From Croft to Cammy, I'll take a female protagonist over some cheesy line-spewing pretty boy any day of the week.
So Bayonetta, the upcoming third-person actioner from Platinum Games (compiled of key members from Okami's Clover Studio), is high on my list of games to play.
While I'm inclined to focus on the the eponymous, gun-footed heroine, the game's real draw is its pedigree; aside from the Clover connection, the game's director, Hideki Kamiya, had a hand in creating the Devil May Cry franchise.
One look at Bayonetta's dripping-with-goth environments, super-stylized combat, and crazy-arse creatures, and Kamiya's influence will hit you like an oversized demon sword. In fact, it wouldn't be out of line to sum up Bayonetta as "Devil May Cry with a woman", as it absolutely oozes with similarities in all the best ways.
Most prominent of these, are the game's effective use of fast-paced, over-the-top action and oversized boss baddies.
When checking out the game at a recent Sega event in New York, my demo opened with a playable prologue set 500 years before the game's story (Bayonetta is an older-than-dirt witch), that saw Bayonetta battling atop a rapidly falling clock tower.
As the Big Ben-looking structure raced toward its brick-breaking fate, Bayonetta stylishly dispensed some of the game's antagonist angles—that actually look like clean cut demons—with the dual pistols in her hands and attached to her high heels.
Another battle saw a screen-filling foe erupt from the ground, fists first, right before picking up the stone cobbled bridge Bayonetta was standing on and rattling it like a stick. Both scenarios hinted at a focus on highly produced and polished set-piece battles.
When our angel-slayer isn't strutting through epic encounters, she's fighting determined hordes of low level beasties, with style to spare.
In addition to her four-gun arsenal, she packs the expected high-kicking acrobatics of a game with Devil May Cry pedigree as well as some special attacks. Most impressive are her torture moves—acquired by collecting orbs during regular battle—that allow her to summon up old-school killing machines such as iron maidens and guillotines.
While the title is brimming with eye candy at every turn, it was these creative kills that made a lasting impression; watching her kick an enemy into one of these devices, then witnessing the resulting head-lopping, torso-impaling deaths, had me craving some play time in this strictly hands-off demo.
These wicked encounters should have prepared me for what was next, but I'm guessing nothing could prep even the most seasoned gamer for Bayonetta's naughty bits-revealing hair attacks.
The bespectacled heroine is totally covered in hair, but unlike your Speed-O sportin' uncle; her hair is more like form-fitting black leather, wrapping skin tight around her taunt. In fact, the only time it really looks like actual hair is when it unravels for a totally bizarre—and awesome—finishing attack. When a boss is weak, she unspools the menacing mane into an enormous hair dragon—I'm not kidding—while players mash buttons to ensure the hirsute beast finishes the fight. All the while, the mostly-naked Bayonetta watches on.
Admittedly, this alone sold me on the game. And despite having only a hands-off demo to check out, I see a lot of promise in this title.
Its adrenaline-amping action, engaging art style, and solid pedigree guarantee it a spot on my must-play radar. That said, I'll need some hands-on time to get a true reading on its potential, as it's breakneck pace could spell trouble if the camera and controls can't keep up. Still, based on my brief time with Bayonetta, I'm already counting the days till our next date.