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Bayonetta Review

Mix some over top combat, gratuitous deaths, sassy one liners and a sexy main character together and you get Bayonetta. Get ready to fight your way through all sorts of angelic creatures as you battle to regain Bayonetta's lost memories and fulfill her destiny.

Bayonetta Review

Introduction

Bayonetta is an action-packed hack and slash video game comparable to games like the incredible Devil May Cry series. It was produced by Platinum Games and published by Sega for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 in 2009. The game was then released on the Wii U with the sequel 4 years later after Nintendo agreed to publish the sequel. Finally in April 2017 it got a port for Microsoft Windows.

Bayonetta sold over 1.3 million copies in the first year it was released which to many would seem like a success however Platinum Games disagreed and despite the sales and high scores from reviewers Bayonetta was deemed a disappointment and had it not been for Nintendo taking a chance we’d have never gotten Bayonetta 2. There was also an anime film adaptation called Bayonetta: Bloody Fate which was released in Japan in 2013.

You can buy Bayonetta on Steam for £14.99

Story

The story of this game is absolutely crazy from start to finish and to be perfectly honest parts go over your head if you don’t pay attention. The first ten minutes proves this statement as the game starts in a graveyard with a nun who starts to fight angels that have been sent from heaven. The angels shred her nun attire and our main character Bayonetta is literally revealed, before too much can be seen her hair covers her body making an outfit for her. She then fights off the angels using dark powers, insane combos and stiletto mounted handguns… See, I told you it was crazy.

Bayonetta Review. This is an absolutely bonkers start to a game
So, our main character Bayonetta is a cocky, sultry and incredibly sassy witch who was awoken 20 years ago from her 500-year slumber. After waking up she has no memory of her past and has spent years trying to remember who she was and what caused her to be asleep for so long at the bottom of a lake. In the present time she is searching for the other “Eye of the World” which pairs with the one she possesses.

She works with a questionable informant named Enzo, the comic relief character of the story, who sounds and even looks a lot like Joe Pechi. He has found out that he may have found the location of the other eye. Keen to acquire the coveted eye Bayonetta immediately heads to the game’s main setting; Vigrid, a fictional city located in Europe. There she fights through a barrage of angelic creatures all of which look unique and as time goes on Bayonetta starts to piece together her past and learn of the downfall of the Umbran Witches and their counterparts the Lumen Sages. At certain points throughout the story there will be encounters that trigger brief flashbacks which gradually help her remember her past and what happened to lead her to her destiny.

While she fights through the various Angelic beings blocking her path Bayonetta meets a cast of recurring characters. The first being Jeanne, a fellow Umbran Witch who knows about Bayonetta’s past.  Luka a journalist determined to prove the existence of the Umbran Witches, Lumen Sages and Bayonetta after watching his father die just as Bayonetta awoke form her slumber. Cereza, a young girl who mistakes Bayonetta for her mother and provides a lot of cute and sweet moments especially with Bayonetta who after finding the girl alone in Vigrid protects her. There’s a host of other characters as well all of whom add to Bayonetta’s character development which comes to a head by the end of the story.

Bayonetta Review. Little Cereza providing another adorable scene

During your 10 hours+ journey through Vigrid you’ll explore 3 separate realms which are in fact taken from Dante’s Divine Comedy. These are Paradiso (a.k.a Heaven) which is the home of the angelic enemies you face and brutally murder as you fight your way through Vigrid. Inferno (a.k.a Hell) which is obviously where demons dwell, this is where Bayonetta summons her powerful demons that she uses to kill the bosses and it is where the Umbran witches draw a lot of their power from. The third and final realm you’ll enter is Purgatorio (a.k.a Purgatory).

Gameplay

Our main character Bayonetta is a deadly Umbran Witch who can use a multitude of weapons including pistols, katanas and pretty much anything else she can pick up and hit someone with. She can also use powerful magical attacks and even summon demonic creatures using only the hair that covers her body. And as if that wasn’t enough she can also shape-shift into creatures like a panther or a swarm of bats helping her traverse the perilous city of Vigrid.

The combat can be as varied as you want as there is a huge combo list which are in general easy to pull off and incredibly pleasing to watch. To unlock the majority of these combos you will have to buy them with Halo’s that you can pick up from defeated enemies and things like boxes that you can break open. A personal favourite for me which I always purchase first is a break-dance attack where she’ll fire bullets in every direction and then end it with a pose for the camera. These combos are broken up by the devastating and frankly beautifully gruesome torture attacks which kill the enemy using deadly devices such as the Guillotine, Iron Maiden and others.

Bayonetta Review. Torture Attacks truly are delightfully gruesome

You can also pick up weapons from slain enemies which can be used for a short while before they vanish. These range from a pair of claws to long weapons that Bayonetta can pole dance on while she attacks the enemies near her. Trust me when I say that you’ll never see combat as insane as this anywhere else.

