Mario Kart an ever expanding series.

Hello and welcome to a new series of reviews where I will be covering an entire series as whole instead of each individual game, the reason I have chosen to do this for some game series is because I do not feel the need to go back and review each individual title as the reviews would all be quite similar due to the game style of the series.

Instead I will be giving a quick explanation of each game and discussing major changes throughout the games releases and I am planning on updating this review as the newer titles come out.

We will be kicking off this new series of reviews with my one of my favourite racing game series of all time Mario Kart.

To sum Mario Kart up it is a racing series where you must drive across various creative race tracks while using items to help you win the race by bashing, blowing up and causing obstacles for the other players.

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The series began on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with Super Mario Kart.

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In Super Mario Kart you could play as eight racers Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, a Koopa, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong Junior or Toad and each racer had different strengths and weaknesses.

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The game uses the Mode 7 technology allowing the developers to rotate and scale background layers allowing a more unique and exciting experience.

The game had two game modes the first was Grand Prix which is a standard racing mode where the player will have to finish one of three cups each holding various creative racetracks,there are three difficulty levels 50cc, 100cc and 150cc although the last one needs to be unlocked by finishing the cups on 100cc first.

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The final mode is battle mode where you must collect items and throw them at your enemy popping their balloons before they pop yours, its basic but fun.

After a cancelled Virtual Boy title we got Mario Kart 64 for the Nintendo 64

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3D is the biggest change here and it looks and feels great, other smaller changes include swapping the Koopa and Donkey Kong Jr with Donkey Kong and Wario, adding time trials and allowing the ability of four players on one system.

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Mario Kart Super Circuit was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001, it is the first of the of handheld titles and has the same roster of characters as the previous entry in the series, the developers added a new mode which allows players to race using customised rules but other than that is essentially a better looking version of Super Mario Kart with the Mario Kart 64 content.

ap9BeDIn the Game Cube game players need to choose two characters to play as, as well as choosing one of the many karts (The karts available depends on the calculated weight of your chosen characters), this Mario Kart has 20 playable characters which are as follows Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Birdo, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Toad, Toadette, Koopa, Parakoopa. Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Bowser, Bowser Junior, Wario, Waluigi, Petey Piranha and King Boo.

After doing research I found out that this was Toadettes first appearance in a video game which is pretty cool.

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For the first and only time in the series two players can play simultaneously in Grand Prix with one player driving and the other player throwing the items.

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As well as balloon battle, battle mode has two new game types one where you need to try to hold onto a shine sprite and the player who holds on the longest wins, and another where you must throw stacks of bob bombs at the other players in order to pop the opponents balloons.

The game also included lan play allowing you to use an adaptor to connect up to eight Game Cubes which would allow up to 16 players to play at one time.

Mario Kart DS was the second handheld game in the series and was the first to use dual screens.

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Mario Kart DS added the possibility of playing online over the Nintendo Wifi Connection, I used this back when it first came out and the results were ok with little issues

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A brand new mission mode was added in this game giving it the best Mario Kart content yet after various missions you would have to beat one of many boss fights and all of them were a lot of fun.

Unfortunately Mission Mode never made a return to the series.

After two fairly amazing arcade games which I may cover another day we got the first game in the series to use motion controls with Mario Kart Wii.

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Mario Kart Wii added a fair bit of new gameplay to the series including four gameplay styles which were a single Wiimote, a Wiimote and Nunchuck, motion controls using the Wii sensor bar and a Mario Kart Wii steering wheel.

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Players can now also ride motorbikes and peform tricks when going over ramps and you could now also play as both Princess Rosalina and Dry Bowser.

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Mario Kart Wii added a new battle mode called coin runners, players must collect coins, using items to cause their opponents to drop the coins they have collected, who ever has the most coins when time runs out wins.

Mario Kart 7 is the third handheld title in the series and is where some more of the major changes in the series took place.

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As with all of the games Mario Kart 7 adds new items however one unique feature is the lucky seven item which allows you to hold all of the items at once.

New Characters have been added to the series including Metal Mario, Queen Bee, Wiggler and Lakitu

On each track the player can collect a maximum of ten coins allowing them to unlock new car parts which they can use to build their vehicles.

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New ways to play have been added including gliding through the air and driving underwater in your vehicles.

