Before I get into the review proper, let me just say that if you like Devil May Cry, mad Japanese stuff and women in backless catsuits, you’re going to love Bayonetta. That is to say it’s more hardcore than Devil May Cry, it’s full of crazy Japanese-style imagery juxtaposed with some rather odd but perfect music choices and Bayonetta’s outfit even comes off when she does her magic.
Bayonetta’s an Umbra Witch who’s just woken up after a 500 year kip and every day she must hunt and kill what appear to be angelic demons in order to prevent being dragged into hell. She does this by using pistols, a katana and a whip held in her hands and with a nifty pair of guns on her high heels which she can shoot things with as she breakdances across the floor and leaps into the air. One of the main things you’ll also have her doing is dodging things at the last possible moment. Do this and you activate Witch Time which slows down time around you so you can deal some extra damage.
She also has torture moves which are fun ways of killing your enemies by slamming them into rack, iron maidens and other cruel devices. And of course, being a witch, she has some magic at her disposal in the form of the Wicked Weave when her hair does the talking in the form of fists and high heels which emerge from a portal and kick things into the middle of next week. She should definitely get a job advertising hair strengthening conditioner!
Puzzles are simple this time around and are usually time-based as you leap to new areas after activating switches. Occasionally there are also levels that nod towards old Sega classics in the form of racing and shoot ‘em up sections and whilst they add variety, they do feel a bit bolted on. The game’s very in your face and when fighting bosses things get even more spectacular, especially when you use ‘climax’ moments to finish them off. Your hair once again takes the form of a celestial creature and you hammer one of the buttons on the joypad to get the biggest bonus possible before treated to a great animation.
The mechanic works in a similar way to Devil May Cry in that there are tonnes of combos to pull off and they all look really cool. A barrier usually appears in front of you and you have to kill everything until you can move any further. You can also trade items in Rodin’s shop in the Gates of Hell but, unless you’re an expert from the start, you won’t be able to afford anything of much value until near the end of your first play through, which of course, encourages repeat play as you can start again with all the powers you’ve gained so far.
This game isn’t perfect though, as some magazines have claimed. Having to buy and even make your own lollipops to heal and give you magic is a bit tiresome and I would have preferred just collecting health from fallen enemies. And, at least to begin with, cut-scenes are far too long and frequent.
Still, if you’re into hard, hardcore games then this will definitely be a real treat for you with tonnes of items to collect and a huge replayability factor as you unlock even harder modes (beginners take note, there are also easy modes which take care of the combos for you). Bayonetta gets an almost perfect 9 out of10.
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