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Bayonetta review

AT A GLANCE
  • Superbly slick combo system that's as varied as it is exciting
  • Massive boss battles in stunning locations
  • Bayonetta. She kicks all sorts of ass and is funny too
  • The story. It's all over the place
  • Nowhere near enough Halos (currency) to buy everything in Rodin's shop
  • Certain QTEs are too fiddly

Even with the universal praise that Sega’s Bayonetta has already received, we remained sceptical about its overall goodness until we got to grips with it. After all, it’s only following the same slash ‘em up template as Devil May Cry and God of War. Or so we thought. It’s essentially this…


What it actually does is double-kick Dante and Nero in the stones and gives Kratos a stiletto to the gut. It’s a ridiculously slick action game that just keeps on giving from beginning to end. Admittedly, it’s not doing much you haven’t already seen before as you can tell by this video… 



But what Bayonetta nails is the epic scale of everything that unfolds before your eyes and the manner in which it’s delivered.

Everything here is huge, and we’re not just talking about the heroine’s chest humps. Levels, bosses and finishing moves are massive in Bayonetta and it’s all stitched together with an incredible variety of ways to kick ass, which we’ll obviously tell you more about later.


Lost the plot

Right now, we’ll give you an obligatory rundown of the story – albeit a brief one as the script is bat-shit crazy, and only serves as an excuse to twat stuff anyway.

So Bayonetta’s an Umbra Witch – a clan who worship the darkness. She’s been at the bottom of a lake for 500 years and she’s understandably suffering from a bout of amnesia. What she does remember is that her arch enemies are Lumen Sages (read: Angels) and they worship the light, and are the unfortunate saps that are turned into a thin red paste by Bayonetta throughout the game. Other characters include Jeanne – another Umbra Witch, Rodin who provides you with the weapons via his shop in hell, Luka an annoying journalist chasing Bayonetta and Joe Pesci-a-like Enzo – who adds, erm, practically nothing but wise-guy cracks to the story.

Honestly, we’ve played through the entire game and the only time anything makes sense with Bayonetta’s story is right at the end. Thankfully, the superb action is a lot easier to follow.

Dual Wield? Pah. Quad Wield FTW!

Bayonetta’s unique style of death-bringing consists of the ace mechanic, which sees her use her hands AND her feet to wield weapons. The way she unleashes furious combos means she’s like a cross between a B-boy, a gunslinger and a high-class stripper. See…



You can switch your set-up so, for example, you can attach two shotguns to your heels while wielding a sword in your hands. Tap L2 and you’ll go to your second loadout.

Oh, that black cat suit she wears? That’s her hair. She can use her immense locks to not only cover her modesty but to unleash combo ending giant stiletto kicks or hairy punches. Even better, she can use these Weave Attacks – as they’re called – to summon mega beasts that will see off huge enemies via QTEs. Our favourite? The brilliant one where you bash up a golem in the shape of a sphere and then four hands form and play volleyball with it before dropping it, comically, and punching it to bits as you slam the buttons. Sweet.

To be honest, Bayonetta’s QTEs are rather hit and miss. Literally. They’re thrown in quite often during combat but miraculously manage to compliment the flow of the action rather than hinder it. Like the Torture Moves, where you can activate an iron maiden or guillotine to kick an enemy into and cause massive damage. But every now and then you’re instructed to complete them mid-cutscene to, say, dodge a falling satellite and the like. The problem is they happen so quickly that some times you’ll miss the prompt and have to re-run the whole sequence again, which is insanely frustrating.


Big screen hits


As previously mentioned, the bosses in Bayonetta are humungous. Most of them easily fill the screen but it’s not just the sheer enormity that’s impressive – it’s the way you have to take these things down.

One of the later monster battles takes place in the ocean. Bayonetta is surfing around the waves on a piece of aeroplane debris as this giant beast called Sapientia fires missiles and meteors and also springs attacks from under the water. You have to wear it down by smacking its legs then when you summon the Weave monster – a big spider – you have to steer the watery foe by its horns into your Weave’s mouth. Kind of like riding a scary jet-ski.

Some battles involve climbing aboard the giant creature, which is a little bit like Shadow of Colossus. They’re that big and then some.