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Mario Kart 7 added the ability to have a first person view while you race

It should be noted that some of the race tracks are from Wii sports and Wii sports resort making this the first Mario game to include major additions from other game series.

after another Arcade game we got Mario Kart 8 and this entry of the series added Anti Gravity to the tracks allowing players to drive on walls and go upside down, you can also bump into bumpers to give your self short boosts.

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This entry to the series was the first to offer paid DLC, the DLC offered two new cups and Link from the Legend of Zelda as well as Isabelle and the villager from Animal Crossing as playable characters, as a small change you can now also change colours for Yoshi and Shy Guy.

Pink Gold Peach, the Koopalings and Baby Rosalina have also been added as playable characters as part of the base game.

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For some unknown reason battle tracks were removed and instead players had to use regular tracks which made battle mode not feel very special and it was also quite slow.

Mario Kart 8 was re-released for the Nintendo Switch here all of the DLC came with the base game, Splatoon characters were added to the roster and they finally fixed the battle mode by re-adding arena battles.

And that is where we are so far with the Mario Kart series, I love Mario Kart for all its fun and competitive game-play, its a favourite game to play at parties and with friends, I cant wait to play the next game in the series what ever that may be and until then we will enjoy what we have so far.

I hope you enjoyed this different type of article, I really enjoyed making it and I am hoping to do more of these in the future, what series would you like to see me cover in an article of this style?

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

 

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Castlevania (NES) Review

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Finally after all this time I get to talk about one of my favourite video games of all time Castlevania.

Castlevania was developed and published by Konami and was released on September 26th 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System

castlevania-title-screenEvery one hundred years Count Dracula rises from his coffin and wreaks havoc on Transylvania, each time Dracula comes back he is defeated by a member of the famous Belmont family who have been protecting Transylvania from supernatural threats for generations, the year is 1691 and once again Dracula causes trouble attracting the attention of Simon Belmont who along with his trusty whip makes his way through Dracula’s castle hoping to defeat the evil vampire lord.Castlevania_NES_14

The game is an action plat-former and takes place in different areas of Dracula’s castle, players will need to survive a number of levels before facing a sub boss, the platforming is ridiculously difficult and not with good reason, Simon attacks enemies by either whipping them or hurting them with a sub weapon, this is fine but the problem is that if you are hit by an enemy you dont just take damage but also get knocked back and lot of time this leads to Simon falling to his death, this was obviously programmed into the game in order to add additional challenge but honestly the game is so difficult anyway that this is just annoying.

120808_castlevania-6For example the image above is just two screens of the game and as you can see there are a lot of things to avoid including a lot of Fleamen which are some of the most difficult enemies to avoid in the game.

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Three things can really help you through out the game making your adventure a little easier

The first is Pork Chops which you can find hidden in the walls and if you eat these they will restore your health.

Next you have sub weapons such as daggers, crosses and axes which can be used at the expense of some of the hearts you can find by whipping all of the candles throughout the game, all of these sub weapons are great however the best and most useful is the Holy Water, this is the easiest way to kill most of the bosses in the game including the notorious fight with the Grim Reaper and even Count Dracula himself.

Collecting the Sub Weapons can become even more useful when you find the upgrades, you can make your weapons up to three times more powerful by finding power-ups which are mostly found in candles or bricks but can appear randomly too.

Easily one of the best soundtracks in the NES library Castlevania has one kickass music library, the music is bouncy and fun but does have a creepy vibe to it now and again, but in general the music is so catchy that I guarantee you wont be able to remove it from your brain, my personal favourite track in the game is called Wicked Child and is the theme for stage 7.

Castlevania is an amazing game but I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece the controls are a little stiff and the game is way more frustrating than it needs to be, on the other hand everything else is perfect the visuals are fantastic for an early release, the soundtrack is one of the best and the game is genuinely very good, for the first entry of the series its a really good start but it could have done with a few more tweaks 7.9/10.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castlevania for the NES

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

Mario and Luigi Superstar Saga (GBA/3DS) Review

Mario is back and this time its an rpg?

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Mario and Luigi superstar saga was released in 2003 for the Game boy advance it was developed by a team called Alpha Dream and was produced by Nintendo, as mentioned the game is an RPG and was likely made due to the success of the first Paper Mario game, Super Star Saga was very popular after its release and is still a fan favourite to this day so it was of no surprise that a remake was made for the 3DS I am just surprised that the remake didn’t get released before this, so which version of the game is better?

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The plot between both games is exactly the same with the exception that the remake has an additional campaign.

