Review by Neophoton
"Nonstop action to the fullest"
First of all, let's all admit that Bayonetta's over-the-top gameplay is what caught our attention, as well as coming from pre-famed Platinum Games (formerly Clover Studios), as well as the Kamiya (Devil May Cry and Okami fame) name tagged along the side. Are we all clear on this? I suppose so.
Teaming up with Sega, Platinum Games brings us this nonstop action that is said to blow the doors off the action genre on both PS3 and Xbox 360. Certainly, it holds itself very well with a few hiccups along the way.
Now, I know many action games are flat out horrible with stories, but it isn't exactly to say that none of them can whip up a decent story to work with. Odds are, you likely aren't interested in the story if you're curious about picking this title up.
With that out of the way, the story kicks off with Bayonetta in search of her memory. She teams up with comedic relief Enzo to get a lead on where the plot coupon, known as the Eye of the World, may be. Very much so, it happens to be in the middle of Europe. This story isn't complete with Bayonetta's job of opening a can of whoopass on angels kicking high into gear.
The story is pretty trite and nothing to rave over. If anything, the story makes very little sense by the end of the game as it falls right on its face in an attempt to wrap itself up. However, as previously mentioned, you likely aren't interested in the story if you're in it for the fanservice behind the game and the insane gameplay.
The redeeming quality is the script in terms of humorous scenes. The story is flat, but you can't help but to grin at a few scenes that are done very well in the action department of the story.
Bayonetta sports very fine graphics, much like any other PS3/360 game, and has flashed them off very well in its trailers over the past few years to attract so much attention.
Sadly, it doesn't present the finest either system can muster. While I do not own a 360, I am confident to say that there are better looking games than Bayonetta and certainly say the same for PS3. This isn't to say Bayonetta is horrible overall, as it certainly is sharp, but it definitely doesn't look as grand in the likes of other titles on both systems.
The special effects and animations behind each of Bayonetta's moves are pulled off fantastically, as your wicked weave attacks and critters summoned (by your own hair!) are given an otherworld appearance, much alike to what any witch would summon with their own hair when they're in the process of ass kicking. Let's face it: wouldn't you be in awe if you can summon a dragon from your own hair?
Character models are pulled off nicely in what actual animations were shown in the midst of cutscenes. They're detailed and nothing looks quirky or odd to speak ill of.
Speaking of animation work, this brings me to a personal quirk: the filmstrip style. I thought it was pretty cool and yet lazy at the same time. It suits the style of the game, but also gives one the feeling this was a low budget title.
I personally don't want to think it was done on low budget, but seeing how frequently this filmstrip approach appears within the game, I can't help but to shake the feeling.
Initially, I had feared for the worst when it was stated this game would go for a jazzy pop approach in terms of music. To my surprise, it actually works for the game very well.
The music isn't something I would die for, but it isn't bad to drive you up the wall if jazz/pop isn't your thing. It's actually quite tame on the ears,
The music is borderlines on ear worm material, as you'll most likely have the Angel Attack theme stuck in your head, due to frequent playing. This certainly isn't a bad thing, because the track isn't horrible by any means, and I'd rather a catchy track than a bad track reeling in my head I'm certain the same applies to everyone else.
Voice acting is very excellent. Despite being made by a Japanese developer, the staff opted to go for English voice acting, much alike to that of Resident Evil and Devil May Cry. One might say this is to prevent people from bickering over language differences in voice overs, but we all know Platinum Games would never see to interfering with such conflicts.
Now, I might feel the voice overs are fantastic as they go hand-in-hand with a pretty decent script (nonsensical story set aside), but you could argue that they had to ensure these voice overs are good if they weren't going to ring up any Japanese voice overs and continues to confirm that there are indeed good English voice actors.
The bread and butter of Bayonetta, essentially. Keep in mind I've never played a single Devil May Cry title, but have aware of a few elements from the series and will not exactly proclaim Bayonetta's gameplay to be completely new and exciting
Except that it very well is refreshing and new for this generation. The game advertised itself with gameplay that will bust the door down on the action-genre and it does hold up solid gameplay. If anything, the gameplay is why you should be playing this title, as it is the most refined aspect of the title.
The gameplay is fairly fast and addictive, as it plays a lot like to that of God of War or Devil May Cry Even a bit like Okami, as you are limited to a small area in battles much alike to the Japanese-influenced title.
