Bayonetta 2 (2018) [Switch]

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There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.
-Amy Poehler

 

 

ninjamage “The following is a contributor post by the Mail Order Ninja Mage.”

The original Bayonetta may have had some issues on the PlayStation version that hampered some people’s enjoyment of the game, but it was critically lauded, launching to rave reviews. A sequel may have seemed inevitable, but though it did well critically, that was not so commercially. The original game only moved slightly over a million copies on its first release. That may sound like a lot, but for a multi- platform internationally released game, those numbers are considered underwhelming. Due to the poor sales of the original, Sega cut the sequel before it ever went into proper development. The future of the franchise appeared dim, fans of the original would be left in a lurch hoping for a sequel that never appeared.

Then Nintendo showed up, and saved the day.

In agreeing to publish the game they also introduced a caveat: the originally multi-platform game would be exclusive to the Wii U. This is where Bayonetta 2’s first controversy began, as some fans of the original were livid at the move. It felt to them that Platinum had abandoned them to move onto a Nintendo console, which at the time wasn’t doing so hot. However, Platinum quickly settled that debate, making it clear that if not for Nintendo, there would simply be no Bayonetta 2. People may have been unhappy, but if they wanted to play the sequel to one of the hottest action games since Devil May Cry, they would need to pony up the dollars for a Wii U.

This was undoubtedly a move Nintendo implemented for two reasons: in order for fans of the original to play the sequel they would have to buy one of their systems, and it gave them a mature hardcore game to tout as an exclusive, something the system was sorely lacking. It was probably the right move for Nintendo; though all reports would seem to indicate the title sold poorly, it was now considered a Nintendo IP. Bayonetta even showed up in Smash Bros. on the Wii U, increasing visibility to the franchise exponentially.

With the Switch doing as well as it is, Nintendo decided to re-release both titles on their new platform, granting a whole new group of people access to the stunning gameplay of these two games. Despite poor sales of the second game on Wii U, Nintendo has also greenlit a third game in the series recently.

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The future of Bayonetta is looking up indeed, but that wasn’t the only controversy that followed its original release, or subsequent re-release on the Switch. There was always a concern over the hyper-sexualized nature of the original Bayonetta, but this controversy seemed to explode around the sequel. This was likely due to a change in the way we were viewing women and video games, and the culture surrounding games at the time with the hotbed of Gamergate. Whatever the reason, several voices cried out against the objectifying of the lead protagonist and the sexual tones of the game. Though I myself hadn’t experienced the game yet, even I raised my eyebrow at the trailers. As the camera zoomed in on a tight close up under Bayonetta’s butt, between her thighs, and up to her tightly wrapped bosom, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes.

However, after playing the games myself I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t feel like the game is victimizing or over-sexualizing Bayonetta, though I can certainly understand the viewpoints of those who feel like it is. Personally I feel like the devil is in the details, the tone of the game and its witch protagonist making all the difference to that narrative. I’m a fan of anime, but something that has always made me cringe a little is the inclusion of fan service. I’ve always felt the perverted panty shots up the skirt of some blushing teen were a little embarrassing for an otherwise fantastic medium. Even the best anime falls victim to this, and I know it is a cultural difference in America and Japan, but it is hard when watching it with another not to feel embarrassment over the shows when these occur.

The difference I feel is clear in Bayonetta 2, because she absolutely owns her sexuality. She is an insanely powerful witch, whose clothes just happen to be made of her hair, and she clearly knows she is attractive. With all the confidence and panache of a super model, she struts across the game destroying the most powerful of foes and making sure she looks good doing it. There is a complete agency to the way she behaves, with no question that she is the only person who would ever decide how and when those sexual wiles were put to use. In this way she is a power fantasy character who happens to be a female, on par with something like Goku for males. When the camera zooms around Bayonetta in the way described earlier, you don’t feel like it is victimizing her, mostly because she is flirting with the camera right back.