An evil witch called Cackletta and her minion Fawful go to Princess Peaches Castle with a plan to steal the Princesses voice and replace it with explosives, a Toad travels to the home of Mario and Luigi informing the two brothers about what happened, when they both arrive they find Bowser who was hoping to Kidnap Princess Peach but decided against it after he noticed the Princesses rather dangerous new set of pipes, instead the Koopa King decides to team up with the Mario brothers in order to help Peach get her voice back meaning that he could kidnap her without risking the destruction of his castle.

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The Game play is where the differences really start to show and the 3DS version has gotten a lot of backlash due to the changes it has made, in both versions the battle system is turned based and as far as I am aware the way you fight is also the same, the brothers can both jump, hammer, use magic and perform combination attacks in order to defeat enemies, the 3DS version is slightly more lenient than the original as I found avoiding attacks and performing combos here a lot easier than I did back in the day, there is also an easy mode that can be switched too at anytime so the battle system isn’t too complicated for younger fans either.

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The game is also filled to the brim with puzzles that the brothers must solve when travelling across the games large map, not many stand out to me but one of my favourites is the mine cart game and the barrel matching game on the pirate ship.

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The visuals in the original game are outstanding, it’s full of exciting and explosive colours, the animations are beautiful not to mention impressive for a game of that era and the little touches help bring a lot of emotion and well timed comedy to the game, the remake while also beautiful doesn’t really push the 3DS to it’s full potential and it’s more of a nicer re skin of what we already had than anything new and unique however it’s still nice to look at and still helps the game maintain its charm and originality.

The music is fantastic, the game has a great soundtrack which varies between nice and cheerful music to scary and intense tracks and each help to build up the mood of the game

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The biggest new addition to the remake is Bowsers minions a brand new 6 hour long campaign, the game is not what you would expect, I wanted a full RPG experience but it’s more of a game that focuses on building an army and levelling up your troops, I personally don’t like this type of game style so the fact that I really couldn’t get into it does not mean that you won’t

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Mario and Luigi superstar saga is one of the best RPG’s you can buy it’s fun, easy enough to learn and it gives a whole new and interesting spin to the Mario universe, the remake adds a whole new campaign and a new coat for the visuals which makes it worth buying if you like the style of games such as age empires and star craft otherwise I wouldn’t spend money on the 3DS remake as this is the only massive bonus available, you can also purchase the original game through the Nintendo Eshop for much cheaper than the 3DS version, I love both versions of the game so it’s hard for me not to give both version a very high score but I think the 3DS remake beats the original by a nudge due to the additional content and clearer visuals.

The orginal game 9.4/10

The 3DS remake 9.6/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo 3DS.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Luigi’s Mansion 2 (3DS) Review

Well it’s about time I got around to this

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Luigi’s mansion 2 or Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon in North America is one of the most unexpected sequels to a Nintendo game in the history of the company, the original game was released in 2001 as a day 1 release for the Nintendo Gamecube, as much beloved as the game is now at first it didn’t sell many copies and only gained it’s popularity a long time after its release, this could be the reason why Luigi’s Mansion 2 while an unexpected release was much different to its predecessor.

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After Luigi captures King Boo in a painting at the end of the first game, Professor Elvin Gadd foolishly sold the painting in a garage sale and not long after this King Boo managed to escape from his prison.

A magical moon shaped crystal which floats above Evershade Valley is used to keep the ghostly residents friendly and harmless towards the living however King Boo destroys the crystal and leaves the pieces in the hands of powerful ghosts in various different mansions, after the destruction of the dark moon crystal all of the ghosts become hostile and dangerous and with the professor being too scared too fix the problem himself he sends Luigi to all of the different mansions with the hope that he can bring back peace once more.

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The gameplay here is quite different to what many fans of the original game would expect

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Instead of allowing fans to explore the mansions freely the game uses stages with specific missions for players to finish.

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Boos are back but they are captured much differently, each stage has one hidden and they can only be revealed using the dark light expansion of your poltergust 5000 once the boo has been revealed Luigi must grab it’s tongue and fling it across the area causing it large amounts of damage and once it’s health is completely depleted the boo can be captured, if you collect all of the boos in a mansion you will unlock a bonus mission where you must clear out all of the ghosts as quickly as possible, another collectable are gems each stage had a few gems hidden inside and collecting all of the gems in a mansion will unlock a Luigi statue which players can collect.

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The bosses are really fun and some are actually rather difficult however as creative as these can be they lack the charm and personality of the portrait ghosts in the original game.

