With guns strapped to our feet and demons at the ready, we step into the bizarre world of Bayonetta!
Oh dear. It looks like Platinum Games might have gotten themselves in quite a pickle. For a game that sits so close to the line of near perfection, its luscious heroine, as charming as she is has the physique and proportions to set the public image of gaming back a decade. It’s over gratuitous use of nudity and its sexual undertones echo those that the public greeted Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft who is incredibly tame by comparison.
It’s not surprising but a shame that Bayonetta will invoke this sort of response because anyone willing to look past the box art will find an incredibly rewarding experience. Satisfying combat, relentless action and impressionable heroine – all these elements put Bayonetta on a level above those who claim to be leading the genre.
Let’s start by introducing the leading role although summarising her in just a few words is no easy feat. As far as female protagonists go, Bayonetta is as classy as she is compelling. Her allure stems from her body proportions and outfit – a tall dark haired mistress dressed in a skin tight black suit made from her own hair which can also be used as conduits for giant fists and high heels as summoning hellish demons.
After spending a seriously long time in slumber at the bottom of a lake, Bayonetta awakes to find herself struck with a bothersome case of amnesia and an army of heavenly beings eager to send her back to hell. Many of the story’s ideas might not seem original and overall it’s all quite a clichéd tale but it’s so cheesy that it rarely fails to make you chuckle with its witty dialogue and array of nods and winks to the videogames that inspired it.
Action games in the past have dabbled in shoehorning other genres into the mix and quite frankly have failed to do so successfully. Bayonetta, in a rather subtle manner blends elements of action and puzzle quite successfully. Using Bayonetta’s ‘witch time’, a reflex which allows you to slow down everything around you by dodging an attack at the last possible opportunity and the world around you changes - you can now walk on water, reach new areas before the barriers blocking them seal themselves again – it’s a stroke of genius!
Of course the action plays the most significant role and it does so with a sense of grace. It might look like a cut-copy-paste job from its Devil May Cry brethren but Bayonetta is far more complex and a hell of a satisfying beast to tame but deeply rewarding. Chain together some well timed punches and kicks and you’ll be treated to a brutal finishing blow. Perform well consistently and your magic meter will reward you a torture move allowing you to execute eccentric but satisfying attack using medieval or even chainsaws to tear up your opponents or at least remove a nice chunk of their health bar away.