Terminal Gamer Review – Bayonetta

Bayonetta is action at its finest. Beautifully executed, fast-paced and over-the-top.

Bayonetta, created by Hideki Kamiya, creator of Devil May Cry, is a story about a witch, who, upon being woken from her watery grave 500 years after her initial demise, finds herself unaware of her past and trying to uncover her purpose. This witch, Bayonetta, finds herself fighting angelic enemies from Paradiso, the equivalent of heaven in the world of Bayonetta. As she fights these enemies from Paradiso and tries to uncover her past, a wily young reporter, Luka, follows her, determined to unmask her to the public after witnessing his father’s death at her hands when she came out of the pond where she was buried some twenty years earlier.

The story is straightforward. It is a tale of good versus bad (in which bad, ironically, is Paradiso) and in which there are two magical sects from ancient lore fighting over focal points of power, two gemstones that can control time and the universe.

This witch is one hell of a fighter.

The plot in Bayonetta won’t win any awards. But what will shine through is the extraordinary gameplay throughout. Bayonetta is a hack-and-slash game along the same veins as Devil May Cry and God of War. Facing hordes of angelic enemies, Bayonetta must utilize her magical powers, guns that strap to her feet and hands, and assorted hand weapons such as swords and axes to cut and shoot her way to an understanding of her past.

Almost immediately after starting a game you are tasked with eviscerating hundreds of enemies. They literally just keep coming. The game manages to produce such beautiful fight sequences, such perfect combos, and such vicious finishing moves, that over the course of the ten-plus hour campaign, you will never find yourself bored with the gameplay.

The fights are incredibly rewarding, pulse-pounding, and most importantly, fun.

Bayonetta follows a general formula of 1) fight off several waves of enemies as you move through a map, and 2) defeat several bosses before ending the chapter. Each wave of enemies is heralded by lively pop music playing in the background, and after each group is destroyed, you are rewarded with a medal and a score based upon how many combos you used, how little (or how much) damage you took, finishing moves you used, and more. While the formula sounds boring, Bayonetta keeps it exciting by throwing a large variety of enemies at you, all of which require different tactics to finish off. As a cherry on top of Bayonetta’s frantic action sequences, a number of strong combos and a lack of damage taken will fill up a magic meter that allows Bayonetta to pull off some truly violent finishing moves. The moves range from kicking a baddie into a guillotine and dropping the blade on his neck to crushing an enemy in between two cogs.

That would be a wheel. That will be run over an enemy. This is a 'torture' move.

While the fights in Bayonetta are stunning, the most awesome sight of all are the bosses. It is not an exaggeration when I say that the bosses in Bayonetta are some of the largest I’ve ever seen. There are bosses that are as large as the Colluses’ from Shadow of the Collosus. You will find yourself running up their bodies to attack certain weak spots in an effort to defeat them. On top of their size, they are beautifully designed with a madman’s eye for what a monster should look like. The bosses look awfully strange and are truly imaginative in their design. Likewise, each and every boss requires a different tactic to take down, which means that each boss battle offers its own unique challenges.

The boss battles can be intimidating because of their size and difficulty, but luckily, Bayonetta has multiple skill levels that make the game accessible to veterans of Devil May Cry and to newbies as well. Bayonetta amply rewards players of all skill levels with a satisfying gameplay experience in which at the lower difficulty levels of the game combos will be performed for you while at higher levels you are expected to unveil the combos yourself and utilize the proper sequence of buttons to destroy your enemies. On the ‘Normal’ difficulty setting, Bayonetta is difficult. On ‘Hard’, Bayonetta is suitable difficult, and on ‘Easy’, Bayonetta is mind-numbing fun.

The bosses in Bayonetta are strange, huge, and always a great challenge to fight.

Bayonetta features a world that is beautifully rendered. The ancient European city of Vigrid looks suitably old and lived-in. Paradiso looks absolutely gorgeous, with flowers waving in the wind and blue skies kissing ancient monuments that are crumbling over time. Most impressive of all, however, is Bayonetta’s use of physics puzzles. In the later stages of the game, Bayonetta will find herself in parts of Paradiso and Isla del Sol, a man-made island with nefarious purposes, where rocks hurtle through the air and where Bayonetta will run up down, sideways and upside-down across the map. The physics aspects of Bayonetta are stunning to behold and are beautifully executed. Jumping from one part to another is an exercise for your trigger finger and provides numerous moments of “Oh man I can’t believe what I just saw” excitement. Bayonetta makes Prey look like a beginner’s tutorial on physics puzzles. It is engaging and unique and beautiful to behold.

Bayonetta is a stunning game and is an early contender for Game of the Year.

Bayonetta is stunning. It is an over-the-top, action-packed, beautifully executed package that I can’t recommend highly enough to provide hours of hack-and-slash fighting. You will find yourself sweating with excitement and punching your fists in the air as you pull off combos and take out bosses the size of skyscrapers. A ridiculous story and sexual overtones galore can’t keep this game from being an early Game of the Year contender. Thank you, Sega, for delivering such an awe-inspiring gaming experience to lighten up these grey January days.


10



+ Stunning physics puzzles and unique landscapes

+ Vicious, beautiful combo moves

+ Bosses the size of skyscrapers

+ Guns on high heels


– Story is weak