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The graphics are really good, I won’t compare them to Luigi’s first adventure as I find that a bit unfair due to the release gap between the two but here the graphics are smooth and charming with fluid animations and a fantastic use of light and dark colours to help make up the atmosphere of the game, the ghosts are more comical in their design this time around which is a nice change of pace but even though this is a family friendly game they could have added a few more scares.

The controls are not fantastic I found general movement felt great but sucking up the ghosts really strained my thumb as you need to pull the circle pad back quite hard, it actually made me worry a little bit that might be damaging my brand new 2DS

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Luigi’s mansion 2 is a great game and was a nice return to the 3ds library for me however it never felt like the Luigi’s mansion sequel I really wanted as it lacked in a lot of be things I love about the first game but even with that said I think it is well worthy of 6.7/10 I wanted more but what I got was still a really good game and it was a lot of fun so bring on the third game if it ever gets made

I hope you enjoyed my review of Luigi’s Mansion 2 for the Nintendo 3DS

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Kirby Star Allies (Nintendo Switch) Review

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Released on the 16th of March 2018 Kirby’s latest adventure has become popular amongst both fans and critics, the game makes a few changes to the regular Kirby formula which helps to make the game play feel unique while still being similar to its predecessors.

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On a distant Planet a Crystaline heart is blown up by a mysterious individual, the heart fragments are shot across the galaxy where they land on various planets including Kirby’s home planet of Dream Land, many characters are possessed by the heart fragments making them extremely aggressive, Kirby is also affected but instead of becoming dangerous Kirby gains the ability to befriend anyone he pleases, with his handy new ability Kirby heads off to find out whats going and prepares himself to save the galaxy.

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similar to most other Kirby games this one is a plat-former but as previously stated it does add a fair bit to the average Kirby formula, Kirby is still able to consume enemies and shoot them back out in the form of a star as a means of attack and most enemies will allow Kirby to gain their abilities if they are completely consumed, whats new is the ability to throw hearts at enemies forcing them to join your team, you can have up to three extra team members to help you beat the levels by killing enemies and solving puzzles, this doesn’t always work so well as I found that I occasionally needed to sacrifice a team member by consuming them as they wouldn’t commit to simple tasks such as lighting a fuse meaning that I has to do it my self at the loss of an ally although this wasn’t too much trouble as you can easily find someone else to join your team in their place, it should also be noted that some enemies can add elements to Kirby’s weapons making some enemies easier to defeat, you can also play as a main series characters such as Meta Knight by unlocking them in bonus areas called Dream Palaces, these palaces and bonus levels are unlocked by finding giant pink buttons in certain levels.

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Another fun ability Kirby can perform with his friends is the various podiums you find through out the different planets, these podiums require you to have a full team of allies so that you can create various forms, the most the common is the friendship circle but my personal favourite is the train, it was so much fun racing through the train segment at full speed not too mention very cute.

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Boss fights are what you would normally expect from a Kirby game but that isn’t a bad thing, they are still fun to fight and and its not as if they aren’t unique at all, the King Dedede fight stands out to me a lot and the final battle is extremely dramatic although I wont spoil that here.

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The visuals are amazing this is Kirby looking the best he has ever looked, the graphics are smooth, the game has some great uses for shadows and shading, colours vary from bright and cheerful to dark and gritty in order to fit the mood and atmosphere of the different planets and even smaller touches such as fire sparks being caused by fire attacks and the backgrounds being slightly enlarged and stretched out when passing over it during a water attack, this really goes to show just how much effort was put into the game by the designers.

The soundtrack of the game may just be my favourite yet of any Kirby game, it has all of original music as well some updated versions of classics tracks from the past, check it out above.

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Some Minor spoilers regarding bonus content below

Bonus content in this game while fun isn’t too much to get excited for, the main collectable of the game are puzzle pieces and if you collect a certain amount you can unlock one of many pictures inspired by past Kirby games, there are a few extra mini games available from the moment you start the game one is a lumber jack game where you must chop down trees faster than your opponents and the other is a game where you must bash a meteor with a baseball bat hoping that it goes further than the other players, once you beat the story mode you will unlock a boss rush mode and time trials which allow you too play as various enemies from the game, if you beat this game you can then play as dream palace characters such as Dedede and Meta Knight.