This still might have been something they wouldn’t be able to pull off, but the game’s tone makes all the difference. Though there is a story there that has serious undertones, the game never allows itself to dwell on it for too long. Bayonetta is insanely powerful, and the things that are constantly on-screen are ridiculous in the best of ways. She might fly down a highway on a motorcycle, dodging things with impossible moves, only to end with catching an oil truck with one hand; this is of course after she fights on the top of a jet, all while maintaining perfect posture and hair. Because the game never takes itself seriously it allows a tongue-in-cheek vibe that pervades the whole experience, and makes the overt sexuality even more acceptable in the terms it is framed in.

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Why discuss all of that when the ultimate goal is to review the game itself? For one, I think it is an important and worthwhile topic to discuss, especially in the culture we find ourselves in today. Secondly, it is an important part of the character and the game, so not discussing it would be doing a disservice to the review itself.

So aside from the sexuality, how does the game hold up? I’m glad you asked.

 

 

The 8-bit Review
visual Visuals: 8/10
This game was originally released on the Wii U in 2014, so it shares the graphics one might expect of a game of that time. It certainly is a step up from its predecessor, with better textures on characters especially, and more flashy particle effects. However, the Switch version does relegate itself to 720p in resolution, though it does so to achieve a typical framerate of 60 FPS. What this translates into is a fantastic looking game on the handheld, albeit one you’ll see the cracks on a little more when you transfer to your large TV. It also happens to play butter smooth because of it, which is terribly important in this type of game.

The art design in Bayonetta 2 is improved in every way from the original, especially when it comes to environments. One of my gripes about the original Bayonetta was that the backgrounds you fought across were far more bland than the outlandish characters, but in Bayonetta 2 that isn’t the case. Instead we are treated to fantastical locations: sweeping mountain ranges to gorgeous seaside cities. This raises the game as a whole, increasing stakes to the epic fights you’ll take part in across the world.

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When the game uses its in game engine for the cutscenes, the animation is fantastic. Intensely crazy fight scenes are common place, and are all shot wonderfully. However, Bayonetta 2 also brings back my biggest gripe from the original: voices over static images for some narrative drops. When juxtaposed directly against the wonderfully over the top in engine scenes, it simply feels jarring switching between them. Though this was undoubtedly made as a compromise for the Wii U, it certainly is distracting from the game’s overall quality in visuals.

Just like its sexy witch protagonist though, Bayonetta 2 absolutely oozes style in its artistic endeavors. The enemy, environment, character design, and fight animation more than make up for the shortcomings of textures and still images.

audio Audio: 9/10
I stated in my Bayonetta review that I was initially surprised by the quality of the music. This time I went in expecting to be pleasantly engaged with the music, and the game simply did not disappoint. Bayonetta 2 embraces the same jazz-infused pop music of the original to great effect, replacing its lead track from the last one for the fantastic “Tomorrow is Mine”.

 

During the bigger fights “Tomorrow is Mine” might fire up, but it is juxtaposed nicely with more traditional video game music, including some amazing orchestral work in “The Great War, Land Battle”. This track would fit nicely in just about any cinematic masterpiece, with dramatic cymbal claps and heavy drum beats.

 

 

Just like the first game, the sound effects are top notch, particularly the weapon effects. Thanks to fantastic sound design, each time you smash your weapon into an enemy you can feel the weight to it. The voice acting is often as ridiculous as the plot, but none of the actors are grating in the least. There are occasions during the campaign when simply good performances are elevated to fantastic, especially when it comes to Bayonetta herself.

Every line she has absolutely oozes with confidence, except when her outer confidence breaks a bit, and we see a softer person underneath. The way the voice actress weaves between these two distinct tones throughout the narrative is impressive, and brings the whole audio proceeding up a notch.

story Narrative: 7/10
My experience with the original Bayonetta taught me that the plot seems to be the biggest downside to these games, and I felt the same with Bayonetta 2. Though I tend to enjoy the ridiculous overtones of the game and the playful approach, the plot tends to be a nonsensical way to simply string together big baddies for Bayonetta to butcher.

The good news is that I found the characters to be far more engaging this go around, with the mysterious Loki in particular being a highlight. In the first game, Bayonetta was surrounded by her mostly bumbling male cohorts, along with the occasional demonic badass. However, in this outing the people around her tend to hold their own much more, and actually bring greater depth to the narrative because of it. In addition the plot seems to be more focused this time, with more personal motivations driving Bayonetta on as she seeks to save her friend from the depths of Inferno.

