Execute with style
Have you ever wondered what beating up enemies with style can look like when done excellently in a video game? Well, wonder no more, because Bayonetta is here. It features some of the most stylish combat that has been in a video game. Add on some fine production values and a hell of a personality, and you have yourself a game that has more flair than your typical entry into the market.
Let me just say that any game with this kind of personality going for it is going to get my attention rather quickly in the cutscene department. Oftentimes, what attracts me to a cutscene are lovable characters with excellent dialogue, which is the case for this game. It’s very tongue-in-cheek, legitimately humorous, and anything else that will bring you into a cutscene. There is no doubt that you’ll be paying a lot of attention to each cutscene to get an idea of how each character ticks, and the excellent attention paid to detail in this regard is especially astounding. Suffice it to say, you’ll enjoy every cutscene – that is a guarantee. If not, you simply lack a soul or a sense of humor, and I pity you for that.
However, there is an issue regarding the actual storyline. For all of its bells and whistles, the plot barely advances and barely explains itself until the last few chapters. The pacing is just off. You’re given a lot of concepts with barely any explanation. Now, I will admit, Bayonetta trying to figure herself out – that has excellent pacing. You know those kinds of story elements best work towards the end as a kick in the nuts, but everything else, like the villain’s plan, is ridiculous. Why did I have to wait until nearly the very end to learn of it? Why did I need to wait until then for the plot to unravel? Was it not for the dialogue and personality, the story would be a complete disaster.
Like Devil May Cry, Bayonetta captivates with its insane acrobatics and fiery fight choreography that would make Neo and Trinity flinch. The motion-based cutscenes push the action-game genre to new heights, with over-the-top battles and creatively designed attack formations. As expected, Bayonetta's sex appeal is a major part in the battles, but it's still very creative. The lesser cutscenes follow film strips and mostly static images, which is a bit disappointing, but they let the characters express themselves decently and don't saturate the game too much. The Torture and Climax attacks are some of the best (and bloodiest) in the game; seeing a huge dark dragon sink its teeth into a massive golem is just the beginning.
If my description of the storyline didn’t do it for you, let’s see if I can do it for you with the voice acting – cheesy, fitting to the tongue-in-cheek over the top storyline. Again, if you’re not into it, I question whether or not you have a soul. The biggest deal here is the soundtrack. Surprisingly not cheesy, but rather, varied and excellent. The soundtrack blends in with the situation at hand. The boss tracks, for instance, are epic. If you’ve heard God Of War’s soundtrack, you’ll know what to expect – orchestras of epic quality. The only blemish in this soundtrack is the main fight song. What is with this obnoxiously terrible J-Pop song? Even gay people would find this song disturbingly girly. It makes me think “umm... why couldn’t they take some cues from Devil May Cry”, because Devil May Cry tends to have excellent fight tracks. But that's typical... I never get what I want anyway.
Combat is definitely something for the whole family to enjoy. Mixing it up with weapon attacks, bullets and kicks, Bayonetta manages to employ a combat system similar to that of Devil May Cry. Basically, you have two melee attacks (weapon and kicks), a ranged attack and some jump attacks. As well as this, you get Halos. Halos are the game's currency that is used to buy items, combos and other items from a shop down below. By the end of the game, you'll have a lot of combos to experiment with.
The enemies start off simple, not unlike Devil May Cry, but they slowly grow in size and stature. New weapons from fallen enemies change up the gameplay considerably, especially when switching items on the fly. The bosses are absolutely tremendous, some of the best ever seen in the genre. Leviathan angels and monstrous demons appear and dynamically change the way the boss fight is made. If taking out a monster over a pit of lava isn't big enough for you, try attacking a beast while in a free-falling stone temple. Yeah, Bayonetta doesn't skip on the showmanship, resulting in an absolutely unforgettable rollercoaster ride of an action game.
As you build up combos against enemies without getting hit, you can activate Torture Attacks. When the game prompts you to press two buttons together, you can absolutely crush your enemies with a torturous attack, such as slamming them in a torture chamber, or decapitating them with a guillotine. These kills tend to be fairly satisfying, but please do not mistake them for a finishing blow – at times, they merely significantly damage the enemy
Now, when you’re not dealing with combat, you’re dealing with either a shoot em up sort of thing, an arcade shooter, or a motorcycle. This all seems incredible, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Each of these parts work alright. Some parts have unnaturally sensitive handling, like you just push and it slams onto the boundaries. Some parts feel tacked on in a vain attempt to add variety to the game. However, they fall flat on their faces. Had most of these features not been added in, this game would be better than it actually is.
Story: It manages some excellent tongue-in-cheek dialogue that can make you laugh a bit, as well as a large degree of personality, both of which inevitably draw you into the cutscenes, making you wonder what the next cutscene holds. It is such a shame that the actual story contains some rather horrid pacing. 4/5
Graphics: Rather neat, if you ask me. The enemy designs are fairly inventive, the colors are excellently used, and I actually didn’t hate the still shot presentation of some cutscenes. The graphics are all excellent, all round. 5/5
Sound: The voice acting is cheesy, but it adds to the personality of the game, so no dramas. The excruciatingly annoying battle song, which is J-Pop of the crappiest variety, sounds out of place. The rest of the music is excellent, delivering the proper moods, but damn that song to hell! 4/5
Gameplay: Battles are generally fun as fun can be. You’ll enjoy every second, pummelling enemies into dust with style. However, everything else that tries to break it up ranges from half-baked to just plain annoying, and you’ll be thankful that battles are frequent. 8/10
Bayonetta is a rather enjoyable game, and is well worth your time. It is rather unfortunate that the story takes a long time to actually come full circle and everything that is done in an attempt to break up combat is nothing short of monotonous. It’s nice that you can always count on the battles and the overall personality of the game to pick up the slack and annihilate those who stand in its way. For that, Bayonetta comes as a recommended purchase, and you’re a fool for passing it up.
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