Reader Review: Bayonetta

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This review was submitted by Jared Araniego. If you’ve played Bayonetta, or just want to ask Jared more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Bayonetta (360, PS3)

Off the critically acclaimed (but rarely purchased) success of Madworld, Platinum Games formerly known as Clover Studios are at it again with the highly stylised Bayonetta. While Bayonetta may have style, smarts and hair long enough to double as her clothes, is there enough substance to live up to the game developers lofty standards?

Loved

Epic Scale: This game is epic. It starts off with two witches fighting off hoards of angels on a large piece of a tower clock falling through the air, before the opening credits have been shown. As the game proceeds, large set pieces are played out that always somehow end in a furore of blood and guts, followed by a quip from Bayonetta. However the best thing is that whenever you feel like the game has reached its peak of epic-ness, it’ll outdo itself in the next level. This only ends when the game has finally felt like it’s done enough, in other words, the end credits. But then of course there’s always the option to play the game again.

Stylish But Simple Gameplay: Bayonetta thrives on style, and Platinum Games have made sure that there is never a shortage of it during the gameplay. Three difficulty choices are available from the start, from Easy Automatic to Normal. While Normal will force you to input specific combos, Easy Automatic allows the player to randomly press a combination of buttons, which still results in Bayonetta’s flashy repertoire of moves. It’s a great way of allowing each individual player, from button masher to combo enthusiast to fully experience the style that Bayonetta is famous for.

Boss Battles: In line with the grand scale of the game, boss battles are a blast to play. While it requires the player to hit the weak spot for damage, it never gets old triggering ‘Witch Time’ (essentially bullet time) and pummelling the boss and in the process seeing massive chunks of the health bar go down. The end result is Bayonetta uttering some kind of chant which results in her clothes/hair transforming into some kind of monster which proceeds to gore the enemy in a brutal fashion. It’s quite amazing.

Hated

Story: This isn’t a bad part of the game, but amidst all the gory boss battles and stylish moves Bayonetta pulls off, it gets left behind. Basically it involves heroine Bayonetta searching for the ‘Right Eye of the world’ to regain her lost memories. Amongst this there is also some fanatical religious cult out to get the same item for world domination and a little girl who looks like a younger version of Bayonetta. It’s not very compelling, but when a game involves a character whose hair doubles as her clothes and a dragon, something has to give.

Although Bayonetta’s story lacks substance, the gameplay has plenty of it. It’s fast and stylish and as a result, as satisfying as break dancing while having guns strapped to your stilettos and shooting angels in the process.

Reviewed by: Jared Araniego

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


Comments

    I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I’m going to go ahead and do that. To me it seems like this game still has all the pretentious smugness that Devil May Cry had, where all the characters look like they just walked into a photoshoot or a late night sitcom. The character of Dante was just so crammed with “style” that he just turned into an insufferable douchebag. I remember the opening cutscene of DMC3, Dante isn’t content with just shooting a bunch of guys, no, he’s got to shoot them while still playing a game of pool and eating a pizza. Meanwhile I just want to shoot myself for having witnessed that. Now just replace smugness with creepy 12 year old school boy sexual pandering and you have this game.

      'You Sir, are wrong.'?

        would have to disagree. bayonetta was probably even more ridiculous than the over-stylized dante. i found myself face-palming at each cutscene, so my hand was on my face and not the controller when the dreaded reaction command prompts popped onto the screen

      There's a reason you're not meant to judge a book by it's cover, you know. You haven't played the game, you can't judge what it's like.

      Besides, the game isn't just breasts and butts, it's also got bullets. It's not just your 'sexual pandering', and levels don't revolve entirely on Bayonetta in awkward positions.

        Yes, bullets that come out of shoes, and black alien things that require her to be naked. Its just not my thing

      DMC3 was one of the best games ever made! And that cutscene was soooo good!!

    I agree with your critique on the plot. It was a broken, convoluted mess. The most I got from it was some witches who liked to dress in black and white fighting each other for no other reason that they were coloured opposites.

    Still, weren't there any other things you hated about the game?

      Lag issues? Well that really wasn't the fault of the game, rather the lack of effort put into the PS3 port.

      There was this level near the end which was kinda like a homage to old school shooters and shifted to like a beat em up style every so often in the level. That really annoyed me cause it was overly long haha.

        Lag issues were obviously fixed by the patch that came out soon after.

        The music got on my nerves sometimes as well. It's just weird hearing soothing Jpop tunes when you're hacking winged angels to death with your hair?

    I must admit I bought the game because of Bayonetta herself and her glasses, but as soon as I started playing I stopped noticing the fanservice and was drawn right into the addictive combat and entertaining enemies.
    I agree that the plot is weak, and doesn't really explain itself coherently, but I also felt a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume and potential combos when you start to combine upper and lower weapons.
    Also, if the game requires you to play through several times to unlock the seperate difficulties, and to earn enough money to buy all the accessories, branching stages and extended story to reward commited players would have been a nice inclusion.

    Fun game ... but the thing I remember most is after watching the story/cutscenes as diligently as possible, still having absolutely no idea what was going on. I think that was half the fun though.

    The story is dumb - but the game is sublime. I would describe it as cheeky rather than exploitative.

    She kicks ass and she and the other main female character are portrayed as strong smart and sexy - rather than helpless bimbos.

    But enough of the moral justification - its simply the best beat em up ever made.

    how does the game as a whole compare to viewtiful joe, madworld and god hand?

      Well it's pretty different gameplay wise. But it's kinda got that aura of quirkiness those three games had as well.

    Because of the fact that most people are judging this game on a knee-jerk basis (eg. saying it's just fan service and over the top sexuality to appeal to the teenage male). I just want to ask one thing to put the argument to rest.
    Would the game still be as strong if you stripped away all of the innuendo? Say for example if you were to replace the character of Bayonetta with a typical male character would the game hold it's own against the similar (and some would say superior) Devil May Cry games?

      the core gameplay would hold up, since it's superb, but you'd lose the self consciously ludicrous tone, which helps hold the tenuous plot together, since Bayonetta herself is such a bizarre mix of schoolteacher, fashion model and dancer (she really likes dancing)

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