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The background of the world you find yourself in is again fleshed out by optional narrative segments written by a journalist. It is up to you to decide how much you care about the reasons behind your destruction of these angels, and ultimately I feel that it is an adequate way to handle it. In this way, those who just care about beating on bad guys can do so, and those who want to know more about the world certainly can.

Where the game falls off the rails a bit is in how confusing the narrative can be, especially because time travel is involved. By the end of the game I found many things unclear to the point I thought I should search answers out online for clarity. Those answers only further proved my original assumptions: the plot simply doesn’t hold up under greater inspection.

Luckily for Bayonetta, this genre of game happens to be one where the plot is simply a by-product that exists to move the action along, and as such isn’t intended to be taken seriously. Though it would certainly be nice to have a more fleshed out narrative devoid of plot contrivances, it isn’t necessary for this type of game. What is there is a perfectly fine story, but it never reaches beyond that to good or great.

gameplay Gameplay: 10/10
Where a studio like Naughty Dog might know how to make an engaging story, or Nintendo knows how to bring the polish, PlatinumGames knows how to put together amazing combat systems. Their crowning achievement in this area is Bayonetta 2: one of the most accessible and fluid combat systems I’ve ever encountered in a game.

Playing Bayonetta 2 is a lesson in simple inputs, but deep gameplay possibilities. There are really only a few inputs that you need to worry about: a punch button, a kick button, a jump button, and a dodge button. While each one is simplistic on its own, it is how you subtly learn to begin chaining them together that creates the backbone of the game. You can go into each fray simply mashing buttons, but as the game continues you’ll find yourself drawn to look as stylistic and cool as Bayonetta does when fighting.

As you kill enemies you’ll gain currency used to buy new moves, ranging from a ‘breakdance of death’ to transforming into a deadly bird. Again, all of these are mapped to just a few buttons and easy to pull off, but mastering where they go in your fight is essential. All of this combines to make a fluid and fun experience during every battle, while allowing people to approach and master it at their own pace and ability level.

Witch Time is the main crux of Bayonetta 2’s combat, and it is just as spectacular here as it was in the original game. Dodging at the last possible moment before an attack hits, Bayonetta will gracefully flip backwards and time will slow to a crawl. This allows you to unleash grandiose combos that will leave your enemies reeling, while looking extremely cool in the bargain.

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As you dodge, punch, and kick your way through angels and demons alike, you’ll build up a meter. Once this meter is full you can unleash powerful moves, but here in the sequel it functions quite a bit differently. First off, you don’t lose meter whenever you are hit; you’ll continuously build it, regardless of how poorly you are dodging. Secondly, upon reaching the apex of your meter you can either do torture attacks to a single smaller enemy, or press LB to ratchet every swing of your weapon to 11. Suddenly your sword strikes cover half the screen, and your kicks cause huge demonic legs to spring out of portals.

This gives you even more choice in how to proceed than the original game, while also allowing you to see these bombastic moves more often. Since every weapon has a different move set and animation, you are constantly encouraged to try out each one to find what suits you best. With the new powered up meter, the different demons that power your weapons show up and it makes every single one feel unique. If you consider that you can also strap most weapons to your feet and swap between two set ups instantly, the combinations of what you can do increase exponentially.

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Multiplayer has also been added to the sequel, and it is surprisingly fun to play. You can play with AI if you’d like, but you and a friend can team up with a variety of characters to destroy bosses and enemies. You’ll use something called a Verse card, and then bet halos on yourself to win. If you do, you’ll rack up currency quickly that will allow you to unlock costumes, and other various accessories. The Nintendo Switch isn’t the best system for online play, but it works and I never had any issues with connecting to another individual. Voice chat is entirely missing here, but it isn’t needed as there is no strategy needed between the two fighters.

There is something lost in the translation to multiplayer, namely strategy: every battle can be a cacophony of utter chaos. While the combat system doesn’t work as well when there are two people playing, it is a welcome mode that can further extend the hours you enjoy with Bayonetta 2.

