I love Bayonetta, as she performs a libidinous breakdance of death, spitting bullets from her gun-touting heels. Or maybe it was when a loungecore version of Splash Wave complete with battling synths accompanied a fight against horn-wielding angels on the roofs of speeding cars, which soon gave way to an extended on-bike tribute to Super Hang-on.
Bayonetta’s the brainchild of Hideki Kamiya, who has worked on some of the greatest games to have come out of Japan the last few generations, with Resident Evil 2 and Okami. Of all his past works it’s Devil May Cry that holds the keenest grip on Bayonetta, which he has updated reworked and created something so wonderful.
She is at heart an action game, its fundamentals familiar to anyone who’s played as Dante or Ninja Gaiden’s Ryu Habuyusa. Hack and slash.
She has her sassy personality makes the character and saves it from the depths of depravity, however, and for every time the camera strays a little too close to her tightly bound nether regions, there’s a whip-quick quip delivered with the deadbeat English drawl of a stern schoolmistress that establishes her as one of the greatest female leads in many a year, showing you can be sexy, sassy and still kick ass.
Like her character, she’s the measure of existing videogame icons, but in combat, no-one can come close. She has such a stylish combat system that’s fluid, intuitive and ultimately satisfying to an extent that’s unseen in other games. Fighting is a superficially simple affair, with the fundamentals boiled down to three buttons(kick, punch and shoot, with a fourth an athletic dodge) – is the most frequently called upon, to gain her bewitching ‘witch time’. Using these of simple yet well-applied mechanics furnish the basics combined with Well-timed dodges, while a recharging magic meter is also at hand – when full it allows for a Torture Attack, an overblown finishing move consisting of iron maidens and guillotines, to unleash the ultimate punishment.
Below, is gameplay footage of myself playing through
The combat combos come thick and fast for even the uninitiated as her movements so fluid and quick, first two of the three difficulty levels that are immediately available offer added assistance when it comes to stringing moves together. It opens up Bayonetta’s wonders to all-comers, something that’s commendable in a genre that’s too often the sole reserve of the hardcore. Bayonetta’s combat offers depth as well as spectacle. Performance is graded by medals, each level broken down into bite-sized verses that are scored and rated with the end results, from platinum to stone.
She is very much helped out with her combat with a generous arsenal of offensive weapons, picked up both on the battlefield and as unlockables, with the collection of halo rings that shower the screen after every kill being used as currency in underworld bar, The Gates of Hell to purchase a bevvy of accessories. Here, you can buy her new moves, as well as weapons that fundamentally change the approach to fighting. Which gives us plenty to experiment with, and its joy to do so. Bayonetta’s enemies that present the game’s greatest brainteasers, frequently turning the established ruleset on its head.
Bayonetta exists in the ether between one world and another, her reality switching between the recognisable and the supernatural. This translates into some breathtaking backdrops, from European streets and courtyards flickered with Gaudi-esque architecture to surreal visions of the underworld and more angelic realm.
Bayonetta is so astonishingly close to perfection. While in essence, it takes it basics from the same mould as Devil May Cry and the games that followed in its wake. Platinum Games have flourished that template with an imagination that is impossible and unstoppable. I am always left bewitched by the sassy Bayonetta love the first and the second ( review for the second to follow soon).