Bayonetta is all about its main character and that main character is horny as butter, sexier than an oil-drenched Megan Fox and supplied with moves that would make God of War start shaking like a Chihuahua that was kicked in the corner. In other words: you get an over-the-top spectacle that will make your eyeballs roll out of your head and grab you by the balls as only a demonic secretary wrapped in her own hair can do.
What gets noticed from the first seconds is that this is a Japanese game. The devs clearly didn’t hold back for one second so prepare for plenty of cut-scenes that make no sense but offer great fun, cheap shots that especially show the – perfectly shaped – butt of Bayonetta or manage to barely avoid her naked body when she performs one of her ridiculous attacks and transforms her hair into an all-devouring monster from the depths of hell.
The story is as thin as the witch herself. Bayonetta awakes from a deep sleep after hundreds of years, goes looking for her self and her past and discovers that most of all she has fun with killing creatures that call Heaven (or Paradiso) their home. These beings are all beautifully animated and die on more original ways than you can dream of, even after drinking seas of tequila. People who aren’t in for absurd storylines and completely insane characters can better watch one of two episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful.
The game, however, needs to be bought for the fights and gameplay, not for the story eventhough it’s extraordinary original and refreshing in times where Western and American all look alike. You have four pistols (each hand and each… stiletto) to do all kinds of deadly stunts with, light and heavy attacks, tons and tons of combos with all their own unequalled animations and special attacks, and on top of that you can take weapons from enemies (who also all have their own move sets!), get power-ups, buy items and equip yourself with them, upgrade your pistols and exchange all that while fighting.
Still not impressed? Than you haven’t seen the Weave Attacks or Torture Kills yet! You can use striptease poles to sling yourself around like a deadly hurricane, summan giant fists, bring guillotines to life or put enemies in spiked coffins. Extensive, deep and addictive, and added with that sexy and dark edge that makes the entire experience complete. Too bad that the camera at some unguarded moments sometimes falls short and that the game suffers from screen-tearing in some of the levels. Also take into account that the latter is less apparent in the PS3 version but that you’ll have to suffer long loading times on that platform instead while having to do with less colorful and sharp graphics whcih suffer from frame drops which make the game quite a lot less fluid to play; There’s a reason why we got sent the X360 version.
All that vioelnce also means that lesser game-gods will sweat and hurt when chosing the Normal mode (there’s two extra and more difficult settings as well). Even on Easy you’ll regularly face difficulties and you’ll be required to completely master the combat system. Crucial there is the control of Witch Time: when you evade an opponent’s attack at the right time (with the right trigger) then suddenly everything starts moving a lot slower, except for Bayonetta of course. That way a ballet of superfast fights, perfectly timed dodges and supreme heights of colorful and astonishing special effects explodes.
Luckily there’s also the Very Easy mode for those with two left hands so that everyone and their grandma can enjoy the game. The devs could have done a bit more effort in explaining the subtleties and give more time to learn the basic combos. I also don’t agree with many reviews that state this is the ultimate engine: I find it not intuitive enough. The generous depth is absolutely present but you’ll have to invest time in the game for that. With the necessary dedication, the most hardcore gamers will be able to get “Pure Platinum” medals: each fight gets rewarded with a rating and a note on the Leaderboards.
Beware, you’ll have to do more than fighting alone. Now and then you get a puzzle, you can collect stuff and run on walls or rooftops upside down when it’s a full moon and on top of that you’ll now and then get to do a sequence you really didn’t expect and puts the gameplay upside down. Variation present, but what impresses most next to the normal fights are the epic encounters with the many bosses. These are nothing less than breathtaking: not only graphically and auditively overwhelming but also qua scale they can’t be compared with anything. You simply have to see them to believe and also here the art design is very original and a combination of Japanese anime with more Western and Christian architecture and history.
Also the soundtrack will probably manage to gain a lot of fans. Just as with the graphics, the story and the gameplay personal choices aren’t avoided and you’ll get a mix of jazz, J-pop, choirs and bleeps and blops. I liked it, maybe you will too, but a bit of an open mind is necessary. And Bayonetta… she sounds as dangerous and exciting as she looks.
Bayonetta is an absolutely unique game that will collect both huge fans and shortsighted opponents. Those that are open for games that take a bit more risk than the average shooter will find an incredibly rich package with this title. Breathtaking fights and overwhelmingly animated characters, inspired surroundings, tons and tons of variation and fantasy, a completely absurd story, boss fights that will bring a smile of amazement on your face and a lead character who’s ready for history and your newest wallpaper. The game isn’t perfect – the fighting itself isn’t accessible nor deep enough – but unique and a must-have in any case!