As fun as it is to play, more Bayonetta is always a good thing.

replay Replayability: 10/10
I typically don’t replay games, especially single player ones with campaign modes. However, Bayonetta 2 continues to bring me back over and over, even though I’ve completed everything in the main experience.

This is due to the draw of the grading system: every time you complete a round of combat you are provided a medal, ranging from stone to Pure Platinum. Performing combos while avoiding getting hit will let you earn a higher medal. At the end of the level these are tallied and you are rewarded with an overall medal for that entire level. Typically doing well will reward you with more currency to spend, but there is a great satisfaction in attempting to up your score that I don’t typically find in games. Bayonetta 2 is such a fun game to play though, that I find myself wanting to constantly try out new move combinations, and continuously hone my skills.

Nintendo publishing this project leads to one giant, exclusive perk: the ability to cosplay as some of their biggest characters. The care put into these designs is obvious from a quick look: they are all lovingly crafted and animated. Not only that, but each costume adds its own flair to gameplay. In order to unlock them you can scan an amiibo, getting amusing little notes upon doing so, or you can save up halos and buy them. Either way is perfectly fine, I choose to scan the amiibo I have, but halos are easy enough to come by that you can purchase the ones you want without problems.

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Not only do these costumes look fantastic, but they are functional also. Equipping the suit for Samus will allow you to fire your arm cannon, while dashing will change you into the morphball, complete with morph bombs. Changing to Link alters all of the halos dropped in game into rupees, plays the signature treasure sound when you break open a chest, and allows you to do his signature spin attack. Daisy and Peach, on the other hand, will turn your giant demonic arm and leg summons into the arms and legs of Bowser himself, and change your halos into coins. Finally, cosplaying Fox McCloud will see you equipped with little Arwings on your feets and hands, allowing you to charge and fire off the original lasers from Star Fox.

These costumes are equipped at all times, even during the cutscenes. This makes some of the more serious scenes absolutely hilarious when you are staring at a sexy Link. Between the multiplayer, fantastic costumes, and the grade system, I can see myself coming back to this game for a long time.

diff Challenge: 10/10
Bayonetta 2 is not an easy game, but it is one that rewards the players who want to put the most time into it while also being accessible to newcomers. Even the most amazing attacks are easy to pull off for a layman of action games, and I was able to pull off all of them with almost no practice.

The original game does a great job with its difficulty curve, but I feel Bayonetta 2 improves on the formula, slowly making sure you master the game and rewarding you every time you do. The normal difficulty of the game feels more balanced and less difficult than the previous iteration, though harder difficulty levels will leave you dying from one errant swing. It is an extremely well balanced game, one that pulls no punches while simultaneously making you feel like a master when you really get into the groove of dodging and releasing combos.

unique Uniqueness: 10/10
Beat-em up action games with adventure elements might have been a bigger genre back in the PS2 era, but it has become a dying genre. Devil May Cry may be a very close analogy to this series, buy Bayonetta 2 feels wholly unique in its execution. Everything about the game is utterly ridiculous and over the top, with a character so outrageously strong she could give Dante himself a run for his money. The tone of the game is perfectly set to embrace this crazy though, and it constantly plays with the gamer’s expectations with a wink and a nod. As you careen from set piece to set piece in a ballet of death, you won’t be able to keep a smile from your face.

In a landscape filled with FPS games and third-person open world experiences, it is a breath of fresh air to play an experience like this.

pgrade My Personal Grade: 9/10
Bayonetta 2 takes absolutely everything the first did right, and improves upon it. The game has more longevity, thanks to more functional costumes and its multiplayer mode. Environments are improved over the original, with beautiful backdrops to the chaos of combat. Somehow, the game even manages to ratchet up the ridiculous scenarios taking place while providing you with weapons that outclass anything the original had to offer.

Bayonetta is one of the finest action games I’ve ever played, and Bayonetta 2 manages to improve the sequel in every way. Step over boys, we have new action royalty in town.

Long live the Queen.

