The latest build of Bayonetta is looking superb and playing superberifically. Yes, we've created a monster of a word blend there to get the point across because our hands-on with the latest build at Gamescom has left us very excited.
If you doubt the potential of Sega's new lady-shaped action fest, then read on. If you don't, then this'll whet your appetite still further…
It plays like Devil May Cry
Everything about the way the game moves and plays is reminiscent of Devil May Cry, most probably because Devil May Cry's creator Hideki Kamiya is directing it. For starters, there's the pulled-back third-person camera angle. Then there's the combat with multiple enemies at once. The melee and ranged attacks – with guns here triggered by holding down the attack button. Everything that made DMC great is here in spades.
Above: Bayonetta looks like Devil May Cry, right down to the colour palette
Not only is the stylish combat slick and sexy in its own way, but there's no denying the occasional flashes of bare female flesh are teasingly titillating. Where Dante was a suitably handsome hero, Bayonetta is a goth boy's wet dream. Her black catsuit is made of her own living hair, so when she uses it to attack (she's a witch – that's why, OK?), it leaves expanses of flesh uncovered. Some moves reveal more than others, so you'll definitely be trying to learn them all.
Above: Her suit may not look like hair, but wait till the wind picks up
Anything can happen
The graphical quality has evolved to the point where you can't see the joins in set-piece scenery. We were happily sprinting down a staircase in the latest build, when suddenly the stairs were smashed by a humungous demon coming up through the floor. Few games have ever been this ambitious with their design (God of War springs to mind, but few others) and we can't wait to see what the later levels look like.
Above: This guy appears out of the ground with no warning
The combat system is superb
With its ultra-smooth frame-rate and wealth of attack variations, Bayonetta is rivalling Ninja Gaiden for variety and showmanship in battle. With a dodge button that triggers slow-motion counter attack chances depending on how late you use it, the risk/reward system is both deep and intuitive – which is classic Sega.
Above: Using the dodge maneuvre is the only way to beat this old rival
Everything's larger than life
From the amount of hair Bayonetta seems to have attached to her scalp to the massive shapes it creates (such as 8ft tall stilettos to kick enemies into the middle of next week), nothing is underplayed. The weapons you can pick up are OTT too, with rocket launchers, blades and whips to play with. And when the moon comes out, all the rules go out the window as you tap 'A' and activate 'Witch Walk', allowing you to run up vertical walls and across ceilings, continuing the fight with barely a pause.
Above: If one shot could encapsulate everything Bayonetta is, this is it
There's a rumoured 'noob' mode being added to combat the fact that this is an extremely hardcore game. But as long as it's separate, that's fine. Just give us real gamers the full fat, red-blooded, flesh-flashing uber-version and we'll be happy. Expect much more on this one soon.
27 Aug, 2009