced that it would move out of Early Access on December 20 on PC.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds also debuted a new live-action trailer ahead of its Xbox Game Preview launch on December 12.

Fade to Silence Announced

Black Forest Games announced Fade to Silence, a new survival game that will launch on Steam’s Early Access program on December 14. Fade to Silence is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where you have to fight to survive against harsh winter weather and supernatural enemies.

Witchfire Announced

A new dark fantasy first-person shooter called Witchfire was announced during the ceremony. The most surprising part? It’s from the creators of The Vanishing of Ethan CarterPainkiller, and Bulletstorm.

GTFO Announced

GTFO, a four-player co-op game from the game designer behind Payday and Payday 2, was revealed at the show. Players control a team of scavengers who are exploring an underground complex that is overrun with monsters.

New Metro Exodus Trailer Revealed

A new trailer for the stunning Metro Exodus was revealed during the show. Metro Exodus is set for release sometime in Fall 2018.

Fortnite Battle Royale Gets a 50v50 Mode

Epic Games revealed that Fortnite Battle Royale has a new 50v50 mode that is available to play now. This is a limited time game mode that will run until December 17.

World War Z Game Revealed

World War Z video game was revealed by Saber Interactive. It will feature four-player co-op, and is based off the popular book and film series.

A Way Out’s Release Date Revealed

Hazelight Studios prison escape game A Way Out will release on March 28, 2018, for PS4, Xbox One and PC. A Way Out will allow you to play co-op with a friend online, even if your friend does not own a copy of the game.

Vacation Simulator Announced

Are you tired from simulating a job? Job Simulator developers Owlchemy Labs have you covered, as they unveiled their newest VR game Vacation Simulator at the event. Vacation Simulator will launch on PlayStation VR, Oculus, and Vive in 2018.

Accounting+ Revealed for PSVR

Crows Crows Crows and Squanch Games announced that an upgraded version of HTC Vive game Accounting called Accounting+ will release on PlayStation VR on December 19.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Mike Cosimano’s The Game Awards 2017 Wrap-Up!

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Wii U Games You Need in Your Library

Wii U Games You Need in Your Library

Ever since the late Satoru Iwata announced the NX’s development way back in 2015, it was clear that we were in the twilight period of the Wii U.  Yet, even before that statement, Nintendo’s dual-screened home console struggled to gain any real footing with casual or hardcore gamers, leaving it without any real demographic. Still, sales aside, the Wii U managed to be an exclusive home for some truly fun titles. Don’t let the release date of a new console make you trigger shy, because the Wii U acquired quite the exclusive line up in its five year life cycle, and here are just a few—in no particular order.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Wii U Games You Need in Your Library 10

Set in the distant future, the last beacon of hope for humanity sits on a ship floating aimlessly through space. Unfortunately, it’s shot down by an alien race, crashing on an unknown planet. Now, humans fight to survive on an increasingly hostile planet they’re trying to explore. Making matters worse, the native creatures—along with other aliens the humans run into—are out to kill them. Players take control of a nameless soldier found inside a pod with no real recollection of who they are. Still, their character appears to be pretty good with a gun, and quickly moves up through the military ranks in a division of their choosing, each of which focuses on different aspects of the game and offers different upgrades.

This is the biggest title on the Wii U in terms of size, and it’s a great RPG in its own right. As a sequel to the highly rated Wii title that fans fought tooth and nail to bring to North American shores, it does everything and more to live up to the legacy of its predecessor. While it can feel a little too open ended, and even overwhelming at times, RPG fans should not miss out on the best title in the genre on the Wii U.

Mario Maker

Wii U Games You Need in Your Library 7

Mario’s showings on the Wii U are mixed at best. While people tend to enjoy New Super Mario Bros. U and Super Mario 3D Land, they won’t go down as some of the greatest Mario games for a variety of reasons. Mario Maker on the other hand, changed the game—literally.

By playing into the do it yourself culture the videogame world has been moving into for the past generation and a half, Mario Maker lets players build and share their own levels.  They choose an aesthetic ranging from the original game to Super Mario World  (excluding number two), which actually determines the abilities Mario has. Aside from that, builders can choose the location and even extras like character skins Mario can wear. The creativity is community driven, and their presence is still going strong even a year after its release, meaning it’s still a good time to hop on board the Mario Maker Train.

Splatoon

Wii U Games You Need in Your Library

This is easily the online powerhouse for the Wii U. Obviously this console has weak support from franchises like Call of Duty, meaning if gamers crave a traditional online shooter experience, then the Wii U isn’t their console. Still, Nintendo put their own spin on the genre with this, colourful, vibrant, personality filled shooter where the main goal isn’t to kill the opponent, but ink as much of the map as possible within the time limit.