 

 

 

Aggregated Score: 9.2

 

The Mail Order Ninja Mage loves video games across every console: an assassin of fanboy nonsense. He also really loves martial arts and pizza, though that is of no consequence here. To read more of his random word soup, or to view daily(ish) photo mode screenshots from his favorite games, visit him at Home Button.

 

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14 thoughts on “Bayonetta 2 (2018) [Switch]

  1. Excellent secondary review for Bay 2! Congrats on completing it so quickly. This game sounds even more fun than the original and I really want to play it just to use my Mega Man amiibo (my only amiibo) to see what happens.

    Admittedly, I remember the controversy over this game coming to Wii U and how mad some folks were about that being suddenly a Nintendo exclusive. I still laugh about it because it seems so antithetical to what Nintendo is about. When the first game was released, I remember I avoided it because of the over-sexualization. My thoughts on that are somewhat complex though my personal conscience and feelings toward it are that it’s not for me. I also dislike fan service and that’s one main reason why I don’t watch anime anymore. My own personal choice.

    Of course I don’t want real women to feel objectified, too. But I’m unsure of the relationship between fictional objectification and real life objectification. Like I don’t think playing Bayonetta is at all immoral but in real life I think it’d be terribly unsafe and unhealthy for my wife to walk around dressed the same way, not to mention sort of degrade themselves to the appearance of a… prostitute? But is that analogous to the assertion that there’s some kind of relationship or correlation between games and real life violence? I read somewhere on Twitter recently a point someone was making and I wonder what you’d think of it? They said that objectifying women is possible but objectifying fictional characters isn’t, because these themselves are objects we’ve created and therefore automatically objectified into whatever stratum we put them in (my paraphrase of what they said). I can’t quit thinking about that line of reasoning.

    Essentially, I was interested by your comparison to Goku with Bayonetta as power fantasies. I also always thought of this as being a game that was the genderbend of Devil May Cry, so instead of a hyper-macho appeal it’s a hyper-femme fatale thing.

    One other question I had for you, and this is not in the least me challenging your views, but it’s rare to have a measured discussion on the stuff that doesn’t devolve into demonization: While the tonality of Bayonetta games make them acceptable within the frame of the presentation itself, do you think that there’s any blame at all to be put upon those who are outside of that frame, the creators who constructed the frame explicitly for the overtly sexual characters? They may be women partaking in their own power fantasy for their female Goku, but if they’re men then I don’t see how that’s the case. Bayonetta doesn’t seem marketed toward young women either in the same way that DBZ and DMC were. Anyway, just some thoughts, in no order and probably insensible! I’d be curious to hear yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’m really happy to talk about it actually. Your thoughts aren’t far off what I struggled with originally, and were indeed why I didn’t play it originally. So I’ll address your points as I see them.

      The conversation is a nuanced one, and no particular viewpoint is necessarily correct. I of course wouldn’t want my wife or daughter to dress the way Bayonetta would either, but that is because I wouldn’t want men to leer at them. However, I do think women want to feel beautiful, sexy, and desired, regardless of whether it is for a man or not. I’m not a female of course, but I’ve read articles and heard from women who show off cleavage or what have you to feel good about themselves. When it starts to seem shameful, or dirty, is when men use that to degrade the women to mere objects, or think that the only reason she dresses that way is for a man. The question then becomes is it ok for a woman to dress in tight clothes that show off her curves, and to be open about her sexuality? Of course it is!

      The point you bring up about Bayonetta being a digital construct is an interesting one, especially the fact that she has been created primarily by males. It grows more complicated because it was created by mostly Japanese males, and the way they view sex is different from us here in America. Was it created to pander to men? Almost certainly, though some women undoubtedly find her brand appealing. I don’t believe for a second that some women out there wouldn’t want to wear whatever they want, feel absolutely confident in every inch of their skin, be sex positive, and have absolute power over everything in her environment.

      I feel you can objectify a character from any media of course, but it seems even more silly doing so for a completely digital one. My point in the article is I think the tone in which it is done is important. Yes, males put her in those situations, dress her like that, and make the tone what it is. However, I have no problem with the depiction because the character in their own fiction owns her sexuality, wields it like a weapon the same as she does with her pistols. Like I said in the article her every move indicates utter confidence in herself, she isn’t doing this for the benefit of any man. Of course at the same time we know that she is indeed created to sell, but I would argue for who? With porn being what it is today why would you bother playing a game that can be incredibly difficult, just to get your jollys off over a fake person?

