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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Bayonetta
By: | January 6th, 2010 | Xbox 360
Review |X360

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Hideki Kamiya of Platinum Games, the mastermind behind Devil May Cry and Resident Evil, knows action. Three years ago, after Capcom sacked Clover Studio, and became Platinum Games, it was announced that Kamiya was working on a brand new project.

That project was Bayonetta. With this new IP, Kamiya made promises of more action than Dante, Samanosuke, or Chris Redfield could ever hope to deliver. Did he make good on those promises? My answer is a resounding yes.

The story is fairly straightforward: Umbra and Lumen (Dark and Light), two clans that have kept the order of the Universe sacred for centuries, are now at war, with Bayonetta, an Umbra Witch, in the middle. Unlike most other action games, the narrative never takes itself too seriously, and the game is mostly character-driven. Bayonetta and the rest of the cast crack jokes the entire time, even when giant monstrosities are prophesying their doom.

If you’re not a fan of Austin Powers-esque accents, you might not enjoy the hokey voice acting, but at the very least you’ll be entertained. If you’re so inclined, you can skip all of these cutscenes from the get-go, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Bayonneta contains some of the best action choreography since Devil May Cry 3; I’m talking capoeira gun-fu and motorcycle-fu here. Some of the cutscenes and battles made me actually cheer out loud in excitement: something that rarely happens for me.

Over-the-top cutscenes aside, at its core, Bayonetta is an action title, and contains some pretty insane combat mechanics. Bayonetta is not the kind of game that pits you against a few enemies at a time; there are constant droves that must always be watched and dodged. If you wait until the last possible second to dodge, you initiate “Witch Time”, which slows down your foes for a short while. There’s really no other way to put it: Witch Time is one of the most genius mechanics ever put into an action title. The reason is because it is by no means required to master to complete the game, but gives veterans an edge if they’re so inclined.

The combo system is so intricate, that you can literally make up combos as you go along. There are hundreds of combinations of attacks, and each weapon set has a different list. I never really found myself abusing the same move over and over, as the enemy AI really keeps you on your toes – not to mention that fact that there really is no need to exploit any one move, given the fact that you have tons of easy-to-use and formidable attacks at your disposal.

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To mix things up a bit, mini-bosses will drop their weapon of choice (true arcade style), and through the course of the game, Bayonetta will earn more weapons and powerups. Thankfully, this helps keep the action fresh, given that you can experiment with a large handful of additional weapons outside of your own arsenal. Speaking of your arsenal, a number of unique weapons can be combined in really cool ways: like mixing deadly ice skates with a katana, for instance, lets you skate around the terrain as you slice your foes to bits.

In addition to the talented developers at Platinum Games, if there’s one thing SEGA can bring to the table, it’s arcade action. Arcade button mashing is a staple of Bayonneta (when appropriate, and never overused), and using your torture moves on regular enemies, and finishers on boss characters couldn’t be more fun, mashing all the way. While there are a few QTEs thrown in there (in good taste), the majority of the time you’ll be mashing buttons after a finisher to get the highest “Gigaton!” score. There’s also a relaxing light-gun mini-game in between rounds, just to help you get some extra items in addition to the very expansive store. If that wasn’t enough, you can also craft whatever you want in-game after finding the proper materials dropped by enemies.

The level designs are absolutely brilliant. Often times, you’ll be battling a horde of enemies on a moving setpiece, while a giant boss is trying to murder you. Bayonetta is just that intense! In fact, boss fights are the highlight of this game; I don’t want to spoil anything, but most of the fights you’ll encounter are more entertaining and innovative than most other games of any genre.

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Thankfully, unlike Devil May Cry 4, there is hardly any backtracking, and all of the levels have a diverse feel. The only time that Bayonetta truly drags is towards the end of the game, when it forces you to do a two vehicle sections, but they’re still a blast to play, and one of them is even modeled after the classic shmup genre SEGA helped innovate.

To compliment the lovely locales, Bayonetta‘s enemies are also meticulously designed. Each enemy has a nifty “textbook” introduction, and there are more than enough enemies per level to keep you guessing tactically, as well as entertain your need for diversity.

The inclusion of the Very Easy Automatic difficulty level is yet another shining example that the creators understand the needs of gamers of all skill levels. Very rarely do you see such a hardcore action title catering to inexperienced gamers, but Bayonetta goes so far that the easiest difficulty can literally be played with one hand. Veterans will also be pleased to know that the two extra “hard” difficulties are actually (gasp!) hard. Considering how critical I am of most action games’ lack of difficulty, I really mean that.

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It’s also obvious that Bayonetta is a labor of love, and a ton of extra finishing touches make that apparent. For instance, there are myriad Capcom references, ranging from Resident Evil 4 to Platinum Games’ previous works (Clover), such as Viewitful Joe and God Hand. Through and through, Bayonetta is a gamer’s game in terms of references, but there aren’t so many of these references that casual fans will feel left out.

