Everyone loves surprises. Except for people who hate surprises of course, but we'll not concern ourselves with such freaky-deakies here and now. No, we'll go round their house later and jump out of the shrubbery at them while yelling and waving our arms in the air.
came as something of a surprise to me. It arrived fully fledged in the SPOnG offices without much of a fanfare or any impending anticipation. But within minutes of it being inserted into the Xbox 360, it caused something of a stir. Firstly, I picked up the joypad and proclaimed that it reminded me of Devil May Cry
, much to the derision of my colleagues, who pointed out that I was a l4m3r and an 0lb (a new word I have just coined for someone who is rendered n00blicious not by their n00bieness, but by them being old and out of touch with young people and young people's things).
is not DmC5
, it is the latest headspawn of Hideki Kamiya, Devil May Cry
creator. While Bayonetta
is set in the same twilight demi-monde as the DMC
series, instead of featuring Dante, this new game features a statuesque leather-cum-hair clad bitch/witch who carries the same name as the game. A sort of Devil
The game has a storyline, but it's so bat's-arse crazy and impenetrable that I couldn't make head nor tail of it. It has something to do with Bayonetta
waking up after a 500-year snooze to find she has no memories of who she is. This convenient story mechanic then drives her voyage of discovery as she fights her way through a wide ranging and dynamic action combat game. The story is set in a universe of dark and light where perception is reality, whatever that means. But there are, as is always the way, forces of good and evil pitched against one another in a battle for the very blah of meh. Do you care? I don't.
Why don't I care? Because Bayonetta
is not about the story. It's about unabated, incessant, non-stop ultra-violence. It's about level after level of unremitting combat. It's about hexy sexiness and campy vampy-ness. It's the only game I have ever played where Mark SPOnG has turned to me and asked, in all seriousness, if I thought it was "too relentless?" And while this was clearly the talk of a weak man, it was, actually quite accurate, and not a little poignant.
The thing is, Bayonetta is a witch, and she wields the dark arts. Her opponents are angels and heavenly hosts who she has to defeat on a daily basis to avoid being thrust down to hell, so the morality of the storyline is ambiguous to say the least. There is also some involvement with a rather cocky male character, Luka, who represents a love interest, or at least a flirtatious sparring partner for Bayonetta. There is also a child ('Cereza'), who later in the game begins to refer to our anti-heroine as 'Mummy'.
Oh, and there is dimensional shifting too. When Bayonetta exists in certain plains, characters appear ghostly to her, and she can move through them - and vice versa - without significant interaction. Bayonetta can move between dimensions sometimes at will, and other times by using a portal that she has to activate.
is, basically, a series of boss battles linked by a series of high-camp cut scenes. There is some wandering about and some collecting things, to be sure, but not so much that you'll actually notice it. Bayonetta
is more about fighting one huge and apparently invincible monster before going on to then battle two of the same monster, with some other smaller monsters thrown in for measure.
Bayonetta herself is a woman of no small virtues. Indeed she is an ultra-vixen, with a schoolmarm's face (and spectacles). And a whore's body. And a dominatrix's body-suit. And a samurai's sword. And a wizard's magic. And a playmate's Zeppelin race photo finish. And guns! Bayonetta has guns in her hands, and guns in her boots. And she can shoot all of them independently or simultaneously, while performing acrobatic moves of some considerable lasciviousness. She does run like a girl, but it's a joy to play, and even more of a joy to watch, so we'll forgive her.