      You bring up Dante, and that is an incredibly apt point: she is basically a female Dante in a lot of ways. They both have over the top attitudes, both of their games feature insane set pieces, and both are ridiculous in execution. DMC starts with Dante lounging around after clearly having sex, and he leaps about the room completely naked, abs glistening in the sun. All the choice bits are blocked by random objects, as he blusters his way through the fight. Yet, I don’t recall any thought pieces about his objectification, and that street certainly can run both ways. Don’t think for a moment that some fan girl wasn’t out there wishing that pizza would slip just an extra inch.

      Dante and Bayonetta are both incredibly powerful people who are sexy, know they are, and are confident in both their attractiveness and their power. They never question that they could destroy anybody they wanted to at any time, and they carry that attitude through the game. This attitude, and the over the top portrayal, changes the narrative.

      As far as Goku goes, I’ve been watching a lot of Dragonball Z Kai lately with my boy, and she just reminds me of Goku in the way she is obscenely overpowered. Even when you struggle in the game itself, you somehow are utterly assured you can destroy a towering Angel creature, and it is completely because of Bayonetta herself.

      I don’t think I would have played the game at all though, or at least not felt the same about it, if Bayonetta was an innocent blushing teenager who they were constantly trying to get panty shots of, which certainly exists out there. Honestly, Bayonetta shows skin, but her suit leaves no less to the imagination than Zero Suit Samus.

      I probably rambled a lot there, but it was all off the cuff. Overall I think there is a terrible double standard here, though I understand its existence. However, in the same way I want to play as Dante because he is cool, muscled, attractive, and powerful so must some women want to play as Bayonetta for the same reason.

      In a world where women are expressing themselves more than ever before, and consent is everything, having a powerful women with sexual agency whom couldn’t be touched by a single man she didn’t want to be is a good thing, no?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey thanks for the super thoughtful answer! I’m sure someone will have a chuckle at two men trying to hash out this subject but the game was made by men and we’re doing the best we can with what we got, folks. 😀

        I’ll try and respond paragraph to paragraph. These are pretty hard conversations to navigate for me, as much as I enjoy them.

        P2: “When it starts to seem shameful, or dirty, is when men use that to degrade the women to mere objects, or think that the only reason she dresses that way is for a man. The question then becomes is it ok for a woman to dress in tight clothes that show off her curves, and to be open about her sexuality? Of course it is!” I highly agree and I’d add only that none of us exist in a vacuum in our cultures. Sometimes we have to do things for/to ourselves to respect others and their needs or wants (as in marriage), or even protect ourselves against what others want from us. That’s the state of things, and I’d wish they were different, but they’re not.

        To clarify my own position, and I am incredibly bad at anticipating the gaps I’ve left out by not clarifying, is that I’d never advocate for a kind of nunnery perspective of women and modesty, or demand that our society convert into the Handmaid’s Tale or something. Freedom is a virtue that’s really important to me and, well, everybody, I’d assume. Women should have all the freedom to dress how they like and the places in our world today which disallow that are the places which are shameful. My wife likes to dress that way in situations she deems appropriate and she manages her attractiveness around and also through modesty, which is one of the reasons why I fell in love with her. I’d probably be sad if she was dressing to get other manly attention beyond my own, but she doesn’t do that because we love each other. I’d also advocate for women to place their worth beyond just their physical appearance, or believing that their physical sexuality is either the only or most valuable thing about them, but as you’re not making that assertion and that’s beyond the conversation, I’ll leave that there. In a nutshell, all the freedom to the womens.

        P3: I don’t doubt that about *some* women either, while other women (specifically many I know) aren’t interested in that. Some women enjoy modesty to feel good about themselves, too, which may render this point anecdotal on an individual basis. And we both agree that a significant part of Bayonetta’s design is pandering to men. We agree here. The cultural differences are also intriguing. You brought up that fan service element of anime, and I’d ask why that bothers you specifically (however you define the word “bothers” is up to you)?

