It’s finally here. Edge gave it full marks and it looked set to be the GotY (although, let’s face it, it’s only January!). So does it match up to expectations? Is Bayonetta really the OTT fast paced explosion of sexuality and violence we were promised? For those of you who have hidden in a really really good hiding place for a long time now a) I’m glad you came out to read this review and b) Bayonetta is a hack and slash action from the people that brought us the Devil May Cry series. Bayonetta herself is a witch who has lost her memory whilst sleeping for a few hundred years. The only thing she knows is that she exists in Purgatorio and moves between the realms of Earth, heaven and hell on her mission to avoid eternal damnation. How do you avoid this fiery torment? Simple. Keep the forces of evil happy by dismembering every heavenly creature you can find.

This is definitely not a game for the weak and timid, or those with reaction speeds slower than a seasoned gamer. Bayonetta throws you into the deep end with a fantastically beautiful fight and the story unfurling over the top. It is a whirlwind start that shows the artistic and physics aspects of the game in a wonderful teaser of what’s to come. As jaw-dropping as the first fight is it does mean that you have to be able to think on your feet and listen to the story at the same time. Luckily, this was thought of and you have unlimited health but it does mean that snippets of story can be missed. With the game’s storyline resembling a JRPG more than your average action game it does mean that not listening or not searching high and low for notebook collectibles will probably leave you wondering what on earth is going on. This is not necessarily a plus or a minus – just be aware that if you are used to action games you may have to explore that little bit more and delve that little bit deeper.

Bayonetta has amazing textural detail in places and is presented in a far more cinematically interesting way than was anticipated as most previews concentrated on the fighting. There are a fair few cutscenes and skip them at your peril, but you’ll most likely find them a pleasant break from having to think so damn quickly the whole time. When it’s not mad-dash fighting it’s QTEs or running from lava, so these cutscenes do provide a much needed minute to slow down!

As the story progresses you’ll find yourself fighting on every surface, even the ceiling. From a physics point of view this is flawlessly carried out, but unfortunately the camera does not play nice. Although you have full control over the camera movements and can tailor them to your preferences I still found that I could not get the view where I wanted it when I wanted it and in a game where you need to be that split second ahead of everything this did cause some issues.

Bayonetta has managed to provide a free fighting style that does stand apart from Devil May Cry. Although the basics are similar the endless combos and seamless chaining together means that once you have the basics down it’s a joy to watch yourself flip around offing every angel in sight. As per most of the hack and slash genre you could get through this game just button bashing on easy but you would be severely missing out. There is nothing more satisfying than managing to pull off an entire fight in one flawless combo, especially when using witch time, an evasion technique that slows down the enemies allowing you to get in extra pummeling! Bayonetta’s hair is used in incredible combos producing demons from the depths to help you out, and when it comes to that sexual edge it does remove her clothes at the same time. Of course, you won’t have time to stop and admire the view but with some of the cut scenes being painfully erotic (wait till Bayonetta is fighting angels in the prologue and tell me I’m wrong!) she really does appear to be a showgirl with guns.

All the characters in Bayonetta are extreme versions of the traits their personalities are imbued with, which gives it a definite tongue in cheek edge that will make you laugh if you let it. As for Bayonetta herself I can only think of the film Bedazzled, with sexy evil that you will want more of. The overall feel of the game seems that of a 1940’s detective story, although the game itself is set in modern day. With the exaggerated American characters playing an arms dealer and a snitch, Bayonetta herself really stands out as the strong wicked woman who at least enjoys her job despite having a bad lot in (the after) life.

The soundtrack CD for Bayonetta was only released in Japan, and there may be good reason for this. Although some of the tracks are good a lot sound like they belong in Beautiful Katamari and this may irritate some people. The general background music tends to be very atmospheric and fit the game perfectly but with Bayonetta attempting to bridge the gap between male and female gamers some of the music seemed too cutesy for my taste.







One response to “Bayonetta”

  1. Kat avatar

    Liked reading that. You’re spot on about the music. First thing I said was “this sounds just like Beautiful Katamari!”. I couldn’t give the game 10/10 but it’s mental and enjoyable.

Leave a Reply