Gun-mounted stilettos, antagonistic angels, and hair that transforms into clothing, are just a few tastes of the outlandish world that is Bayonetta. Brutally difficult, while successfully creating a deep yet rewarding combat system, Bayonetta just may be the best character action game ever made.
Amnesia? Yup. Oversexualized female characters? Yes sir, you are playing a game from Japan. Platinum Games are the ones responsible for this tight hack-and-slash. I couldn’t tell if the voice acting was intentionally bad, or just plain bad. It grew on me as the game went on, as I understood the game’s humor and had an appreciation for it. As for the story, well, it’s a mixed bag. If you enjoy anime, or just nonsensical japanese plots, you will have a lot of fun with Bayonetta’s bizarre story. If all of that wasn’t “Japanese” enough, the game “ends” three different times.
Played a character action game before? Well, you’ll feel right at home here…sort of. Bayonetta takes the mechanics built by Devil May Cry and God of War and builds on them. The controls are pretty much perfect. Movement feels fluid and fast, while giving you the feeling of direct control. Combos are done in typical game fashion, with an added twist; timing your dodge just right, before an enemy attacks you, will activate “witch time”. Witch time slows down all of your enemies, giving you the opportunity to punish your foes. Bayonetta will strain your reaction times to a point I have never encountered before: constantly watching and remembering enemy attacks is key in winning an encounter. I had to constantly take breaks as Bayonetta made my hands cramp frequently. Your reflex and reaction skills will be tested. This strikes a well designed balance: high difficulty matched with well crafted controls.
Boss encounters are some of the best parts of the package. Massive in scale and an absolute blast to play. Interestingly enough, some of the encounters are easier than few of the many conflicts you come across. The frequent battles with Jeanne are especially engaging. Jeanne is almost identical to Bayonetta, making the skirmishes extremely brutal.
The game also mixes up the hack and slash with some enjoyable gameplay sequences. For one, you mount a motorcycle as freeways and the road underneath you quickly crumble. There is also an awesome ship flying section, where the games plays almost identical to Starfox, which I can appreciate. Bayonetta is also sprinkled with sorts of puzzle sequences that let your finger rest for a short time. These are simple and short, which is alright with me.
Bayonetta isn’t only given pistols to use. She is able to equip an assortment of different weapons, tending to each individual’s playstyle. I generally like using quick attacks, so I tended to incline towards the wicked fast katana. There is also items that you can purchase with rings (Published by Sega, coincidence?) that aid you in the more difficult battles. Also available to buy are the many combo moves you can unlock, I spent more of my rings on these over everything else.
Visually speaking, the game looks like no other. The characters costumes and designs are nothing short of creative. The graphics are all sorts of alright, While not terrible, it’s certainly nothing to gawk over. Music is also all over the place. Some tracks are bizarrely fitting, while other make absolutely no sense why they are there.
If character action games are your fancy, Bayonetta is a must play. Although the story is complete nonsense, gamers can appreciate how tight and rewarding the combat is. If you have any sort of history with character action games, you need to treat yourself to Bayonetta.
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