        P4: “Of course at the same time we know that she is indeed created to sell, but I would argue for who?” I think given our mutual “educated-guess” that Bayonetta was created to pander to men, which seems like the precedent for entertainment featuring attractive women since forever, coupled with the density of male consumption of specifically console-based gaming (as opposed to mobile under consideration). I think that’s the reasonable conclusion that Bayonetta was created to pander to male gaze and such, unless you would argue that it was created otherwise, maybe through a breakdown of the demographics of its sales figures, its platform consumer base, or its creators’ own words? This may explain why women demonstrated a greater appreciation generally speaking for the protagonist of Horizon Zero Dawn than the one for Bayonetta 2 (and those two definitely have differing tonalities!). I think women are smart enough to know what’s meant to pander to men’s sexual appetites and what’s meant to present them with an empowering example. I’m not saying you don’t believe that; I’m just pointing out the contrast.

        “With porn being what it is today why would you bother playing a game that can be incredibly difficult, just to get your jollys off over a fake person?” Haha that’s an interesting question. I’m definitely not capable of answering it beyond tossing out the ideas that not everyone may have access to pornography who has access to Bayonetta (minus the Wii U sequel since nobody owned a Wii U hehe), which may include younger audiences whose parents make use of parental blockers online; or it may be otherwise that when men aren’t consuming porn that they’re still interested in stimulating entertainment, since they don’t consume it 24/7 and appreciating Bayonetta’s sexuality for them may be appealing without actually doing the euphemism of getting their jollys off. I’d go with the likeliness or at least the possibilities of either of these, but again, I’m not an expert.

        P5: Ah yes, Dante. I didn’t enjoy DMC because it was way to hard for me, and maybe because I don’t share the same views as the protagonist on sex as a cavalier “handshake”, but I thought that the parallels between Dante and Bayonetta are pretty clear. I’m not in charge of which controversies arise. I can only affect what I chose to consume in front of my wife and children. If you were to ask me whether there should’ve been the same backlash against DMC as there was against Bayonetta, I’d say maybe but the lesser degree of outrage would be understandable considering the victimization and/or objectification of women is much more rampant than that of men. As for the fan girl wishing for the slippage of the pizza haha I’m sure that occurs, but I’d guess that would be more infrequent than in Bayonetta’s case, and I’d guess that on the supposed basis of the frequency of the consumption/appreciation of visual stimuli between men and women, not to say that it doesn’t happen either way, of course.

        P6: I can’t argue that their attitudes don’t make them interesting characters!

        P8: I see the answer to the fan service question I asked you about here: the difference between welcoming that kind of attention and flaunting sexuality with the sense of taking something from an innocent girl without their approval (panty shot). In this case, I’m reminded again that men made the character to be welcoming of leering but again that’s outside of the game itself, and I fully understand that the tonality of the game within its own universe measures out the placement of its overt sexuality.

        Also, yes, Bayonetta isn’t the only female character this reveal. Zero Suit Samus maybe isn’t as flaunting of a character, but there are certainly many others. What is that one game? Soul Calibur? :I

        P9: There is a double standard. I wouldn’t rule out all women being put off or alienated by Bayonetta and I’m sure some have resonated with it, but I think they’ve resonated stronger with other characters that fully embody other attributes not specifically designed for the male gaze. We could project classic machoism onto women as appreciating Bayonetta for the same reasons as men appreciated the character of Dante, but then again there’s a reason why machoism is associated with men in the first place and the current hot topic of toxic masculinity. I’m not saying women can’t enjoy Bayonetta. I’m suggesting something like statistical significance in that realm.

        P10: Final paragraph! 😀 I think again that women should have the freedom to express themselves however they think is best. We live in a terrible world where men take advantage of that and objectify. Nonetheless, women should have full agency to dress how they like and decide what’s appropriate for themselves. Many of them do, not all of them have the guarantee of not being touched by a single man, unfortunately. That’s the power fantasy, there, right? Bayonetta in this respect may not be the best role model, which again is probably explained in how publicly women latched onto other powerful female characters vs this one. How to tie this all together… Freedom and consent!