It’s addictive, and receives consistent support from Nintendo in terms of updates, special events, and Amiibos, which makes Splatoon one of the most played titles on the Wii U.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Wii U Games You Need in Your Library 6

This wouldn’t be a top Nintendo list if Smash Bros. wasn’t included. In many ways, this cross over king of the hill style fighter isn’t just a celebration of Nintendo and its rich history; it’s a celebration of gaming as a whole with characters from companies that have roots in gaming just as deep as the Big N. This time around, fans were treated to Pac-Man, Ryu from Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bayonetta, and even the blue bomber himself, Mega Man.

In many game circles the term “settle it in Smash” is used as a way to determine a winner of any given argument, and that tradition lives on the Wii U. With some of the best couch multiplayer on any console, a pretty lively online population, and even a dedicated eSports scene, this is a title that both casual and hardcore gamers young and old will enjoy.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Okay, this one isn’t fair, but since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn’t release until after the holiday season, I’m calling this one a draw. Trying to choose between Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD is like trying to choose which grandparent you’d rather die first. Yeah, you probably know deep down inside, but you’d never say it out loud.  They’re also so different that it makes choosing one over the other nearly impossible.

On one hand, you have Wind Waker. To many this is the Zelda title of their childhood. With bright colours, a cute art style, and a flooded Hyrule, this game captures the childlike wonder of the world around you. It also has pirates and players can stab Ganon in the face, so that’s pretty cool as well. With some of the most memorable moments in the series, and a strong focus on exploration, Wind Waker is considered by many to be the best in the series.

Then we have Twilight Princess, Windwaker’s angry little brother who listens to Marilyn Manson and watches Tim Burton movies like they’re religious experiences. This title stands in direct contrast to its predecessor, tapping into a darker side Nintendo tried to escape from post-Majora’s Mask. While its plot is very simple, and it is the definition of “the Zelda formula”, its realistic art direction mixed with a wolf Link make for an experience unlike anything seen in The Legend of Zelda franchise.  It also features some of the most frightening, unnerving scenes ever seen in the series, making this a must have for those looking for a more grown up Legend of Zelda.

Bayonetta 2

Wii U Games You Need in Your Library 1

The fact that we got a sequel to the cult classic developed by Platinum Games still feels surreal even two years later. With the original title—published by Sega—meeting lackluster sales despite high praise from critics and players alike, it seemed like this Devil May Cry inspired brawler wouldn’t see the light of day ever again.  Enter Nintendo.  Somehow, Nintendo managed to get the exclusive rights to the franchise and here we go.

With smooth, fast paced combat, an empowered female lead, and a whole lot of angel fighting, Bayonetta 2 is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the Wii U library. Not only that, it was originally packaged with the first title that released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2011, so you can experience the entire Bayonetta story on the Wii U.

Obviously, there are more titles than just what is listed here, but if players get their hands on these, they have a pretty good start to their Wii U collection. This won’t be a console that goes down in history as Nintendo’s strongest, but it is still a fun device, with a unique control scheme that was home to some very fun games. And at the end of its life, that is good enough.

Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) Review

Bayonetta 2 (Wii U) Review

When the Wii U was announced, much hype was made about the fact that Nintendo finally had a system that could go toe-to-toe with the competition on a technical level. Yet, thus far the system has only really been used as Nintendo franchise machine with a little extra oomph. Thankfully, Bayonetta 2 has finally arrived to show the Nintendo faithful and doubters just what this sweet little system is capable of. This isn’t just the best action title on the Wii U, it’s the best and most blissfully entertaining action game that’s been released in this entire generation so far. Rated M with a bullet and packing more skull-cracking high-kicks and swordplay than the entire Shaw Brothers’ oeuvre, Bayonetta 2 will make hardcore gamers weak at the knees just watching the action on screen. Hand them a controller and they’ll be drooling and giggling with joy until the end credits roll. We’re talking about an action game that starts with a massive fight scene set on a jet fighter flying through a city and somehow the designers manage to keep topping themselves from there. An absolute blast.

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Now, while I consider Bayonetta 2 to be a gorgeous and mind-bogglingly fun gaming experience, I couldn’t describe the plot to you with a high-heeled boot gun to my head. I tuned out at some point during the prologue, which involved our titular witch enjoying a big city shopping spree before being interrupted by a magical military assault that leads to a battle across heaven and hell. Beyond that most basic description of the events, I have no idea what happened. The plot is nonsensical in a stream-of-conscious manner that feels very at home in the anime aesthetic. Calling the characters two-dimensional even feels like giving the writers too much credit and the hyper sexualization of the heroine is just absurd from start to finish. Not that I was offended or irritated by any of this (well, except for some of the sophomoric humor which is just dumb not offensive). The game’s story almost feels like a parody of anime conventions in just how far it pushes the genre extremes. It’s certainly never boring for a second and frequently quite funny, especially when the comedy isn’t intentional.

