Does this witch have what it takes to stand next to Kratos(God of War) or Dante(Devil May Cry)?
For those who don't know, Bayonetta is an action/adventure game(most of the focus being action) in which you play an Umbran Witch who is suffering from a case of amnesia. She hasn't forgotten how to kick people's asses though, which is what she'll be doing to figure out who she is, where she came from and what the hell she's supposed to be doing. She uses "Hair Magic". Her whole suit is made out of hair, so the more she has to use her powers, the more her clothes start to disappear...sweet.
The game starts off with a bang and rarely lets up on action or graphical splendor throughout. The opening scene you begin playing in has you defying gravity by standing on a falling piece of a clock tower as it hurtles over a cliff, battling foes on the long drop down. During this battle you'll be visited by a two-headed dragon with an upside-down face in the middle - yeah this guy:
Yeah, he wants to stop in, say, "Hi" and bust your face in with some fireballs.
This boss will be following you through the first few levels which results in some cool fights. As big and awesome as he is, he is actually one of the smallest bosses in the game! All of the enemies and other bosses are greatly detailed and have many fluid animations.
After the opening scene you play a prolouge level that will train you in the basics of the game. From here you will most likely discover cool moves that you didn't even know you could use in the opening sequence. Bayonetta has a ton of moves at her disposal from the get-go and has many, many more to unlock as you progress. You begin with having two guns for your hands and two for your feet(yes, guns on your feet). There are guns to unlock and much to my surprise, other types of weapons such as a sword, whip, bird-like lightning/fire talons and more. Speaking of unlocks, there are tons! Besides moves and guns, there are accessories with all types of abilities, costumes, different characters, difficulty levels and even alternate versions of some of the weapons. After you've beaten the game, you can also view the 3D character models of all the enemies and bosses. Some of these bosses are crazy detailed and big, so being able to view them in this way I thought was a real treat.
The graphics in this game are bad-ass. It's not even that the environments or the characters themselves are the best ever- it's in the way it was put together. There is a lot of detail to keep each area from looking boring and there are a lot of effects going on all the time that look great as well. Put together with great animation, an engine that runs at 60 frames per second consistently and you come away with a great looking game.
Sexyness is a huge part of this game. Bayonetta likes to rub her fingers over her crotch area and breast a lot, as do some enemies. If I'm not mistaken, one of the torture attacks you use on one of the female fiends actually kills them with a huge orgasm...don't let your kids watch this game.
Some of the cut scenes are done in still frames and have a comic book feel to them. It threw me off at first, I thought they were taking an easy way out by not having fully animated cutscenes all the time. After watching a few though, I thought perhaps they wouldn't have looked so great animated and leaving the motion in the imagination of the player may have just been a great way to go. The cutscenes that are animated are awesome and very over-the-top. I do have one complaint however and that is the screen-tearing issue. It doesn't pop up everywhere in the game, but it does in a few places and it's a little annoying. I am not a fan of screen tearing at all and it's a shame this nasty little thing made its way into Bayonetta. It is a small gripe though in the overall picture.
The music in this game is something special. You can definitely tell this game was made in Japan(No offense to anyone in or from Japan, I love Japan!). The music is a mix between techno and some lady who keeps singing some song over and over again. Needless to say most of the time I had my own music blasting. The sound effects are really good though. All the weapon noises and explosions came out just fine. The voice acting is passable, I at least didn't ever think it was bad.
Controls and Gameplay:
Controls in this game are tight and very responsive, which is critical in a game like this. Gameplay-wise, it is very similar to other games in it's genre, such as God of War and Devil May Cry. This is a good thing, as both games have great systems for smashing up bad-guys. I feel that Bayonetta ups the ante in some areas though. By simply pressing the Right Trigger , you can dodge almost any attack in the game. Timed right, just as you were about to be hit, this will cause the game to go into "Witch Time", which is basically slow-mo for the enemies and smash up time for you. Some enemies and bosses in the game are near impossible to defeat without using this technique, plus it looks really cool and makes you feel like a god. Another way in which I believe Bayonetta trounces the competition is in her moves and combo's. I haven't seen this many moves in a action/adventure game since Ninja Gaiden. Bayonetta has just as many, if not more moves and combo's than Ryu Hyabusa and that's saying a lot. Couple that with the fact that she can switch between two seperate, costumizable weapon set-ups on the fly mid-combo and BOOM! It's mind-blowing.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed my playthrough of Bayonetta. I played through one time on normal. It wasn't too tough to get through on this difficulty, though I did have my fair share of deaths. I can see battle being really intense on higher settings. You have to unlock them though, normal is as high as you can go the first time.
I'm not here to say Bayonetta is better or worse than any other comparable game in the genre. I look at all of these types of games in the same light. I play it for the awesome graphics, to fight and destroy the bad-ass bosses and enjoy the ride. I don't think any of these action/adventure games keep anyone's attention for long, but to just play through once or twice is just plain fun and a definite treat for the eyes. Kind of like when you go to the theater to see the newest "End of the World" movie. You don't go because you think it's going to tell the best story you've ever heard, it's because you want to see huge shit get blown up in awesome ways. That's excactly what this game delivers.