STORY: The story of Bayonetta revolves around a witch by the name of (yes, you guessed it!) Bayonetta. After waking up from a 500 year slumber (with finely sculpted polygonal ass intact) at the bottom of a lake no less, she finds she has contracted a slight case of amnesia. This plot point basically gives Bayonetta the licence to kick anybody’s ass that looks like they might have information for her. Through the prologue and various journalistic writings that are collectable throughout the game you learn of Bayonetta’s Witch heritage and their Lumen Sage counterparts who where both tasked with watching over the world; one protecting the light and the other, the dark.
The story is mediocre with some interesting parts to it to keep it somewhat entertaining. Bayonetta possesses a certain charm that will keep you smiling all the way to the end. From her vibrant personality and outlandish poses to her scantily clad suit made of hair.
GAMEPLAY: The game itself plays similar to Devil May Cry, which is something we were expecting from Hideki Kamiya. You can perform punches and kicks with the and buttons, respectively. These can also be held down to fire Bayonetta’s gun. can be used to fire single shots and can be held down for rapid fire, and for jumping around. Finally and most importantly, tapping R2 will make you dodge. Dodging perfectly will activate “Witch Time” (aka “Bullet Time”), slowing down time for a few seconds and making enemies susceptible to attacks they otherwise wouldn’t be.
In addition to various combos (using combinations of , and ), Bayonetta also has a few special attacks (“Wicked Attacks”) that can be triggered. These include “Torture Attacks”, where various devices are summoned from the underworld; “Wicked Weave”, where Bayonetta uses her hair (to become partially naked) as a conduit to summon fourth demonic entities; and finally “Infernal Demons”, who inflict enormous damage to your enemies.
There are a multitude of combo moves available, even before you start to purchase new ones. Luckily, you can practice your moves during the loading screens. You can also purchase items, moves and other bits from “Hell’s Gate”, a bar run by Rodin, who exchanges your collected “Halos”. On top of Boyonetta’s own personal arsenal that can be added to by collecting LP’s and trading them with Rodin for “Devil Arms”, you can also pick up the dropped weapons of fallen enemies. These are not permanent though and disappear after a certain amount of use.
The game has various difficulty levels, catering for novices and veterans alike. Those new to the genre will find the easy mode enjoyable, while being assisted. Veterans will find a challenge even on the normal difficulty, with a variety of well balanced foes. Boss battles also generally result in epic encounters and completing them without continues or item assistance will provide a challenge for just about anyone on the normal difficulty. That being said it is the higher difficulties where Bayonetta shines and this is where veterans will feel most at home.
GRAPHICS: The umbra witches exist in Pergatorio which is a dimension of sorts between the human world, heaven and hell. Due to them having the ability to slip between the four “existences” your environment is constantly changing. From antique European architecture to angelic realms – it’s all here and beautifully put together. There are points in the game that you revisit explored areas but because of the radically different design of the different “planes” this is barely noticible.
The character design is also suitably imaginative from to the easily dispensable grubs to the grandly designed final boss and everything in between. Most of all it all remains consistant and believable within the context of the games story. Cut-scenes are also splendidly done with a mix of standard in-game engine cut scenes mixed with an motion slide show for flashbacks and such; giving them a slightly artistic feel.
ISSUES: Bayonetta, however, is by no means perfect as there are sections in the game that would have been better off with just a tad more imagination. This is a little disappointing as the game on a whole is full of that very thing, imagination. Certain encounters will happen more than once so be prepared. In particular the first boss you defeat will come back again and again, at least three times throughout the course of the game. Another issue with the game is the frequent loading between chapters and even when picking up new items.
A short loading pause breaks up the gameplay when you pickup journals and new items. In between levels, the loading can last from a few seconds to around a minute or more. During these prolonged loading screens you can, however, practice your combos as mentioned above. The loading issues what what I found most annoying about the game. Even bring up the pause menu resulted in a few seconds of loading. The game doesn’t require (or has the option) to install game data to the hard drive, which could have eliminated the need for the loading screens. SEGA is working on a fix to solve some of the loading issues though.
LONGEVITY: Bayonetta consists of 18 chapters as well as hidden challenge rooms that are secretly hidden away. Tackling this on normal difficulty can take you between 10 -12 hours. Naturally if you are a fan of the genre, Bayonetta comes with pretty high replayability factor, especially if you wish to earn all the trophies, including the coveted platinum. The game also comes equipped with a leaderboard so if you’re the competitive type you can attempt to get the best scores for each chapter and try to best your mates.
VERDICT: From beginning to end, Bayonetta manages to both captivate and delight in equal measure, with the unique environments to her acrobatics and gun-play. This sexy witch punches, kicks and shoots her way to the top of the genre with immense style. If you are a fan of high octane, over the top action games then this is an essential purchase. Having a sexy female lead who partially strips from time to time also helps!
SCORE: 8.5 / 10
BY: Aaron Sullivan (of GIAG) & Niraj Shah