Of course, you don’t exactly sit down to play a game like Bayonetta 2 for the complex storytelling and emotionally rich characterizations. That would be tonally inappropriate and even worse, it would get in the way of all of the glorious bloodshed. This game is all about the combat, people. Everything else is just an excuse to get there, and oh, what wonderful combat it is. Since you play as a witch, magic powers embodied in flaming dragons or giant stilettos made of deadly hair join in on the fun with traditional objects of ass-kickery like swords and guns. Each weapon comes with its own combos and all are executed with a simple two button set up that’s easy to learn and difficult to master (there’s also an even more stripped down touch screen control system for beginners, but the default controls are so amazing that it’s more of a bonus feature than anything else).

Despite the fact that the fights explode onto the screen with blazing speed and that you’ll normally be fighting a variety of enemies at once, there’s never a second when you won’t feel in control. It’s an incredibly intuitive control scheme that’s deep and satisfying. Your moves all look devastating and very rarely do two fights ever feel the same. Aside from button mashing attack sprees, strategy comes into play through combo systems, items, magic, and a clever slow-mo “witch mode” that arrives after a successfully dodged attack. Make no mistake, none of the vast array of enemies should be taken lightly, but Bayonetta feels so insanely powerful in battle that you’ll truly feel like you can overcome any obstacle.

Big bosses are of course a major selling point, each boasting their own fighting personality and all packing a truly intimidating scale. They are all sweaty palmed affairs and all cap off with an astounding finishing move that will make you want to drop the controller and burst into applause after what you’ve accomplished. In the precious few moments between fights, you’ll engage in some mild platforming Never once did these moments slow down the game. In fact, normally these sections required Bayonetta to transform herself into an animal for blistering speed and even a little extra carnage. The level and character design is always beautifully gothic and strange. You won’t have much time to explore the nooks and crannies of these wacko takes on heaven and hell, but what you’ll see will always put a smile on your face. The designers truly out did themselves. This isn’t a game in which you’ll fight through a level inside a giant beast’s stomach, you’ll do so amidst a sea-storm of blood with other giant monsters that live inside the beast jumping out to get you between regular fights. It’s an assault on the senses that needs to be seen to be believed, always playing at a crisp 60 frames per second and proving that the Wii U can compete with the big boys when it comes to sheer visual beauty and overload.

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This linear title essentially offers a non-stop rush through fifteen chapters leading up to its explosive conclusion. However, the game is also deeper than you might think. Each level is loaded with Easter eggs and unique challenges that will unlock extra weapons and items. Rather than leveling up, you’ll collect money throughout the game, which can then be spent on extra items and customization costumes. When it’s all over, you’ll even get 52 co-op fights to play online with friends. And yet, despite all the bells and whistles to keep this disc spinning in your system, most players will find themselves returning to campaign levels over and over just to improve their skills. It’s amazing just how deep and varied the combat design is and there are so many ways to skin each and every cat in Bayonetta’s way. Given how absurdly fast and epic each level is, replaying never feels like a chore. So many bright colors, explosions of blood, and controller-drop set pieces are shoved into your eyeballs from start to finish that it’s impossible to remember it all on first playthrough (frankly, I doubt it could all be lodged in memory in two playthroughs). If you own a Wii U, then you simply have buy a copy of Bayonetta 2. It’s as simple as that. This is the best action game to hit a Nintendo system since No More Heroes 2 and easily the best that the genre has to offer on shelves in general right now. If you want the Wii U to be more than a Nintendo mascot machine (not that there’s anything wrong with that), then you owe it to yourself to buy this game. The folks at Platinum Games just proved that it’s possible to make a beautiful M-rated masterpiece for the Wii U. Let’s make sure that’s the start of a trend and not an anomaly.

 

Opinion: Direct to E3

Opinion: Direct to E3

Earlier today, Nintendo announced they are forgoing the traditional E3 press conference this year in favour of a digital event again. While the presentation showed that it would be a fun time, the reality is it’s a risky move for the Japanese console manufacturer. That isn’t to say it’s bad or good. It’s just different, and it could backfire.

E3 is the big show. Not just for gamers, but for investors, publishers and developers too. A strong showing at the expo could generate enough hype from the industry to set things right for Nintendo. They need it. In January, the company announced it’s third consecutive annual loss. This isn’t good for a business that relies only on gaming, and has content that’s exclusive to one home console and one handheld. There is a genuine buzz that comes with E3 announcements, and a lot of it comes from the crowd reaction. Last year, Sony got gamers hyped to get their hands on the PlayStation 4 while the Xbox One floundered. They caught people’s attention with a good stream of content while putting down Microsoft’s original plans for the Xbox One.  It was effective the crowd got so excited, that you could feel it through your screen.  If Nintendo ditches a crowd, that could kill some of the electricity that comes with presenting the next instalment of a historic franchise. But a lack of enthusiasm from an audience can be just as damaging.