        How far beyond this fictional, sexualized character who was created without consent to act a certain way at the behest of men within a closed universe is ultimately analogous to the choices of real women making up their own minds, I just can’t say. On that I’d decide that she’s not the best role model, not to discredit any of the women who have found themselves in the character. I hope I covered all my bases there.

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        1. Your reply is fantastically thought out. It makes mine look sloppy. Let me attempt to clarify some of my points.

          Firstly, I certainly don’t consider you a prude by any stretch of the imagination, and I don’t imagine you as a man that would demand your wife to wear certain clothes, let alone be controlling in any way. If I seemed to insinuate that I apologize.

          I don’t think it is arguable that part of the reason Bayonetta behaves and looks the way she does is because, frankly, sex sells. However, I also don’t think that is the only reason she looks and behaves the way she does. Simply put, if you removed all of her catty references, covered her up, took away her sexual agency, and pushed back on the over-the-top flirting then the game simply wouldn’t be the same. I think in gaming there is a place for bombastic, attractive characters, that blow things up.

          In addition I think it is problematic that people playing the game are judged. We’ve agreed Bayonetta is meant to sell because she is sexy, but the game is also an incredible action game. Her attitude make the game, as does the silly over-the-top moments, and I just couldn’t see it being the same game if you tucked her in a modest business suit.

          Nobody in their right mind would argue that Bayonetta is a good role model for children, hence the M on the box. I would never let my daughter watch this game at her age, mostly because of the violence. However, I also think discounting her entirely because of the way she looks is dismissive.

          In general I think there is a problem in the way many view media of all forms, because critics especially tend to think everything has to be a thought provoking masterpiece. Every movie doesn’t have to be Citizen Kane, and every game doesn’t have to be Horizon Zero Dawn. I think that there is a room in gaming for games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, and I don’t think that because they aren’t afraid to show skin makes anyone wrong for playing them. I would be more concerned frankly, about the fountains of blood.

          Either way we ultimately agree on something, everyone can enjoy what they like. If someone is offended by the way Bayonetta dresses or acts then they simply don’t play the game. If a female identifies with the character, great. However, if another female feels she is offensive, great: don’t consume the media. Ultimately it is up to each of us and what we feel goes too far.

          I leave you with this: America has a real problem with sex positivity and the way we perceive women who are confident in their skin. Obviously Bayonetta is written this way and doesn’t have a choice, but she isn’t real so the point is moot. This game is better suited by the character Bayonetta as she is.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah darn it I can’t find where my original response went. I thought it went through. Anyway, it wasn’t terrifyingly long or anything. All I said was I didn’t mean to make your comment look sloppy. I have to break down my responses for my own sake or I’ll get lost and look like an even bigger idiot! But you and I know each other well enough and show enough courtesy to know that we’re not insinuating anything about each other’s character. I know you weren’t presuming I was a prude and I want you to know that I wasn’t implicating any sort of ethical deficiency over this.

            It’s such a broad subject that encompasses so many topics and the points I attempted to make were in varying degrees, not exclusions or dismissals, such as the value in degrees of these characters vs others though I wouldn’t say there’s no room for them in the market. A whole variety of social problems exist that we’ve only remotely touched on but I agree with everything you’ve said. Thanks and I appreciate you responding to my questions! I have a way of coming off as challenging others but at base that’s because I am genuinely curious as to what others have to say, and I can get deeper into that by asking questions. Further, in this subject, these questions are ones I’ve yet to fully answer within my own mind. Whatever amount of clarity I’ve reached because of this conversation, I’m thankful for!

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  2. I have never played either Bayonetta game, but hope to purchase the first one from Steam here shortly. It looks fun. I really enjoyed DMC when it hit the scene, and this seems like a game in the same spirit of. I kind of take issue with the first few paragraphs of the post, but I’ll throw my two cents into that ring on my own blog, as it has gotten me thinking. Overall I loved the over the top, doesn’t really make sense, what-the-hell-just-happened attitude of DMC and this seems like par for the course! I might have to buy it a bit earlier than planned!

    Liked by 2 people

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