Bayonetta can be completed in about ten to fifteen hours, but there’s plenty to do after all is said and done. You can go for platinum medals in every level (and compete over worldwide or friendly leaderboard status), seek out hidden portal challenges, look for missed collectibles, buy every item/weapon/ability, find every witch tomb, play Hard/Non-Stop Climax (Very Hard), play as a secret character, or indulge in many of the game’s (additional) extras. The only thing Bayonetta is really lacking is any sort of multiplayer component, which may shy away gamers who are thrifty with their purchases, but make no mistake: Bayonetta is not light on content.

If you did all that, the game could easily last you around fifty hours or more, and Platinum Games has gone on record stating that Bayonetta will not have DLC; so nothing was withheld from your retail copy. What you see is what you get, and you get much more content than most games with their pricey add-ons.

Simply put, Bayonetta is the action game I’ve been waiting for since Devil May Cry 3. It’s a must-buy for just about every gamer out there, and was worth the three year wait.

Reviewer’s note: the PS3 version is a port that contains a worse framerate, slower loading times, and slowdown during a few parts of the game. If you can help it, purchase the 360 version.

Rating Category
10.0 Presentation
Bayonetta looks absolutely stunning on the Xbox 360. Some of the environments actually made my jaw drop.
How does our scoring system work?
10.0 Gameplay
There are enough combos in this game to keep your playthroughs fresh, and more fresh content than a lot of other series' games combined.
10.0 Sound
You've never heard the classic song "Fly Me to the Moon" like this before. The rest of the score is just as fantastic, and there are even a few extra remixed SEGA classics in there for good measure.
9.5 Longevity
Bayonetta has a ton of extras buried within the main game: even if you only beat it once, you'll at least want to go back and find all the secret levels/items/weapons you missed. Action fans will replay the game over and over just for fun.
10.0 Overall
Bayonetta is an action masterpiece. All you action fans out there should run out and buy it, and just about everyone should give it a try on Very Easy mode at the very least.

  1. This game has turned from a “shmeh” into, at the very least, a “must-rent”.

  2. avatar PLUG

    Playing it right now.
    What an AWESOME game!!
    Puts Devil May Cry 4 and Ninja Gaiden 2 to shame.

  3. avatar Natalsux

    So true. I freaking love this game.

  4. its nice to see a game just put out a finished product instead of depending on dlc for longevity

  5. Wow…I’m impressed with the score! I was considering picking this up because DMC3 is one of my favorite games. I’m very pleased to hear of a game that has a difficult setting that’s actually difficult as well.

  6. I really didn’t want to buy this game, but I might have to after all.

  7. avatar randombullseye

    I for one think Platinum Games is a great company. Any game they put out I’ll have to play it.

    I’m really anxious for Infinite Space.

  8. avatar Jordan Garski

    See, I’ve been an avid player of God of War, Ninja Gaiden, and Devil May Cry for a long time and when I played the Bayonetta demo I was left with a very very unimpressed feeling. The controls didn’t feel as tight as DMC or GoW and it felt like I was playing a game that its predecessors simply did better.

    Also, I’m seeing people are saying “I want to play this because DMC3 is my favorite game” and so forth. Yes, Bayonetta is from the creators of Devil May Cry however the creators of Devil May Cry only made the first title… DMC2-4 have been made by an entirely different team (and personally I’ve felt that 3 and 4 are much better than 1)

  9. Sorry, Jordan is right…I forgot that DMC3 was made by a different team than DMC. Either way…until DMC3 came out, DMC was one of my favorites. I never played through 4. I spent about 6 hours with it. Don’t remember why I quit…maybe I should just finish that before spending $60?

  10. avatar Jordan Garski

    @darko
    In my opinion, DMC4 becomes much better when you switch from playing as Nero and go to Dante. Yes, Dante’s missions involve alot of backtracking however he gets a much better move set (his DMC3 stuff) and all of his cutscenes are quite hilarious.

  11. @Jordan
    DMC 4 would have been an infinitely better game if they just let you play as EITHER Nero or Dante the entire game after completion (kind of like…Devil May Cry 3: SE did!). But they resorted to terrible design instead.

    Also, most critics agree that Nero added a fresh perspective to the series, and was fine as his own entity. Dante was pretty much just broken (all styles at all times?).

    As for the Bayonetta demo, I agree that I wasn’t blown away after multiple playthroughs. But the demo is a modified version of the real game, and is much, much more exciting.

  12. avatar Jordan Garski

    @Chris
    I would have preferred a DMC3:SE style for 4 instead of what they did too. However, Dante having full access to all of his styles makes alot more sense (why would he need to stand next to a statue in order to decide he wants to do something different?) and it added a new level of depth to Dante’s combat. Plus in context to the story of the game Dante was meant to seem a little overpowered, a big part of the overall story is that “Dante could really finish this alot faster and quicker if he didn’t dick around so much”.

    I actually hated Nero as a character and thought he was far from fresh. He wasnt much more than a whiny Anti-Dante who I really think only exists to bring about the return of Vergil in a later game. His story was rather lame, they never explain anything important about how he gets his powers or how he somehow has Sparda’s blood in him, the only explanation you get about him is that a demon attacked him back in the day. His combat was extremely repetitive, he got no additional weapons, and the new moves he gained for the Red Queen were only usefull in very basic situations. Nero is the MGS2 version of Raiden, a character with potential who should have been given a spin-off instead of being the main character in a proper title. Plus, he lacks alot of the over-the-top fun that I enjoyed in DMC3.

