Bayonetta 2 is a Holiday Game
This hack n’ slash has more holiday and heart than any movie you’ll watch this December
The Sound of Music. Die Hard. Iron Man 3. These are just some examples of movies that can be cherished during the holidays, despite their minimal connection to the festive season. While film nuts get into debates about what old holiday movie they should rewatch, gamers have only come to expect a large wave of new releases in December. None of these new releases are particularly focused on festivity either, although you may find a Santa outfit for Mario in Super Mario Odyssey. Perhaps you made it to the wintery third semester in Persona 5 Royal. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has probably been one of the most festive games this year, with the arrival of snow in the Northern Hemisphere and the anticipation of Toy Day. Will gamers replay these fine games during the holidays in a decade, however? Probably not, but I believe they should.
For the most part, I am glad there are many differences between the film and video game industries. Video game voice actors aren’t all selected from the Hollywood elite, and although we live in the digital age, you’re still more likely to pick up a physical copy of a game than a DVD. The point of convergence, however, is how nostalgic we media-consumers are. Gamers and film addicts are drawn to nostalgia like a moth to a flame. So why can’t I find a holiday video game that everyone loves and talks about the same way film geeks talk about Christmas with the Kranks? Simply put, there are no real “holiday video games” unless we’re talking about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the Wii.
I am doing my best trying to be festive in my own way this year, although traditionally my celebratory methods are not conventional. My time is much better spent playing my favorite video games than watching Will Farrell act like a child in Elf for the 400th time. Due to a pandemic preventing me from seeing my family, I’ve decorated my island in New Horizons to the max and even changed my island tune to “Jingle Bells.” I’ve replayed Ice Climber via Nintendo Switch Online and trekked up to Snowpoint City in my old Pokémon Platinum file. Just when I thought I had exhausted every way to be festive through video games, I remembered something critical; Bayonetta 2 is set on Christmas Eve.
Let it be known that Bayonetta probably comes across the same amount of snow in her second game as Iron Man does in his third movie. The first level is loaded with references to an upcoming Christmas party she’s throwing with Jeanne, Enzo being exploited to carry her many presents and even a special appearance by Santa Rodin. Of course, quips like “It’s not Christmas without caviar!” are only said in passing between the bloody massacre of angels, but I’m sure Bayonetta and Jeanne still had a banger of a party off-screen. Bayonetta 2 also introduced demons as enemies; and to me, there’s nothing that screams Christmas more than stylishly murdering demons.
If Christmas references aren’t enough to convince you to add the game to your holiday must-plays, Bayonetta 2 has more to offer. By the time the game wraps up, Bayonetta has traveled to the sacred mountain Fimbulventr, a snowy peak resembling Everest. Atop the peak, she reconciles with her previously antagonistic father in a cutscene reminiscent of a Hallmark movie. When Cereza returns to the city at the game’s end, she and Jeanne are once again preparing to celebrate, this time for New Year’s Eve.
Most notably, Bayonetta 2 is a fast enough game to beat in a day and replay annually. The combos have become easier to utilize than in the first game, and you don’t have to play the first game to enjoy the thrilling action. The game’s post-credits scene even includes a tie-in to its predecessor so they can be played in any order. There are also many bright and beautiful European-inspired landscapes that make the world stand out from other hack-and-slash games, some of which you might catch a snowflake or two.
This holiday season, bring some festivity to your gaming routine. Or perhaps bring your gaming routine to your festivities. If you couldn’t afford either of the new consoles and aren’t counting on getting them as gifts, ask your mom about Bayonetta 2 for the Switch. If your loud Uncle posts on Facebook about watching Die Hard over Christmas, absolutely confound him by responding with a screenshot of Rodin in a Santa costume. Instead of watching Julie Andrews dance around children, watch an Umbra Witch dance around imminent danger. So go on, give the best holiday video game a try. With Bayonetta 3 still nowhere in sight, I’m sure you’ll want to replay it again next year. I know I will.