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Monday | October 22, 2018
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Bayonetta (X360)

Bayonetta (X360)

If you thought all witches were wrinkly old prunes, then think again because even if you haven’t heard of Bayonetta there is a good chance if you like titles like “Devil May Cry” or “God Of War” then this will hit the spot – they are all designed by the incredibly talented Hideki Kamiya. He has managed to create an epic, over the top, fast paced, brutal action game. If you like sexy anime women with a plethora of wild and scary powers then hold onto your hat.

Bayonetta is a story about the balance of good and evil, the battle of light and darkness. A long time ago the Lumen Sages and the Umbran Witches kept the balance of power between both sides. The Umbra took their power from the demons of Inferno and the Lumen took theirs from the god of Paradiso. Both of these forces had a grudging respect for the other, however a climatic event caused both to enter into a bloody and brutal war. When this war had ended only one witch remained alive … her name? Yep, Bayonetta.

To be honest, the story while entertaining is a little messy however ultimately there is no faulting the execution. There are many layers of grey to the characters, rather than just a simple black and white two dimensional portrayal. The Umbra witches for instance are not entirely evil and Bayonetta is killing the angelic legions that stand in her way while attempting to seek the truth. So while you are controlling a very skilled and super powered entity you never feel you are in charge of a soulless monster merely killing everything in sight.

Clearly the developers have focused on Bayonetta’s sexually driven appearance – she is barely clothed at times and her body shape is sure to attract the hormonally driven teenage audience. While the narrative is solid in parts I never felt any direct relation to exactly what was going on and why Bayonetta was undergoing some missions and objectives in the first place. Nearer the end of the experience however things start to fall into place, however for a large portion of the game you seem to be somewhat keep in the dark.

Many people will be able to overlook some of the story inconsistencies because as an action game Bayonetta is a total success. The combat system is both detailed yet intuitive, ensuring simple button mashing will not be the key to success. The face buttons for instance are used to kick, punch and fire Bayonetta’s handguns regardless of other weapons she may have equipped. Using the right trigger causes her to dodge in any direction which is massively important, especially when fighting some of the boss characters. Timing is critical because if you can manage to dodge just at the right time then Bayonetta will jump out of the path of the attack in slow motion … called “Witch Time” in this game (Bullet Time anyone?). Obviously this gives you the edge in tricky situations as you can not only escape an attack but land some additional hits while recovering.

The weaponry the game offers is very impressive. Bayonetta can equip weapons on both her feet and hands which means a ‘star’ shaped attack methodology is possible. Using four pistols for instance (called ‘Scarborough Fair’ for some reason) means you can fire from both hands and feet. Game progression obviously unlocks more weapon variety and the array of combinations is quite staggering at times.

Initially the array of possible combos can be daunting however many use very similar button configurations so adapting to new moves is generally rather straightforward. If you like just hitting a button while fighting you can do that also although some of the fights will prove much harder than they would with a good grasp of the overall combat system.

As well as the standard combo moves Bayonetta can perform what the developers are calling “Torture Attacks” which are available when her magic gauge fills up. These attacks are initiated by pressing both punch and kick buttons at the same time and will be different depending on the enemy you are facing at the time. Bayonetta can summon various items such as spiked wheels, guillotines and then dispose of the enemy in a perverse and often quite sickening manner. If you like your gore then this will be immediately appealing and I am quite ashamed to say I found a few of them very entertaining.

The in game currency is called ‘Halo’ and they give the gamer many reasons to replay because the more you acquire then the more cool things you can buy from your weapons dealers in the game. You can also buy extra techniques which fall outside the standardized set of combos in game, some of which are actually very creative by design.

As with all games of this nature, there are a plethora of boss battles and some of the characters you face are many screens wide in physical size. The ‘Cardinal Virtues’ are agents of Paradiso who represent the most powerful extensions of divine will. When I say “epic battles’ I mean this literally as both the environments and the hugely scooped combat interplay is incredible. Most of these battles build up in tension until the breaking point and then Bayonetta is able to unleash demons from another dimension to do her bidding. These really are stunning moments of game design which will really appeal to the high octane audience who love drama and ’larger than life’ gaming.

Even though this is a review of the Xbox 360 version of the game, I did manage to get my hands on a copy of the Playstation 3 version just before this review went live and there are a few issues with game loading times and in game slowdown which ruin the overall experience. These are not apparent in the Xbox 360 version so I can only assume the developers either ran into issues with the coding or they did not spend as much time optimising for the specific differences in platform hardware requirements. If you are lucky enough to own both consoles then be sure to opt for the Xbox 360 version as it is noticeably superior.

The similarities to Devil May Cry are quite noticeable and this is not a bad thing at all, I thoroughly enjoyed the latest DMC incarnation when it was released some time ago. Bayonetta however is a stunning title with larger than life concepts which translate fantastically well into the finished game. This is a very playable, very enjoyable and ultimately very rewarding experience which should be embraced by a huge audience, especially younger players who ache for a constant adrenaline fix.


Fabulous to play and great to replay later.
The engine is very well optimised on the X360 and the level of detail is high in all areas.
A wide array of musical genres combine to form a well fleshed out overall production piece.
Took me well over 10 hours as I took my time, and it is very replayable. Almost like watching a favourite movie again.

Incredibly enjoyable and well worth looking out for.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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