With such enormous bosses you should expect enormous levels, right? But how about vertical levels where you’re running up a building, or spinning uncontrollably on a rock as you fight? They’re as superbly delivered as they are nauseating. And at times it feels like fighting in an MC Escher painting…

 

Plenty of character

Although it’s the silky smooth execution of Bayonetta’s ass-whoopings that will keep you breathless, a lot of respect must be paid to the witch herself.

She’s sexy, witty and can certainly handle herself in a fight. Three things we look for in a woman. Her charm shouldn’t be underestimated as she goes from care-free killing machine to a doting motherly figure seamlessly but manages to maintain the likeability factor throughout.

The humour is a common thread through Bayonetta. If big, bald arms dealer Rodin isn’t quipping things like “Hey, check this out ‘Whadya buyin’?! I heard that in a game once” then it’s Luka doing his best Assassin’s Creed impression by looking moody in an Altair/Ezio style hood. Cheap? Sure, but they get the laughs they set out to get. We really hope this isn’t the last time we see Bayonetta and co.
 
Bayonetta’s bulle – sorry – ‘Witch’ time works brilliantly and rewards you for timing a successful dodge move with nanoseconds to spare. And the amount of moves you learn along the way, to string combos together, will ensure that you can keep things fresh as you batter the hell out of enemies.

Platinum Games have really set a benchmark with their first next-gen (current-gen?) outing and it’s going to be interesting to see how Dante’s Inferno and of course, God of War III stack up against the style and non-stop action in Bayonetta. There's so much variety on show here that you’d be an idiot to miss out on it. It really does deserve the praise surrounding it.


Is it better than...


God of War Collection? – Yes
This is a tough one. Sure, the original God of Wars have been out for ages already, so it’s no real surprise that Bayonetta beats them for both visuals and epicness. But these are the nearest comparisons until God of War III bursts onto the scene later in 2010, and no doubt that will be equally if not better than Sega’s sexy witch.

All the mega-bosses that Kratos had to battle in the original two games are made to look tiny by comparison with Bayonetta’s screen-fillers. And for our money, the weapons here are far more interesting than God of War’s too.

Devil May Cry 4? – Yes
In terms of style, DMC4 is still right up there with Bayonetta, but the win for Sega comes in the form of brilliant pacing and level design.

Where DMC4 forces you to retread old ground with Nero and Dante (we still haven’t forgiven you for this Capcom) Bayonetta keeps the new things coming throughout. Plus, it has a camera that isn’t permanently fixed to one spot, meaning you can switch views to see the enemies sneaking up behind you. Plus, Bayonetta is far more likable and interesting than Dante.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2? – Yes
There's a lot to compare between Team Ninja's slash-em-up and Bayonetta. Both are super-fluid in their hack 'n' slash gameplay, with multiple weapons, magic and upgrades. Both also feature golems, gore and groin shots.

But where Sigma 2 seems a tad disjointed and lacking in atmosphere, Bayonetta hits you with megaton scenarios time after time, with incredible variety of gameplay and spectacle. Not even SixAxis boob jiggle can tip the scales here - Bayonetta is just plain better.


Just for you, Metacritic

It’s an almost flawless exhibition of gaming greatness, which can effortlessly make even the most ham-fisted of gamers feel like they’ve got elite skills. Bayonetta is already an early contender for GOTY for 2010.

Dec 22, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jan 05 2010 - PS3, Xbox 360 (US)
Jan 08 2010 - PS3, Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega
Developed by: Platinum Games
ESRB Rating:
Mature

37 comments

  • lucashintz - December 23, 2009 12:55 a.m.

    Perfect scores from both famitsu and gdar? Well, I'm sold.
  • michaelmcc827 - December 23, 2009 2:13 a.m.

    WAT
  • Dexsus - December 23, 2009 3:33 a.m.

    It just looks like another DMC clone to me. I think I'll skip this one.
  • FantasticMrStarFox - December 23, 2009 5:24 a.m.

    I'll have to check this one out.
  • thephntm - December 23, 2009 5:24 a.m.

    You didn't include that her clothes turn into a dragon thing and you see half her ass.
  • GR_JustinTowell - December 23, 2009 10:16 a.m.

    @Dexsus - it does look like a DMC clone from afar, but it really is better. It's just breathtaking. Nath finished the game right next to me and it's just amazing how much imagination and spectacle they've crammed into it, let alone gameplay variety. But then you'd know that cos you've read the review :P
  • rxb - December 23, 2009 1:36 p.m.

