Reviews// Bayonetta

Posted 23 Dec 2009 14:10 by
Games: Bayonetta
The control method is a perplexing mix of pure button-mashology and carefully timed strategy. Merely mashing the buttons will deliver moves of impressive visual impact, and will be immensely satisfying. But as the enemies develop, you'll find yourself getting your ass handed to you on a shiny metal plate with increasing frequency; and the enemies develop with startling rapidity. At first it's just heaven's horn-wielding hosts, and to be honest, these guys are pussies. But before long, the opponents have taken on such size, and ferocity that you'll need to use the right moves, and the right tactics to take them on. This is where the loading screens come in useful.

At the start of the game, there is a handy training section that gets you up to speed with the basic kick, punch and gun attack moves. As the game progresses, at each level load you are deposited back into the training stage, where you can either stand around like a spare part, or practice some of the very, very many move combos that are displayed down the right-hand side of the screen.

When Bayonetta destroys an opponent or deformable set dressing items (plants, benches and the like) she is rewarded with collectible items and golden halos. The latter are the currency of the game, and can be spent in the 'Gates of Hell' bar and shop. Each battle results in a score and a medal. You are rewarded for combos and for not using items. You are penalised for taking damage. If you take too much damage it is possible to lose points in the course of completing a level of the game.

The collectible items add to your magical power gauge, and when this is full you can perform torture attacks that are both visually spectacular and incredibly damaging to your opponents.

Completing certain set-piece battles rewards you with a record, or piece of a record. If you take these to Rodin, the barmen come arms-dealer who runs the Gates of Hell, he'll swap them for newer and better weapons, forged in the very fires of Hades. He'll also exchange halos won in combat for any number of weapons, items or combat moves to add to your battle prowess.

Armed with these new skills, Bayonetta can then take on even more gargantuan and indomitable opponents. She does so with considerable attitude, never being cowed by their frankly intimidating size and mythological impressiveness. Of course, she's not just pecking at them with her puny fists, pathetic guns and and tiny sword. No, Bayonetta can weave magical weapons and beasts out of her hair. These begin with mighty 10ft-high fists and stamping feet, but pretty soon change into huge ravenous beasts.

The thing is, Bayonetta also wears her hair. What looks like a common or garden clingy leather body-suit is actually made of her own tresses. So, when she calls her hair into magical battle, it leaves her somewhat exposed to the prying eyes of us pervy gamers.

Unfortunately, she seems to also be wearing some, admittedly pretty skimpy, underwear to protect her modesty and our eternal shame. Still the whole thing is unashamedly titillating, which has provoked some people to come on all outraged and indignant.

But Bayonetta is an 18-rated game made for adults; and despite the prurient condemnation of the repressed, there is nothing wrong with grown men getting a perv on for delightfully rendered depictions of the idealised female form.

The game does go off the rails a bit now and then through, and some of the poses Bayonetta and some of her female form opponents strike are shockingly provocative. It's funny; but a little bit horny too.

Players might complete Bayonetta in a little over 10 hours. But it's unlikely that you'll do so with a very high score, or a collection of platinum level completion statues, so there are bucket-loads of re-playability. There are also five difficulty levels. 'Normal' is challenging, so you'll have to come back prepared and practised to complete it in the most difficult mode. And even if you do become a grand master of Bayonetta, this is not a game that is going lose it's visual appeal any time soon.

I played both the 360 and the PS3 versions, and while both are good, the 360 version is clearly superior, and by a good margin.

SPOnG Score: 92%
Not since inFamous have I enjoyed a game so much. While that game had more depth and variety, Bayonetta has it beaten hands down for non-stop visual fun, and unremitting action. The story is crazy and possibly pointless, but that's not what Bayonetta is about. It's a rip-snorting slice of non-stop naughty action, and I can't get enough of it.
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Games: Bayonetta

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