Latest news
Review: Bayonetta
by Tyson Breen
Game Information

Basic information
Developer: Platinum Games (PS3 port: SEGA)
Publisher: SEGA
Released: 29th October, 2009 (Japan)
5th January, 2010 (North America)
7th January, 2010 (Australia and New Zealand)
8th January, 2010 (Europe)

PlayStation 3
Xbox 360


BBFC: 15
OFLC: MA15+ (Australia)
OFLC: R16 (New Zealand)
PEGI: 18
Before picking up Platinum Games' first title, Bayonetta, there are a few questions you must ask yourself. Do I enjoy crazy, Japanese style action? Have I enjoyed games such as Devil May Cry? Am I tolerant of the sexual objectification of women? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, Bayonetta might be a game for you. Although this is Platinum Games' first game as a studio, don't think that they are inexperienced. The group is made up of mostly of former members of the now closed Clover Studios, who were responsible for Viewtiful Joe and Okami. Bayonetta also has the pedigree of having Hideki Kamiya - creator of the Devil May Cry series - on board. Bayonetta easily stands on the same ground as these games. That being said, it is not a game for everybody, and your enjoyment will come solely from how accepting you are of the game.

Bayonetta places you in the seductive, black, gun-attached shoes of the titular character, Bayonetta. Bayonetta is a witch suffering from amnesia, trying to piece together her past, all while bashing her way through hordes of angels and demons. Upon waking up at the bottom of a lake after a 500 year nap, our heroine finds herself thrust into the middle of a battle between her clan, the Umbra Witches, and the Lumen Sages. Of course, there is a lot more to the story of Bayonetta, more than you would expect from an action game such as this. You will often find yourself in near-Metal-Gear-Solid-length cutscenes depicting the drama between the game's colourful and exciting characters. The game's cutscenes are shown in two varieties, either in standard, full motion videos, or in animated photographs in a "film reel" style. I found the latter to be more of a nuisance rather than a compelling way to portray the story, and would have preferred to have all of the scenes done with full motion. Although there is a heavy focus on the story in Bayonetta, most gamers will find themselves lost trying to comprehend all of the intricacies of the narrative on their first, or even second, play through.

The real enjoyment of Bayonetta comes from the fast-paced, gun slinging gameplay, which - as mentioned before - is in the vein of games such as Devil May Cry. With a complex combo system, as well as unlockable weapons and moves, gamers will find plenty of depth and incentive for replayability. Starting the game with only four, hell-crafted pistols (one for each appendage) Bayonetta will quickly find other toys such as a powerful shotgun and a sword. Controlling Bayonetta during the chaos is rather straight forward; there are buttons for light and heavy attacks - or hands and feet respectively - and a button dedicated to shooting which I found to be rather useless. While veterans of the character action genre will find Bayonetta easy to pick up, the main innovation lies in the "Witch Time" mechanic. This activates when the player dodges an enemy's attack just before impact, and causes the world to slow down around Bayonetta, letting her let loose impressive yet simple combos.

Story aside, Bayonetta is simply crazy. The game starts off while fighting angels, standing on rubble, falling though the night sky, and it does not let up. If at any point while playing Bayonetta you tell yourself that it can't get any more insane than this, you will find yourself sorely mistaken. I will refrain from giving away any of these jaw-dropping moments, but I can guarantee that during the first play through of Bayonetta, players will be dumbfounded, or even have a chuckle, at the absurdities and relentless exploits of this game.

Bayonetta is by no means a perfect game. Like many games released since the original God of War, Bayonetta includes quick time events. These feel tacked on, and often have such a small window for response that players will fail them the first time. This is particularly frustrating because they usually result in instant death, and consequently lower your rank on the stage. Another problem I encountered with Bayonetta was the difficulty. Now, there is a place for hard games, and I do enjoy a good challenge, but I found the difficulty to be uneven and fluctuate throughout the story. By that, I mean that some sections of the game can be extremely frustrating, especially for players focused on obtaining good ranks, and then be followed by an easy part. Apart from a few other minor complaints, these are the bulk of the things I did not enjoy about Bayonetta, although they do not ultimately dampen the experience enough to make it not worth a try.

The final piece of Bayonetta I would like to highlight are the boss fights. Often very large in scale and offering multiple sections, the boss battles in Bayonetta are, in my opinion, the high point of the game. From large, multiple headed dragons to other witches with similar abilities to your own, most of the bosses in Bayonetta are very enjoyable and offer a great challenge. That being said, a lot of the bosses are recycled and show up a little too much, leaving room for a bit more variety to be desired.

Bayonetta, while an excellent game, is not for everybody. Gamers who do not have interests in Japanese game design, or are not drawn in by anime-esque story lines will find little to be enjoyed in Bayonetta. However, Bayonetta's intended audience will be able to get the most out of this ridiculous and fun game, and with rewards obtainable only through the second and third playthroughs, there is no shortage of content. If you are on the fence with Bayonetta, I recommend giving it a rental first, but if you have a feeling that it is a game for you, I can say with confidence that Bayonetta is a game you will be glad you played.



Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

- Tyson Breen

Discuss this article in our friendly forums

Sign up to our community today and discuss our articles, debate over upcoming games and organise matches and playsessions with like-minded people just like you.

Liked this? Spread the word - share with your friends!

Done? You might also enjoy these!

All comments are subject to our commenting policy

GGTL Classics
Some of the very best articles dug out from deep in the GGTL archives, written by some of our past and present wordsmiths alike.
Your continued use of this website and/or any others owned by Gamer's Guide to represents your acceptance and indicates your full understanding of all of our legal policies and terms. Our legal policies and terms are legally binding. If you in any way disagree with or refuse to be bound by any part of said legal policies and terms, you are advised to leave this website immediately.