God of War, Ninja Gaiden, and Devil May Cry. All three of these games have basically held the title belt for being the best of the best action games. God of War, with its brutal hack-and-slash game play, Ninja Gaiden with its brutal difficulty and fast game play, and Devil May Cry with everything that was listed above, but with the script of a B action movie script. There has come a new challenger though in the action game genre. A new challenger by the name of Bayonetta for the PS3 and 360 has come to take the belt of the three champions of action. This fast-paced action game, created by Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe creator Hideki Kamiya, is a rather interesting challenge, but how does it hold up? Let’s dive in and find out.
The story in Bayonetta begins with a history lesson about two clans who worshipped the sun and the moon separately. One clan is the Umbra Witches, a clan of powerful female warriors who use magic to their advantage and are fueled by the power of the moon. The second clan is the Lumen Sages, who are a group of male warriors who worship the light, and the sun fuels their powers. There was an incident that made the two clans have a feud that ended up wiping out both of them. However, move forward a couple of hundred years, and we find out that one of the Umbra Witches was brought back to life. Her name is Bayonetta, a rather sensual female Umbra Witch, whose job is to kill angelic-like creatures that are then dragged into Hell. She sadly doesn’t have any memory of who she is, and is trying to find the sacred treasures that were the two clans’ most prized possessions, the left and right eye of the world. It is up to Bayonetta to find one of the sacred treasures while finding out who she is, and save the planet from something catastrophic. The story itself is a little confusing, and there is a lot more detail about the story as a whole, but I summed it up to the best of my ability. Let’s just say that Bayonetta is a game that is required to play through again and again to understand the story as a whole.
The game play in Bayonetta is a frantic action/adventure/ shoot ‘em up, where you control the sensual and titular character, Bayonetta. You go across Europe through fictional areas, beating down on angelic enemies, and once in awhile beating down on a much larger opponent about as big as a 20-story building or bigger. Your main forms of attacks are double-barreled handgun-like weapons that you hold in your hands, and are also attached to your feet. The enemies are frantic and quick, meaning you also have to move quickly, pulling off crazy, out-of-this world combos using your guns. You can also obtain shotguns, a long katana, and rocket launchers to change your game play style. You can also use a slow-down kind of gimmick called witch time, in which if you dodge an attack at the right time, you can slow down time and beat enemies that are in slow motion. Another cool thing is that if an enemy hasn’t hit you in a while, you can pull off brutal finishing moves that can kill an enemy quicker, like putting them in an iron maiden, hanging them, crushing them between two hands, and a lot of amazingly cool finishers. You can also use magic in some of the combos that end up with a giant foot or giant fist hitting the enemy or stomping on them. During the big boss fights in the end, Bayonetta will summon a giant creature made of her hair…I think. These giant monsters act as finishers and will change for each boss fight, which is nice, since it would be boring to use the same finisher for each boss in the game. There are also some quick-time events mixed in, but they’re not everywhere, which is good. You can also use a store-like system, and buy moves and items from the store using the currency system that’s in the game. A cool thing is that after each level, you are pushed into an arcade rail-shooting-like mini-game that gains you points that you can use for items or to exchange for cash.
The graphics in the game are very impressive, and it’s a really good-looking game. All the enemies are well designed and are out of some twisted book of angels that was designed by some crazy artist. Bayonetta is definitely not the worst looking girl ever. She is probably one of the hottest girls in gaming, with her soft sensual British voice and well, let’s just say if you saw what she could do, she would make a convert out of you, just like that. A warning though is that this isn’t a kid’s game. It’s an M-rated game, and does have a couple of sexual terms and jokes, along with a lot of violence and heavy religious themes. I also enjoy the battle music in the game. I’m a little surprised they play “Fly me to the Moon” during the fights. I say that because my mother has that for her ring tone for her phone. The music in the game is no slouch, and fits the situation at hand in the game.
However, this game does have some flaws that I think a lot of people have already mentioned on other reviews, but I am going to talk about them anyway. One of the few flaws this game has is that it has a lot of slow-down time and a lot of slow-loading times. I know some people really hate the game for this, but I didn’t find it as much of an annoyance as everyone else has. I mean yeah, it takes 6 seconds to load the pause menu, but I can understand why there are so much slow-down times and slow-load times. I think it’s because the fast-paced action would maybe be even slower if they increased the speed of the pause menus and etc. However, I don’t find it as bad of an issue as everyone else makes it. I know I have read that the PS3 version is slower than the 360, but I didn’t really notice. Another thing is, I am not that fond of some of the characters in the game. For one, the character Enzo seems like such an unessential character since he only appears at the beginning and at the end. The little girl is also very annoying, and doesn’t really do much, but provide comedic scenes.
Even with all theses flaws, this is one of the greatest action games ever. It’s amazingly well done and it’s an enjoyable game with the right difficulty curve. I would say this was a great way for me to start 2010 and I would say that if you have either rented or bought this game and played it to start 2010, then I would say you won’t be disappointed. It was a great game, and I hope we see more of Miss Bayonetta from Platinum Games, who also made Madworld.
This game gets a 9.4 out of 10