  13. I was completely ignoring this title until I read this. I’m sold. The only slight issue I have with this is the sex appeal, kind of makes me feel pathetic for liking it.

  14. @Ferahtsu
    I know what you mean, I love alot of these action games, yet my missus doesn’t really play them. I’d love to be able to put a game in front of her and say “this is a 10 out of 10, one of the best of the genre, try it” as I know just one look at this game will get me a suspicious eyebrow raised asking me if it’s porn.

  15. @Paul

    Tell her yes, it is porn, but also that you can play with just one hand!

  16. @paul

    She watches True Blood, you have a counter if she questions wether this is porn

  17. avatar Leighton

    I agree with Jordan. This game isn’t what everyone thinks it is. Action fnas should just wait for Dante’s Inferno which will be the BEST action game ever. (other than GOW)

  18. avatar Leighton

    Its really cool with the slow-mo shooting though.

  19. To sum up how amazing the game’s replay value is, here is a secret boss I didn’t even know existed, that my friend just told me about.

    **Possible Spoilers**

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqHqsasKTIg

  20. I bought this game today. I must say, it’s what I expected: a semi-repetitive action title with a humorous storyline to go alongside the shiny visuals.

    Other than that, Darksiders still wins :D

  21. I wasn’t well informed on this game. I’ve heard of it and seen it in gaming stores, but just passed it up thinking its just another typical game of its genre. After reading this review I’m thinking about going out and buying it tomorrow.

  22. This game looks good and plays well, but the cutscenes are far too long and numerous – the flow of the game gets broken too often. I agree with Jeff, it can get a little repetitive.

  23. avatar Jay Brown`

    Well iplayed both demos and much preferred Bayonetta. Dante’s Inferno just had that samey wooden combat style nothing neew really. and that stupid dodge was nowhere near as good as witch time, even if you miss witch time you can still dodge!
    Plus the absolve/condemn interaction can’t compare with the various hair, demon, torture and punishment attacks, the transformations, etc.

    There are so many fighting in hell games already, Dante’s inferno is no different and no better than ALL of them.
    Bayonetta is fresh, funny and original and truly lets you fight your own way.

    • avatar Alberto

      Se vc quer enconomizar ? mehlor um de 250gb de HD. Por que em alguns 4 gb n?o vai dar. . . pense bem. . . Eu comprei e me ferrei na hora de jogar Left 4 Dead 2 por quer requer espa?o na memoria eae naum dava falava memoria insuficiente. . . ate eu um hd ai rodar o . . mas pra jogar off no caso deu pra mim mas na live ? osso.

    • avatar Benjamin

      It’s interesting that you corampe Bayonetta unfavorably to No More Heroes as that was the game Bayonetta reminded me of most (in terms of its writing at least. The gameplay is vintage Kamiya with DMC being the most obvious inspiration). Both games were ridiculous and over-the-top, and poked fun at game conventions. I could understand finding Bayonetta embarrassing if you were showing it to someone who hasn’t played many games, but to someone who is familiar with the genre, I think it’s clear that it’s all parody.I’m not saying its brilliant. Enzo is the most annoying side character since Jar Jar, and the storyline is a confusing mess- something that’s especially disappointing given how well-written Okami’s script was. But I found that moment to moment the ridiculous going-on were quite funny. I mean a dance-off for no apparent reason with a Bayonetta doppleganger who reveals herself to be a topless angle, who pulls out a glowing something-or-other out of her crotch in a masturbating position? What’s not to like?

  24. avatar penk

    The games complete walkthrough and tips could be found on http://forums.techarena.in/guides-tutorials/1294166.htm. Check out I found it useful.

  25. avatar ineffable

    This game is not repetitive,with all the content&2 extra characters I totally
    Disagree..I loved all the DMC games except for dmc2..I thought that this game
    Had more to offer w/all the sweet combos yu can do..dmc’s weapons only had
    So many combos for each weapon..&w/evry new dmc dantes weaps got cooler
    But w/more or less in each title..I think nero will become or be possessed by vergil
    In dmc5 also..I’ve loved dmc’s storylines throughout them all(I’ve read the dmc books also)but
    After playing bayonetta I thought she could romp on him lol..I play 3rd person
    Slashemups alot&i think this games worth buying..one more thing..even tho hideki kamiya
    Only made the original dmc the following 3 were made by others they still had to stay
    True to its roots&not change the style too much,they made changes that I could have lived w/out
    ..But its still dmc&hideki was the true artist behind it..gow is a great game&i can’t wait
    To buy darksiders cus joe mad rocks!
    Ineffable427 (PSN)

  26. avatar Jeff

    This game is awful — how you can wade through it without it being muted is beyond me. Couple that with the hilariously bad cut scenes — squirrel! — and the terrible comic relief this game serves its best purpose as a coaster, for a drink I don’t really like.

  27. avatar Buy OEM software online

    9hKLop Develop the topic further! It is interesting to know more details..!

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