Kirby Star Allies is a really fun game and is a great entry to the series however it is far too short, its also very easy which isn’t surprising for a Kirby game but honestly there is no challenge at all in the main story, the boss rush can get a bit tough but that doesn’t make up for a story mode which only managed to kill me a handful of times, I know Kirby games are easier than most but this seemed a bit ridiculous, however its still worth picking up mostly due to the bonus content the player gets rewarded through out the game, the graphics are wonderful and the soundtrack will have you humming along all day, also at some point in the game a nod to one of Kirby’s earlier games is made and its honestly so cool and is worth discovering for your self.

Kirby Star Allies is a nice return for Kirby and I hope that its sells enough games to encourage some new story DLC but until then this game is good enough but definitely could have done with being a bit longer 7.3/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Kirby Star Allies for the Nintendo Switch

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

 

Super Mario Land (GB) Review

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Released in 1989 along side the Nintendo Game Boy, Super Mario Land was the first ever hand held Mario game and to be honest the strangest as well.

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Like most Mario games this one is also a 2D Platformer but its a little bit different to your average Mario experience for one the game takes place in Sarasa Land not the Mushroom Kingdom and instead of rescuing Princess Peach its instead Princess Daisy, Sarasa Land has some new enemies and is a completely different place, the worlds are mostly based on different countries in a similar manner to Mario Odyssey although not quite as creative in my opinion, the idea is to get from point A to Point B through the different levels although in this game a fair portion of the stages are side scrolling shooters in the style of old space shooters such as Galaga, there are only 12 levels in the game so it really doesn’t take long to finish I would even argue that its quite easy for people who are used to playing games such as this so don’t expect much of challenge or a very immersive experience.

Super Mario Land is fun game but to be honest there isn’t much too it and the new enemies and world while nice are a bit too weird for a Mario game, but with tight controls and half decent graphics this isn’t one too pass up if you get the chance to play it, it is available on the 3DS Eshop which is a plus, even though this isn’t one of the best Mario games on the bright side the sequel is a lot better and is an entry to the series I am excited to cover in the future

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I hope you enjoyed my review of Super Mario Land for the Game Boy

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Bayonetta 2 (2014) Review

The Witch is back !!!

After the success of the first game a sequel to Bayonetta was inevitable but unfortunately it never happened and Sega soon lost focus on the franchise that is until Nintendo of all companies bought the rights and made the series their own and released a trailer for a new game exclusive to their systems, of course this upset a lot of people who don’t play Nintendo but from the companies point of view this was a brilliant marketing stunt forcing people who desperately wanted to play the new Bayonetta game to buy their systems and it worked so good for them Bayonetta 2 was released on the Wii U in 2014 along side the original game before it was re-released in a similar package this year for the Switch.

Thankfully the plot this time around is fairly straight foward, Bayonetta and Jeanne are out doing some Christmas shopping with the pathetic Enzo carrying all of their new stuff, Angels attack an aeroplane stunt show so Bayonetta and Jeanne suit up to take them out and with a new set of guns from the merchant Rodin this should be easy but unfortunately during the fight one of Bayonettas monsters escapes from its master and knocks Jeannes soul from her body which then gets dragged into Inferno, Bayonetta kills the monster but now has to get to the Gates of Hell to rescue Jeanne before her soul is completely consumed.

The game play is essentially the same as the original with a few changes, for those who don’t know Bayonetta is a hack and slash game series inspired by the Devil May Cry games, the first game follows the adventure of an Umbra Witch who kills Angels by shooting them with guns she holds in her hands and the heels of her shoes, she can use multiple weapons and items to help her survive and upgrades can be bought from Rodin through out the games, some supple changes in this game compared to the original is Bayonettas slightly different fashion choice in both Witch and Panther form, local multiplayer and a much easier gameplay experience which is still challenging and fun.

There is only one thing I hate about this game and that’s the character Loki, he has an extremely important role in the game but he is just so annoying, he wines a lot, he has an annoying voice and some of his dialogue is straight up cringe worthy

The soundtrack is just as great as the first game, it has a lot of orchestral and vocal tracks which are all a lot of fun to listen too, use the link above to check it out

 

Bayonetta 2 is an epic game, it controls perfectly, it has a great sound track, beautiful graphics and plenty of extra content to keep you busy many would agree that it’s better the original and even though I hate Loki I have too agree, Bayonetta 2 is an excellent sequel and hopefully it’s influence will effect future games in the series 9.7/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Bayonetta 2 for the Wii U and Nintendo Switch

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com