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Bayonetta (Xbox 360) artwork

Bayonetta (Xbox 360) review


"At first, I was concerned about getting into Bayonetta, due to my "experience" with the Devil May Cry series. Now, as of this writing, I've only completed Devil May Cry 1 and played the Devil May Cry 4 demo, and I was terrible with both. In DMC1, I was dying at least... a million times in every chapter, and in the DMC4 demo, the boss killed me. I didn't think the boss death was bad at first, until a DMC expert I knew told me it was an extremely easy boss to kill. So, with those two wonder..."



At first, I was concerned about getting into Bayonetta, due to my "experience" with the Devil May Cry series. Now, as of this writing, I've only completed Devil May Cry 1 and played the Devil May Cry 4 demo, and I was terrible with both. In DMC1, I was dying at least... a million times in every chapter, and in the DMC4 demo, the boss killed me. I didn't think the boss death was bad at first, until a DMC expert I knew told me it was an extremely easy boss to kill. So, with those two wonderful memories under my belt, I thought that history was going to repeat itself with Bayonetta, a game that was directed by the creator of Devil May Cry. But I was surprised when, after getting a feel for the controls a chapter or two in, that I realized I wasn't getting destroyed as much as I feared. To put it bluntly, in terms of difficulty, Bayonetta is like Neo Contra to DMC's Contra: Shattered Soldier-style difficulty.

Some would see that comparison as a bad thing, since Neo Contra is a really easy title, and therefore, is not considered a "true" Contra title. Well, yes, Neo Contra is not a challenging game, but it is a blast to play thanks to the solid gameplay and wacky sense of humor. I felt the same way when I was playing through Bayonetta. Of course, you're probably going to get badly injured the first few times trying to perform certain moves, because the game is all about close-combat and dodging. However, it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to master, and you'll be putting together combos and activating Witch Time (an ability that temporarily slows time after dodging a close attack) like it's nothing. I wish I can say Bayonetta becomes more strict as you progress through the difficulty levels after Normal, but unfortunately, that's not the case. Hard is too similar to Normal, introducing slightly stronger opponents early on, and Non-Stop Infinity Climax, the difficulty after Hard, only takes away Witch Time. Non-Stop Infinity Climax should have been the original Hard, with something tougher as the following difficulty. It's the biggest gripe I have with the game (the Quick Time Events come close) that I hope will be fixed if a sequel is ever made.

Besides the gameplay, what makes Bayonetta enjoyable is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, and that's mainly thanks to Bayonetta herself. You'd think a game where a witch that constantly has to fight "angels", composed mainly of beings looking like white lizards and giant, mechanical dolls, in an attempt to stay alive would be dark and serious, but it's not. Bayonetta is constantly in a playful and flirty mood in both cutscenes and in-game, normally with the opponents she's about to fight, and some of her moves even reflect this, where she can breakdance while shooting and equip skates to use as a weapon. The game itself becomes a spectacle, too, as you ride on rockets, fight on walls of a crumbling city, and battle bosses in the most absurd situations you can find yourself in. I mean, you eventually take on a gigantic boss, who has a face on each of its legs that shoot fire balls, out in the ocean, while Bayonetta causally surfs around on a piece of metal. The battle concludes in a maelstrom, where Bayonetta summons a beastly spider, made out of hair, which then transforms into smaller spiders and proceeds to rip the boss a new one.

Also, at times the game does get "fanservicey", but it's not done in a method that detracts from the whole title. It's done more in a "funny ha ha" way than something that would turn you on. Anyone who says this is a game only perverts would buy, or that Bayonetta is "just about some British slut", obviously hasn't played it. That's not to say you should just hand this to a little child to play, since Bayonetta definitely deserves its M rating, especially with excessive amounts of blood and a BDSM special attack that can be used on female opponents. Speaking of fanservice, the developers even displayed their love for the medium with constant video game references. There's quite a bit of Sega tributes, like Magical Sound Shower playing on the radio in a red car, as well as a minor, minor Space Harrier dedication, but there are also other non-Sega ones too, most of which I haven't even figured out yet. I may need to check a list...

Now, let me make one thing clear: Bayonetta is not a game that is going to blow your mind and change your video gaming life forever. It's also not the most challenging game out there, unless you want to do extremely well on the Leaderboards, or be one of those gamers that post insane combo videos. But, for me at least, Bayonetta gets it right in the area that matters the most: it's a fun title. I've completed the game on three difficulty levels, finished all the portal challenges that force restrictions in combat, and got every achievement, and yet, I still have the urge to play more Bayonetta. That's an amazing thing for me, because I rarely return to Xbox 360 games after completing them, even the ones I actually enjoyed.

Rating: 9/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (January 24, 2010)

PickHut couldn't think of anything to say about Corporate Lifestyle Simulator in this little box. That's just how ordinarily bland the game feels.

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zigfried posted January 24, 2010:

I know what you mean about wanting to actually keep playing Bayonetta... I sell most of my 360 (and PS3) games after beating them, but this one I actually think I want to keep! It's just really damn fun.

And yeah, the water battle ruled.

//Zig
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pickhut posted January 24, 2010:

Yeah, the water battle was fun. And I hate spiders, so...

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