- Posted January 18th, 2010 at 11:30 EDT by Mike Harradence
- 33 Comments
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Despite some incomprehensibly overwhelming battles, you will quickly become addicted to Bayonetta's witty dialogue, additive gameplay and eye-popping production values.
- The superb combat system
- The dazzling, over-the-top action and cut-scenes
- Finishing off enemies with epic torture devices
- Combat can at times prove overwhelming
- Some minor visual quibbles and bland textures
- The horrible load times
Bayonetta is a deceptive beast. On the surface, it may seem like a load of self-indulgent, ostentatious old cobblers looking to transfix you with its dazzlingly ludicrous cut-scenes, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll soon discover that developer Platinum Games has managed to pack in what many fail to achieve – style and substance. Masterminded by legendary designer Hideki Kamiya, Bayonetta is the next logical extension in the stylish hack n’ slash genre first introduced with Kamiya’s own Devil May Cry back in 2001, and arrives on the scene with lofty expectations. Yes, it’s utterly ridiculous and overblown in places, but it also boasts one of the most comprehensive combat systems we’ve ever witnessed, and has ultimately proved itself as one of the most compelling action romps in years.
The narrative establishes all the background you need to know right off the bat, whereby you find yourself in the shoes of the sultry, titular witch as she awakens from a 500 year nap only to discover she can’t quite remember much of anything about her convoluted past. Still, you won’t have time to ponder over much as the game quite literally throws you in to the thick of things from the get-go, launching players straight in to an action-packed flashback taking place on a giant clock face plummeting in to the depths as you fend off hordes of Angels. And yes, you did read that correctly – in Bayonetta, your mission is essentially to exterminate Angels. Lots of Angels, in fact, in some of the most brutal methods conceivable.
Bayonetta’s idiosyncrasies don’t stop there, either. Our feisty witch friend is equipped with not two, but four handguns, one pair of which are attached to her heels, which Bayonetta fires via a handstand. It’s these weapons that form the nucleus of the game’s combat system. Combined with standard melee attacks, you can rack up a seemingly infinite amount of combos in which to dispatch your enemies. Fortunately, this system is highly intuitive, and you’ll soon be stringing together combos with a few clicks of the attack buttons. Nonetheless, you’ll need some dexterous fingers in order to outwit and evade your opponent’s attacks, as they come thick and fast and often out number Bayonetta by the dozen. Speaking of evading, this is where one of Kamiya-san’s most intriguing ideas comes in to play – Witch Time. Simply dodge a foe’s attack at the last second, and your enemies will move at a snail’s pace, allowing you to unleash you most devastating attack to finish them off before they even discern what’s happened. This feature becomes instrumental in some of the more heated battles, and while it’s possible to neutralize your foes by mashing away at the buttons, you’ll soon discover that anything past the first few levels requires you to utilize some of the more intricate components of Bayonetta’s combat abilities if you are to come out on top.
However, some of the most viscerally satisfying manoeuvres come in the form of the ability to unleash Torture attacks; namely, brutal finishing moves that crush your foes to a bloody pulp. Providing you have enough magical oomph at your disposal (indicated by a meter under your health), you can reveal one of a plethora of bloody torture devices, such as a decapitating your foe in a guillotine, shoving them inside an iron maiden, or unleashing a mammoth beast that devourers its prey. Many of these gory visual treats require some form of QTE input, usually having you mashing away at the square button or rotating the analogue stick in a circular motion as fast as humanly possible.
Indeed, while it’s easy to criticise Bayonetta as Devil May Cry: Female Edition, this intriguing addition to the former's combat system allows Bayonetta to stretch its arms and craft its own, unique identity. Still, as compelling as it is, we found it to be at tad overwhelming at times, more so when it comes to dodging your foes attacks. In particular, it can be difficult to predict your foes next move when you’re being hounded by half a dozen Angelic hordes at once, and unless you’ve either got inhuman reflexes or have mastered your opponent’s moves, you’ll likely find yourself having a butcher’s at the continue screen on several occasions. Nonetheless, once you get acquainted with your foes ins and outs, you’ll soon be redecorating the environment in brain matter grey in effortless fashion. Boss battles take things to a whole new level (both literally and figuratively in some cases, as you'll frequently have to scale your environment to have a crack at damaging your opponent), featuring some truly awe-inspiring, mammoth creatures to tackle that require a fine degree of strategy to defeat - button mashing won't get you far here.
