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Bayonetta review

Astonishing

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

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36 comments

  • sern-savatdee - July 13, 2012 1:35 p.m.

    good
  • smikey1123 - November 22, 2010 1:41 a.m.

    Thank you for this review, I purchased the game based on it.
  • adp15 - March 26, 2010 7:10 p.m.

    gotta get it
  • drako691 - February 27, 2010 7:05 p.m.

    i got the demo(something clearly none of the flamers did) and i thought it was a little like DMC, but not nearly enough to call it a clone, i dont really know anything about the story but to be honest, i dont care about the story...in any game...ever, i just dont play a game for story or even graphics, i just care about the actual gameplay, which from the demo is great so from what ive seen and played this game does deserve a 10. and one more thing, a 10 doesnt mean its a perfect game, theres a lot of games that get a 10 that have a few flaws (nothing is perfect)but a 10 just basically means that the flaws it does have are minor and can be easily over looked.
  • reaper45 - January 25, 2010 9:07 a.m.

    yes dannage805!!! Darksiders is by fucking far a better game! I traded the fuckin piece of shit of a game so called bayonetta to a dumb ass freind of mine for darksiders. After he played it and maybe after rubbing one out dude's already sick of it! Only time I ever want to see this witch bitch again is in a porno! Fuck, I think thats why anyone would buy it!Sorry sega! You had a great time in the 16 bit time zone, let it go sega, let it go!!!!!
  • frahmer86 - January 20, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    I rented this game because it got really good reviews and I love God of War. Well, I was very disappointed by this game. It is unfairly hard, such as getting attacked immediately after a cutscene ends, and the load times are horrendous. Don't know if it was a problem on the 360, but the PS3 was very slow. The story is completely pointless and adds nothing to the game. Also, you can only save the game between each chapter. Dumb. I would say a 6.5/10. I really cannot wait for God of War III.
  • mausjake - January 16, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    To anyone who played it... How many hours of gameplay am I looking at? I'm broke, like WAY broke, and I need something to keep myself from going insane over he next month or two, I dont want to drop $60 on somthing that won't keep me for long.
  • spleen911 - January 13, 2010 10:49 p.m.

    it actually has a one-hand game play option
  • reaper45 - January 13, 2010 7:18 p.m.

    Dont buy it! Its just DMC with tits and god awful music! The combat is great and the game looks great but you will beat in 10 hours or less and I dont know about you but I cant pay full price for a game that you can blow through that fast. I dont know where the hell a damn 10 got on this game, the story sucks, the music beyond sucks, first game I ever played on MUTE!!! If you want it that bad just rent the damn thing of wait untill one of your dumb ass friends buys it. I promise you he will be sick of it in a week!!
  • CandiedJester - January 12, 2010 8:48 a.m.

    Okay, I bought the game on release day, and I am on chapter 11 about..don't know how close that is to the end, but I've played a total 12 hours, for me that is enough to say that I completely agree with the rating. I LOVE this game. It is sooo ridiculously fun. Yes, the story doesn't make much sense..but it doesn't really have to. A fun game is a fun game. Period. I already know I am going to replay it several times..and I am not someone to replay games. Ever. There are a few things I personally think could have been different, like Bayonetta's personality, or the story. But its not enough to hurt my overall opinion of the game. I am definately a fan of Bayonetta. I am sorry I doubted you.
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 11, 2010 11:50 p.m.

    Looks fking dumb if you ask me -_- Plus how did it get a 10 on the ps3 aswell? Looks like it's a nightmare on that platform...
  • Yeager1122 - January 9, 2010 5:05 p.m.

    Just played the demo not that impressed but maybe the full game would be more fun.
  • sofaku - January 8, 2010 2:59 a.m.

    @Telekinesis I don't think any game should get a lower score because of a load screen. I trade off long load times for a better system that doesn't brake the year you get it.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - January 5, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    stop bashing the game b4 it even comes out if the people at gamesradar give it a 10 it must deserve it and i think somebody who works at gamesradar.com and have played through the entire game are alot more qualified than you to say if a game is good or not. im ginna pick up a copy tomorrow.
  • Telekinesis - January 3, 2010 8:09 a.m.

    How is it the PS3 version got the same score with all its technical problems, it is clearly inferior. How can it be 'perfect' if the 360 version is 'perfect' but the PS3 version is inferior, that means it is not a 10/10, your one of the only reviewers to not do this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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)

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