I’ll start by saying; Bayonetta is pure, unadulterated, fun. It’s a game that represents the complete package – game-play, art, sound, and character. I personally can never seem to find the time to play all the games that constantly accrue on my entertainment center, but I kept coming back to Bayonetta for more. After finishing the game on normal, I booted it back up once again to take the plunge on hard.
Bayonetta’s game-play is very similar to that of Devil May Cry, and for good reason. The addictive combo based fighting is the key to Bayonetta’s replay-ability. You’ll find that you’re constantly changing combos not only as you purchase them in game, but as you determine what works and what doesn’t. This keeps the game refreshing as you constantly adapt your combos to the fighting styles of different enemies. Also, similar to the life of most hetero-sexual males, your goal in the game is basically to get Bayonetta with as little clothes on as possible. The reason you ask? Bayonetta’s outfit is made up of her own hair, and the more damage you rack up in combos, the more hair is spun into creating a devastating attack called a “Wicked Weave.” Quite the incentive, eh?
Combos alone don’t represent the only strategy involved as you battle your way through hordes of angels – the game’s curvaceous beauty, Bayonetta, has access to a slew of weapons, alternates, and accessories that you earn via collecting Angelic Hymn LPs and shop purchases. These allow for more customization and individualization of play-style. Another piece of the puzzle that adds to the replay –ability is the fact the game-play scales well as your increase the difficulty. Not only will Bayonetta face harder hitting enemies, but the line up in each level will feature different enemies then you encountered before, and will come in greater numbers.
Bayonetta herself, while awkwardly proportioned, manages to be a sexy and confident main character that oozes personality throughout both her battles and cut-scenes. Whether it’s her signature lollypop or her snap-shot break dance finishes – there is always something purely seductive in her movements. And as for her proportions, which I’ve heard much negative talk about – without them I couldn’t see any way possible the developers could have allowed some of the moves Bayonetta pulls off with the hand-cannons she has strapped to her feet. You’ll cross paths with other characters throughout your journey, who are equally convincing in their roles, but for most the time it’ll just be you one on one with the digital temptress, Bayonetta.
The actual graphics themselves take no huge strides but are solid and what you’d expect in a current next-gen title. The animations are as smooth as butter and transitioning from attack to attack is constant flowing motion. Whether I was fighting in the air, or dodging and slashing on the ground – I witnessed no hiccups. The visual feedback in the game is immense. There are points where you almost can’t see what’s going on due to all the flashing and sparks that Bayonetta emits as you pummel enemies. It’s fun to a point, but at times it can be a hindrance to game-play when you are focusing on dodging a dangerous foe, but can’t see when they are about to strike.
Huge amounts of creativity went into creating the game’s library of enemies. Each one has its own unique look, but they all follow a very distinct styling I’ve seen only in Bayonetta. For the first time you come across them in the game each has a short cut-scene that will show you their name, and level in the hierarchy of the angels – another very cool touch.
The sound effects are also what you’d expect in a next-gen title, but they manage to not get repetitive in a game where you’ll find yourself making hundreds of the same motions. I’d qualify this as a huge plus especially if you decide to play through the game again on a different difficulty.
If anyone reading this is a “Fly me to the Moon” by Bart Howard/Frank Sinatra fan I’d highly recommend picking up the game for this reason alone… as there are about 5 different versions of it you’ll hear constantly throughout the game. This was just about the only thing I found repetitive.
Overall, Bayonetta is a strong competitor for game of the year in 2010, and the year has only just gotten started! Even if you weren’t a fan of Devil May Cry, or really haven’t touched this genre, I’d highly recommend picking it up. It was loads of fun to play through, and I’m sure I’ll keep playing it in the months to come.