As you rack up the kills you’ll collect Halos, the game’s form of currency. Visiting your pal’s bar known as ‘The Gates of Hell,’ you can use these angelic items to stock up on supplies, new weapons and other assorted necessities. Not unlike Devil May Cry, you can also fork out for new skills, such as the ability to dodge in the air, and increasing your potency in battle with new attacks, and upgrade your health meter. Unfortunately, you're going to need to accumulate a ton of Halos in order to snap up the most tempting of upgrades, as they don't come cheap, so be prepared to end up skint rather quickly. Furthermore, the acquisition of Halos also ties in neatly with the game’s combat, as you are ranked on your performance during each segment of any given stage, giving you further incentive to bone up on your Angel slaying skills if you are to bag the highest award possible. Indeed, this affords ample replay value, much to our delight.
Visually, Bayonetta boasts an equally extravagant offering that acts as the perfect compliment to the game’s battles. Locations – which range from bustling cities, gigantic coliseums to barren, otherworldly wastelands – are vibrant and packed full of subtle details, while the legions of Angels thrown boast some of the most diverse and aesthetically pleasing designs we’ve clapped eyes on in years. Still, while some of the architecture is positively oozing with sophistication, some textures remain somewhat bland, and we noticed some ugly jagged edges dotted throughout. However, overall, the game is pure eye-candy, and these issues prove merely inconsequential in the long run. Meanwhile, Bayonetta’s sartorial preferences have her parading around in a skimpy outfit, which bizarrely all but vanishes when you execute certain attack. Elsewhere, audio remains a competent affair, featuring – quite bizarrely – a jaunty remix of ‘Fly Me To the Moon’ during battles. We were suitably impressed with Bayonetta’s sarcastic, British twang, while the rest of the cast (despite being nothing more than walking stereotypes of varying archetypes) turn in decent performances, and are particularly noteworthy for their penchant of blurting out all manner of profanities every other sentence. Probably the biggest offense that Bayonetta provides on the technical side of things is the copious load times. Sure, you can try out your combos during these sequences to pass the time, but after a while you just wish the game would hurry things up already.
Bayonetta has it all. It’s stylish, compelling, and – besides some minor visual discrepancies - bloody jaw dropping in the looks department (and no, we’re not just talking about the eponymous heroine, either, although she certainly is easy on the eyes). Despite some incomprehensibly overwhelming battles, you’ll quickly become addicted to Bayonetta’s witty dialogue, additive gameplay and eye-popping production values. After clapping eyes on this latest contender in the stylish action genre, Devil May Cry indeed. Not to be missed.
- 6:34am EST - January 18th, 2010
Don't know if I'm really interested in this game yet, but I do keep reading good reviews..
- 6:42am EST - January 18th, 2010
what? not two full paragraphs of describing how the visual defects make it an unplayble game???
could mean it's a good game after all ... really enjoyed the demo, but deceived by M$'s tactics of asking (with $$$) developers to produce lesser version for PS3. Could get it some time.
- 6:47am EST - January 18th, 2010
mmm, dont know if i would pay full price for the pooey version :(
- 6:48am EST - January 18th, 2010
I don't think it was MS who made them do it the wrong way round. It's just a problem arising from porting from the two different machines. Sony had apparently stepped in to do something for them. I guess they couldn't do much about how much memory was allocated to what in the end though. And I certainly don't think they were there to redo their texture work. More just point out what does best how. Who gives a crap though. If they thought it was playable and it got a 9, it can't be all that bad.
- 7:06am EST - January 18th, 2010
I've been playing this all weekend, absolute belter of a game, just don't take the story line too seriously.
- 7:31am EST - January 18th, 2010
Great game on both 360 and ps3...If you want the best get the 360 version.