You are given plenty of weapons to work with: guns, swords, whips, claw gauntlets, skates, and even rocket launchers. I'm not kidding with the skates or the rocket launchers, but those are just the weapons you can use at any time, as the enemies in this game drop some goods to work with.
Speaking of weapons, in the midst of a torture attack a fancy skill that allows you button mash for maximum damage on an enemy good old Bayonetta will even whip out a huge chainsaw, possibly as homage to MadWorld's Jack (another Platinum Games title). These torture attacks are mostly to allow the player to get in some additional damage quickly, or possibly go for an all-out kill depending on what type of enemy you are fighting.
Just when you think the game may get boring, you are frequently introduced to new weapons to work with and giant bosses to face off against. Did I mention the giant bosses No? Well, the bosses in this game are insanely huge and add a satisfying feeling of victory upon defeating, as even many standards enemies dwarf Bayonetta.
Some may put the game down in a claim of button mashing and that isn't entirely false but the game certainly gives you plenty of combos to work with. Given that you are able to equip two weapons, much like that in Okami, you can work out an endless number of combos to pummel your foes with. You are even given the option to purchase additional skills, some of which require more than just triangle-circle-triangle or of such It's almost like playing a fighting game, minus some of the most insane button combinations to exist in video games.
I had once heard Kamiya state that the staff was aiming for a very difficult game and it seems they have succeeded. However, it might be a case more so of a fluctuating difficulty.
With this inconsistent difficulty, I found myself extremely frustrated at times in the game, only to take a break and comeback to find that very same part to be extremely easy! This baffled me, as I could only come to the conclusion that I was simply wearing myself out the other day due to a long period of playing.
I will state that the later chapters throw out a lot of challenges for you to jump hurdles over, mostly between some tough bosses and annoying enemies all while working with a limited supply of items.
Keep this in mind that I only played this on normal, as I do with every other game. Some of the final chapters prove to be difficult to deal with, and I find myself putting this title on the shelf to play on hard mode later on. I'm certain those looking for the most extreme of game challenges will likely welcome Bayonetta with open arms.
Exactly what about those who want to play the game on an easier setting? Have no fear, the game does offer an easy mode for those who feel uneasy. Hell, it even sports a one-handed easy mode. Whether you want to take that into consideration in more ways than one that's up to you, but I figure the staff to find themselves to be merciful in that regard.
Bayonetta, unlike many other games of this generation I have played, proves itself to be addicting, challenging, and entertaining. It's certainly just as short as the majority of titles being released: about 9 10 hours, but it's fun ride you would hate to miss out on.
Aside from being frustrated at times, you will likely want to try again at a part you are failing frequently at. To me, this seems to be a case of taking a short break before going back, but it's matched with an incentive to keep going for the sake of enjoyment.
The colossus monsters in this game also grant the game a bit of an epic vibe, as you will constantly be facing off against these divine beasts and will likely have loads of fun in the process and feel quite accomplished when you succeed.
That said, Bayonetta is very hard to put down and if you are willing to put the PS3's now non-existent loading times (at the time of writing this), you'll find yourself in for a load of entertainment.
Replay Value: 8/10
The game sports leader boards for levels to give you an incentive to replay the game many times. It even offers medals for each segment of a level, usually of different ranks (bronze, silver, gold, platinum, pure platinum, etc.) to encourage players to replay the levels as many times as they wish.
This title even offers a higher difficulty upon beating the game on normal mode, but there are only two ways to go about this: shelf the game immediately after completion and tackle the challenge mode another day, or jump right back on the couch and play once more.
If you're anything like me, you will likely go for the former and look to enjoying the game another day, as you may not want this game's over-the-top nature to wear you out quickly. This isn't to say you would refuse to play the game more than once, but simply to not let the taste become stale.
Whatever the reason is, the game does give you plenty of reasons to come back to it. With the PS3 version now having a patch to grant an optional install, many PS3 owners can possibly enjoy playing this game with far less loading times as opposed to the first romp through.
Despite a nonsensical story (that can be forgiven as it really isn't forced down your throat like some other titles seem to demand) and less than stellar graphics, Bayonetta offers a very challenging gameplay that many people will welcome to the PS3/360 library in this age of easy gaming.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/02/10
Game Release: Bayonetta (US, 01/05/10)
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