    The only thing that could bother me are the QTEs and the man grunts noises. Other than that Im in love.
  • dannage805 - December 23, 2009 7:08 p.m.

    is any1 else like me an more interested in Darksiders? i think it looks more fun and was gonna pass over bayonetta 4 it bu... lookin at all the reviews 4 bayonetta... i'm lost
  • GoldenMe - December 23, 2009 7:58 p.m.

    WHAT THE FUCK!!! A 10?! Well shit... I promised myslef that I wouldn't buy any Sega products until they put Sonic on the fucking map this century. But really? A 10? I kinda convinced myself that it just another DMC/GoW clone, but worse. Wow. Biggest shock for me....... I'm still not going to buy it. Sega ain't getting any of my monies.
  • Defguru7777 - December 23, 2009 9:16 p.m.

    I played the demo for this for two minutes and hated it. Maybe I'm the wrong audience for this.
  • Dexsus - December 23, 2009 10:14 p.m.

    @GamesRadarJustinTowell Yes yes, hint hint nudge nudge say no more. I did infact read the review before I commented so no worries there. But I can't get over the fact of how similar it looks so I dunno. Maybe I'll give it a rent after crimbo.
  • gibbsy24 - December 24, 2009 5:19 a.m.

    10!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
  • allthegoodnameswheretaken - December 25, 2009 3:07 p.m.

    Sega actually did something right ?! YAY!
  • crimson_soulreaper305 - December 27, 2009 5:24 p.m.

    Gdar says:Sega's sexy witch bursts on the scene to deliver a stiletto to the nuts of Kratos and Dante I say: Now thats Ass-over-Tits action! plus, i got the demo from OXM, and was already planning on buying it and my b-day is the next day from it release.
  • DryvBy - December 29, 2009 3:34 p.m.

    This game is boring. It's just another DMC. They had to make it a chick with some weird clothing for peoples to even pay attention to it. A forgettable title in a month. No thanks.
  • Rattlehead - December 29, 2009 10:23 p.m.

    Bayonetta covers some of my top fetishes, such as witches, leather and glasses. If she was purple and squirted Sunksit from her breasts I'd think Sega was reading my mind
  • crimson_soulreaper305 - January 1, 2010 1:11 a.m.

    am i the only one who played, yet alone who has the demo? i liked it, sure it seems a 10 is over the top , but i say Bayonetta earned it,but then again everyone's got their own opinion. (her taunts are are stripper moves.LOL)
  • jackthemenace - January 1, 2010 4:51 p.m.

    i really wish everyone would stop falming this game! i played the demo and i loved it, possibly even more than i love DMC! (well, not that much, i could never love ANYTHING more than Dante) point is, everyone's giving it really bad press, and i wish they wouldn't just because it's too stylish and fast moving for their tiny little brains to comprehend. only joking, byt please stop flaming it? GR thuoght it deserved a 10, and so do i, so deal with it. on a lighter note, i've actually got htis pre-orded for my birthday, whcih was last weekend :D
  • marioman50 - January 2, 2010 6:59 p.m.

    One thing that puzzles me about the scoring of this game is that it doesn't really gel with the review. Sure, the person reviewing the game may really like it, but I believe a 10 is supposed to represent a "perfect" game, no? The reviewer does have some complaints about the game (though they are minor, I guess) and therefore, this game shouldn't be given a perfect score. A mid to high 9 sounds about right.
  • CandiedJester - January 2, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    I played the demo before reading this review. I really liked it, it's super fun..but I wasn't expecting a 10 at all. That was really suprising. I was thinking maybe 8 or a 9. But a perfect 10 out of 10? I'm not sure if it's THAT good. So I read through the review, and there were a few complaints, like marioman50 said, so doesn't that alone mean it isn't perfect? If there are things that could have been done better, I think it should have gotten a slightly lower score. Then maybe if a Bayonetta 2 comes along with some improvements theres room to give them credit for it. Anyway, I'm planning on buying the game, because it does seem like loads of fun, and I feel it would be worth my money. My only fear is, it seems a bit like one of those games that comes out and drops in price very quickly. I don't know why, I just have that bad feeling about it. I don't want to spend 60 bucks on a game then realize I could have waited a few months and got it for half that.

Showing 1-20 of 37 comments

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