Then there’s the boss fights, almost all of which revolve around a different strategy which is a great way to vary the gameplay. Mainly because towards the end of the game you will probably be utilising the same combos in every fight since there are a few easy to pull off ones that do a lot of damage and look awesome. These boss battles are finished with Bayonetta posing for the camera and summoning a demon which kills the boss. Oh, and while this happens she’s basically naked as her hair is what summons the demon.

I will warn you though that you’d better have some quick reflexes as the thing that many gamers hate, dreaded quick time events, can suddenly appear and if you fail in some cases you will die and have to retry the QTE which is an annoying part of games that is thankfully fading out nowadays. This is probably the one downside to the gameplay especially as you are punished for failing them sometimes. The redeeming factor is that the QTE’s are usually followed up by an intense button mashing as you try to fill a torture meter.

Finally, there’s ‘Witch time’ an incredible ability that is activated by dodging an attack just before it would hit you. This ability slows down time allowing you to hit the enemy with a barrage of powerful attacks and in some scenarios, allows you to complete puzzles in the game and progress through the story.

There’s also a fun little mini game at the end of every level called Angel Attack. It’s basically an arcade game where you have a set number of bullets to shoot the enemies that appear in screen. When you’re out of bullets the game ends and you can use the points that you earned to buy items for the next mission. There items can be the difference between success and failure in the next mission.

Graphics and Audio

Okay we’ll start off with the graphics which are, in a word, amazing. This is a game that looked incredible on the Xbox 360 and PS3 and the PC version looks even better. Everything from the bosses to the fighting animations are just astounding to look at and I found myself watching in awe as bosses appeared on screen and then my jaw would drop for a couple of reasons as Bayonetta summoned a demon to kill them. This is the game for the lovers of gory combat as enemies explode bloodily when they’re killed, this is even more true of the torture attacks that look horrific and yet so satisfying as you watch blood splatter from the devices she uses to in all honestly sadistically murder them.

The city of Vigrid is incredible to look at too with some fantastic set pieces and there were times where I stood still and just looked at the world around me. Which is not something a lot of games have made me do. There’s no doubt that you’ll enjoy the backgrounds whether you’re jumping over a molten pool of lava or sprinting along the side of a building in the moonlight.

Also, Bayonetta herself is not bad to look at either you know, especially when the demon she summoned is killing the boss. Did I mention that already?

Bayonetta Review. Nothing special here just a witch using her hair to summon a demon that kills the boss

Now to deal with the audio of the game and I have to admit that some of my favourite moments is where there is almost no noise, when you’re in an empty space and all you can hear is Bayonetta’s heels clacking on the ground. It’s very atmospheric and is perfect for the setting as music during these scenes would be out of place and would ruin the tension.

The music that plays while you’re fighting is amazing, my personal favourite being a remix of Fly me to the Moon although I did get chills run down my spine when The Greatest Jubilee started to play during the final boss battle. The songs are different depending on the area you’re fighting in and considering everything else in the game they feel very appropriate. Although usually I wasn’t listening to the background music that much during the fights because when you’re mashing those buttons you are treated to some of the most immaculate fighting sound effect in a game. You can hear just how punishing the attacks are and there’s a satisfying crunch as a demon rips off an enemies’ limb. The enemies all screech in agony as you kill them too, this is especially true when you use the torture attacks.

I’ll take a little time to mention the voice acting too which is superb in general. Every character sounds as you’d expect although a special mention must be given to Hellena Taylor, the voice actress for Bayonetta herself. She truly brought Bayonetta to life giving the character a voice filled with sass, self-confidence to the point of cockiness and a generous helping of sultriness on top.

Conclusion

Bayonetta is an amazing hack’n’slash action game that is perfect if you’re looking to just casually mash buttons and watch amazing combat happen on screen. The characters are, in general, excellent and even though it’s completely bonkers and over the top the story is a lot of fun to experience and many times I found myself looking forward to the next cut scene. The dreaded Quick Time Events and extreme difficult spikes even on normal difficulty can take you out of the experience though which is a little disappointing.

Regardless of the small flaws this game has Bayonetta is still an excellent game and one that I believe should be picked up and played by any gamer who loves a good hack’n’slash game. Hopefully Bayonetta 2 will eventually see a PC and Console release and create the possibility of a third entry to the series.

PROSCONS
+ Very satisfying and varied combat which is fun to watch and play– Quick Time Events spoil the otherwise intense gameplay especially when they are automatic game overs
+ Great cast of characters, especially Bayonetta herself– Extreme difficulty spikes that come from nowhere
+ Sublime voice acting that really brings the characters to life
+ The audio is excellent, everything from the torture attacks to the background music
9
Amazing

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