That’s why a digital event could work this time around. If Nintendo puts enough time into the Direct, they can make up for the lack of live appearance with good production value. Here, Nintendo can highlight what makes their games great in an entertaining and natural way. They also won’t have the time restrictions their competition has. So in theory, Nintendo could show more games than Sony or Microsoft and they’ll have more time to show them. That probably won’t happen because the other two companies have better working relationships with the bigger publishers.

nintendo_e3_2013

That’s another reason to be concerned. There is a likely scenario where Nintendo doesn’t have enough content to show, kind of like last year, and the year before that when we got the Nintendo Land fireworks show.  To make this work, Nintendo needs a strong line up this year. Their big titles from last event were Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and Bayonetta 2. That won’t do. Wii U sales showed that isn’t enough.This show feels like it will rely heavily on Smash Bros. which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the company needs more than that to keep people watching. The Super Smash Bros. Invitational is a good way to generate excitement, but there needs to be more. There needs to be some commitment from third party developers mixed with original Nintendo titles.  If one of those areas are lacking, this decision will make sense. It would be worse if Nintendo rented out a space and did not have much to show.

Whichever way this goes, it’s an interesting move by Nintendo.  It might not be the first time the company has done this, but it is indicative of how they want to interact with their fans. Ditching the grand stage will be cost effective, with less time restraints, but it lacks the emotion shown from an actual audience.  Nintendo is going to need to kick down the door with guns blazing to make this work, but the risk might be worth the reward. The only way to see how it will play out is on June 10, at 12:00 noon when Nintendo goes on air.

Bayonetta 2 E3 2013 Preview

Bayonetta 2 E3 2013 Preview

Bayonetta is one of those unsung gems of the current generation of gaming. It’s a fast paced, kinetic, rewarding third person action/brawler with some tight controls, fluid combat, and that uniquely Japanese sensibility to its story that treads a fine line between insanity and tastelessness. While it didn’t rake in the dough on either the Xbox 360 or the PS3 (though it was used heavily as a reference point in console war arguments due to the shoddy PS3 port) Nintendo saw fit to come to the rescue of Platinum Games and publish the sequel, so unsurprisingly, this is a Wii U exclusive. And what an exclusive it is. Of all the games available at Nintendo’s E3, this is the one that felt the least “Nintendo,” and makes action fans genuinely sad if they don’t own a Wii U.

For the hands-on demo at E3, the opening levels of the game were playable, including the tutorial for combos and options to choose which difficulty level to play at, including the infamous “Easy Automatic.” The demo opens in typical Bayonetta fashion; all guns blazing with no clear idea of what’s going on except that whatever it is is already off the rails. It was nearly impossible to discern any kind of plot with all the noise of the booth and no headphones provided, but what is clear is that A) Bayonetta’s got a haircut, for a shorter, sassier, “Audrey Hepburn with glasses and guns” look, and B) she’s all cozied up with Jeanne, her rival from the first game who is now her BFF.

As to be expected from a game being played on a newer console, the game looks fantastic. It may not hold its own against some of the monsters shown on the Xbox One or PS4, but it looks like its performance slightly surpasses in looks and stability what the original Bayonetta achieved on its former consoles. The game can be played two ways, with either traditional controls or the use of the touch screen to completely negate any kind of stick or button input. This method involves tapping enemies with the stylus and using the screen to move and dodge, but it also means you’re stuck looking at the GamePad and not the TV.

If you opt to use the traditional controls—which I did—then the feel of Bayonetta has made the transition largely intact. The combos are similar to what they were in the first game, successful dodges still reward players with some Witch Time, but one of the new components to combat shown right in the opening level is aerial combat. At one point in the demo, a new, massive foe appears that climbs a skyscraper King Kong style and Bayonetta—because this is what witches do, naturally—sprouts a pair of wings and continues the fight in the air, fluttering about and executing her gun and melee combos as the giant demon continues to climb.

Of course, the big signature for Bayonetta is the enchanted hair that can be used for everything from forming giant stiletto heeled feet for crushing to the spontaneous formation of torture devices for execution. This was still on show for Bayonetta 2, although a surprise kicked in during the cut scenes; it seems Bayonetta’s magical demon hair now has an intolerance for Jeanne, as it attacked her and apparently tore away her soul from her body.

This is obviously going to play the role of central conflict/plot point for Bayonetta 2 as the demo ended on that big question mark. The game is looking good at this point, and still feels like classic Bayonetta, insane plot included. Wii U owners are fortunate; this one is shaping up to be a must own for classic Japanese brawler action. Bayonetta 2 is scheduled for a 2014 release exclusively on the Wii U.