- 7:34am EST - January 18th, 2010
I'm playing this game now and it is great. Very Addicting. If you like anime then you will love this game. good story, good controls and So far a very long game.
It's not easy also. One Boss Took me about 15 lives to kill it. The Hair weave powers are great.
I'm a huge gamer and this game took me by suprise. It's a break from playing alot of shooters.
- 8:00am EST - January 18th, 2010
Sorry but us Ps3 fans have been let down by this shoddy port. No way does it deserve a 9
BOZTRADAMUS | BOZTRADAMUS
- 8:44am EST - January 18th, 2010
this game needed a install feature, but still amazing.
- 10:30am EST - January 18th, 2010
I'd give the PS3 version an 8 and the 360 one a 9
- 10:39am EST - January 18th, 2010
I somewhat liked this game( or sometimes I didn`t like it at all). Overall, It is good but it lacks something ; the element that made the first Devil May Cry the big franchise that it is today. What surprises me the most is that the one who made the first DMC is the one who does Bayonetta. So the game was hyped too much. I guess I was expecting too much from this game . I wanted to experience the feeling that the first DMC had. The game deserves no where near 9 (in my opinion), specially since the ps3 port was rushed and lacked quality. It was a let down . Still , it is a solid game and a must buy for action adventure enthusiasts.
- 10:58am EST - January 18th, 2010
she looks like a Secretary :P .... after the demo and the silly soundtrack.... not for me! I'll better wait for GOW 3 UE for mindless but amazing violence XD!!
- 1:44pm EST - January 18th, 2010
Average user rating = 5.9
- 1:49pm EST - January 18th, 2010
All this talk about Bayonetta finally bringing stylish action games to the next level,makes just that much more excited for the next DMC,cuz Dante ain't gonna let a chick one up him that easily.
- 2:03pm EST - January 18th, 2010
So I picked this up used at gamestop, (they have a sweet 2 week return period for used games). The game is weak, I bought in on Friday and returned it on Saturday. The story makes no sense. The graphics are very bland, and to be honest, I felt like they were trying to appeal to the horny 14 year age group. Just because a CGI girl takes of her clothes while doing a "finishing" move does not make the game any better. I got tired of lame angles, that give you a crotch shot of the heroine, and that fact that I had no idea who I was fighting or why I was fighting them. This games also reminds me of a ps2 game I played called Chaos Legions, (but I thought Chaos was much better, in story and gameplay)
I have seen several people trying to decide between this and Darksiders, and I can honestly say the Darksiders is much better. Maybe I have played too much Uncharted 2, but the textures and graphics in this are very poor, and there are times when I was running where my feet actually appeared to be floating instead of touching the ground.
I have never made it a secret that I think cross platform games are a lower quality than exclusives, but this is not even up to the standard of a decent cross platform game. I thought most of the Devil May Cry releases were 7 or 8 games, this is clearly a 4 or 5.
If you are into sexy CGI girls, you might like this, but if you care about gameplay or graphics, you will not.
- 3:02pm EST - January 18th, 2010
Wow PSU just wow...do you even know how to review games? This is a 7.5 at best.
- 3:15pm EST - January 18th, 2010
It's a good game none the less though I was iffy on gettin it now i'm glad i purchased the game and the soundtrack is nice as well too.
- 3:39pm EST - January 18th, 2010
Funny enough, the main draw that makes me go "Hey I want that" Is the commercials tune - not the game. Sad I know. XD
Bargain bin , I await thee!
- 4:04pm EST - January 18th, 2010
I've heard that the loading issues are planned to be fixed with an update
I hope that's true. The game looks funny, but that kind of issues can bring it down.
Maybe if they fix those issues, a lot of us will consider to buy it in the future; if they don't fix it, then we will wait until they have to start selling at $19.99 to get rid of the overstock
Scarl | Scarl
- 4:45pm EST - January 18th, 2010
I am surprised at the high score PSU gives this game. Granted, I only played the demo... but still, a 9.0 should be reserved for quality games that deserve a high score. Is Bayonetta really as good and unique as Demon's Souls?
Solid 5.0 in my books.
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